Grammy Winner Ricky Kej Says West Did NOT Know Mahatma Gandhi Till Attenborough's Film Won Oscar: 'They See Ben Kingsley As Gandhiji'

Grammy Winner Ricky Kej Says West Did NOT Know Mahatma Gandhi Till Attenborough's Film Won Oscar: 'They See Ben Kingsley As Gandhiji'

He concluded stating that cinema as a medium is very powerful when used correctly

Sachin TUpdated: Friday, May 31, 2024, 09:33 AM IST
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Days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi stated that people got to know about Mahatma Gandhi only after a film on him was made, India's Grammy awardee Ricky Kej echoed his thoughts and said that the West had forgotten about the freedom fighter until Sir Richard Attenborough's film 'Gandhi' won an Oscar in 1983.

He stated that people were surprised to know the man, a film on whom had competed against a film by Steven Spielberg and had won an Oscar, and that is when they watched the movie and got to know about him. He also mentioned that even today, the people in the West visualise actor Ben Kingsley as Mahatma Gandhi and they do not know how he really looked.

"After Gandhiji died in 1948, he was lost soon after from international consciousness. For the next 33 years he was very rarely spoken about or written about in the Western world. He was definitely not mainstream. In the West, the new generation after his time, had not even heard of him," Kej wrote.

He explained, "When the film "Gandhi" by Sir Richard Attenborough was released in 1982, not too many people cared about the film and the film makers struggled with distribution. It had a limited and deferred release.. like most "Art films". Then the film got some attention in Feb 1983 when it got multiple Oscar nominations."

"At the Oscar's Gandhi was nominated against Steven Spielberg's mega-hit "ET". People (in the West) were shocked that an unknown biopic about a personality they have never heard of is nominated against "ET" (They all watched and loved ET). Of course Gandhi was the better film and deservedly won 8 Oscar's in April 1983," he added.

"That is when Gandhi (the film) became a massive box office success internationally, and Mahatma Gandhiji (our father of the nation) was cemented permanently in international consciousness and became synonymous with Peace. Unfortunately though, even today when people in the West imagine Gandhiji, it is Ben Kingsley who they see, and not Gandhiji himself," he wrote.

He concluded stating that cinema as a medium is very powerful when used correctly.

Much like PM Modi's statement, Kej's stance too evoked mixed response from the netizens. While some supported his opinion and lauded him for putting it across well, others accused him of blindly following and siding with a party.

The Grammy winner also clarified that he accepts people in India knew very well about Gandhi and his post only meant that the international audience didn't.

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