Tuesday, October 07, 1997

SASA Screens The Making of the Mahatma

SASA Screens The Making of the Mahatma

Film kicks off celebration of Indian independence
The Chicago Maroon
By Pamela Appea

The South Asian Students Association (SASA) and the South Asian Outreach Program presented a screening of The Making of the Mahatma, this past Saturday in the Max Palevsky Cinema.

A discussion led by the film’s critically acclaimed director, Shyan Benegal, and actor Raj Kapoor, who played Gandhi, immediately followed the film. 240 students and faculty members attended the event.

Benegal’s film chronicles Gandhi’s life and experiences in South Africa as a young barrister and later as a community activist and lobbyist for Indians under apartheid rule. The movie also explores Gandhi’s satyagraha movement. Satyagraha, literally meaning “hold firmly” or “grasp the truth,” also refers to the non-violent principles which Gandhi later used in India’s national movement.

“In some other films, Gandhi has been portrayed like a deity or a martyr, and in The Making of the Mahatma, he was portrayed as a real person with family issues. You could really see how the progression of his ideas and how Gandhi developed these ideas,” said Samir Soneji, SASA president and a fourth-year student in the College.

The Making of the Mahatma screening was funded by the Illinois Art Council, the University of Chicago South Asian Department, and film tick sales.

This is the first of several university-sponsored events to commemorate the 50th anniversary of India and Pakistan’s independence from the British.

SASA’s next event will highlight cultural and religious themes of Tibet on Wednesday, October 8, at the I-House from 5:30-7:30 p.m. The evening will include traditional folk dancing and singing. SASA, the South Asian Outreach Educational Project, and Tibetan Alliance of Chicago are sponsoring the event.

Originally published October 7, 1997