When 'Gandhi' and 'Lincoln' met!

Daniel Day Lewis

A small scene from the 1982 Oscar-winning biopic 'Gandhi' saw a relatively unknown, young actor bully Mahatma Gandhi on screen.

The actor, who played the street bully, was none other than Daniel Day-Lewis, the fruntrunner for the best actor trophy at the Oscars tonight for his powerful portrayal of the 16th US president Abraham Lincoln.

And, though M K Gandhi was born only four years after the assassination of Lincoln, the two giants from history, it appears, did meet thanks to the magic of cinema. In that scene from Richard Attenborough's classic, set in the streets of South Africa, a young, handsome-looking street ruffian named 'Colin', played by a 20-something Day-Lewis, bullies an equally young barrister Gandhi.

It was the only second film of Day-Lewis, now 55. While Kingsley braved the 'bully' and went on to lift the Academy Award for the best actor that year, Day-Lewis' moment of reckoning came seven years later with 'My Left Foot', where his moving portrayal of cerebral palsy-afflicted Irish writer and painter 'Christy Brown' won him the the coveted golden statuette.He would return for another Oscar triumph in 2007 American drama 'There Will Be Blood' preceded by a best actor nod for Martin Scorsese directed 'Gangs of New York (2002), where he played the cruel yet engaging "Bill 'The Butcher' . Day-Lewis was last seen in musical 'Nine' before taking on the challenge of playing Lincoln just months before his assassination.

It took Steven Spielberg almost six years to convince the notoriously selective actor to play Abe Lincoln in the movie. Some of his memorable roles soon after the 'Gandhi' cameo are in 'My Beautiful Laundrette (1985)', Milan Kundera's The 'Unbearable Lightness of Being (1987)', and ten years later the 'Hawkeye' in the historical epic 'The Last of the Mohicans (1992)'

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