Mahatma Gandhi continues to influence Indian cinema: Author

Mahatma Gandhi

Jay Prakash Chowksey, who explores Mahatma Gandhi's influences on cinema in his upcoming book 'Gandhi Aur Cinema', says he was inspired to write it after reading an interesting anecdote about the 'Father of the Nation' in Charlie Chaplin's autobiography.

"I read Chaplin's book some 25 years ago. An interesting anecdote from it stayed with me where he recounts his meeting with Gandhi in 1931. They discussed Gandhi's ideas about machines. Chaplin later made 'Modern Times' which was inspired by this conversation," Chowksey said.

The author, who has written on Raj Kapoor and Indian cinema and is actively involved in television and films, says he kept reading about Gandhi and decided to pen his thoughts into a book.

"I had gone to give a lecture in Gujarat Vidyapith. Director Kundan Shah was also there. After the lecture, the Dean and my other friends told me that I should write. That's how it started," Chowksey recounts.

The book, which has been translated in English by Meenal Bhagel, is published by Morya Arts and will be launched in Mumbai by Chowksey's friend and scriptwriter Salim Khan this week.

"In the book, I explore the theme that beginning of cinema in India was also the beginning of Gandhian era. Gandhiji returned from South Africa around the same time when Indian cinema was taking its first steps. Gandhi's impact can be seen on everything from literature, drama, poetry to cinema of that time," he says. Chowksey narrates how films like Devaki Bose's 'Chandidas', a love story between a Brahmin and a washerwoman, Kidar Sharma's 'Jogan', starring Dilip Kumar and Nargis, Mehboob Khan's 'Mother India' and V Shantaram's 'Do Aankhe Bara Hath' were influenced by Mahatma's vision.

Himanshu Roy produced Ashok Kumar, Devika Rani starrer 'Achhut Kanya' for Bombay Talkies. In 1937 Shantaram made 'Duniya Na Maane' about a marriage of unequals while Bimal Roy made films like 'Sujata', 'Bandini' and 'Do Beegha Zameen'.

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