A documentary on Mahatma Gandhi has won the Best Documentary Feature Award at the 21st New York Indian Film Festival.
The film, titled ‘Ahimsa – Gandhi: The Power of the Powerless’, written and directed by Ramesh Sharma, produced by renowned South African filmmaker Anant Singh’s company Videovision to commemorate the 150th anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi’s birth in 2019. Its release was delayed by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The film talks about the influence of Gandhi's philosophy of 'non-violence' on civil rights leaders including Martin Luther King and Nelson Mandela.
Singh said: “Whilst Gandhi has a global legacy, South Africa has a special connection with the Gandhi narrative as it was here, in South Africa, that he became sensitised to issues of human rights and equality, Gandhi’s influence will continue to inspire and motivate other leaders to make a change, through non-violence, for peace.”
The documentary completed on June 7 last year, the date on which in 1893 Gandhi was thrown off a train at Pietermaritzburg Station in South Africa because it was reserved for whites only. The incident flickered off his lifelong fight against discrimination.
The film features several scholars and historians who recount the impact Mahatma Gandhi and his philosophy had on the world, including his granddaughter Ela Gandhi in South Africa and US-based grandsons Arun Gandhi and Rajmohan Gandhi.
The film also features the impact that Gandhi’s teachings had on the American Black Civil Rights movement, with a number of veterans of the movement recalling the history of racism in the US. It deals with oppression and the denial of basic freedoms to people by those who are in positions of power and who fiercely protect their positions by inflicting violence on innocent people
The film features the song, ‘Ahimsa’ performed by U2 and AR Rahman, with the lyrics written by Bono and Rahman.
The film will have its United Kingdom premiere at the London Indian Film Festival on 20 June 2021 in the festival’s Extra-Ordinary Lives section.