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Karan Johar: Watched Gandhi on VHS with Richard Attenborough before the world saw it | Exclusive

Updated on: 02 October,2023 10:57 AM IST  |  Mumbai
mid-day online correspondent |

Karan Johar recalls watching Ben Kingsley's Gandhi with Richard Attenborough before the film's release, thanks to his father Yash Johar

Karan johar narrates the incident of watching Gandhi before the world

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Karan Johar: Watched Gandhi on VHS with Richard Attenborough before the world saw it | Exclusive

Key Highlights

  1. The 1982 co-production between India and the UK was directed by Richard Attenborough
  2. Starring Ben Kingsley as Gandhi, it is celebrated as one of the best films on Mahatma
  3. Karan says he was `preening like a peacock` because he had seen it before anyone at school

Gandhi Jayanti 2023: Growing up as Yash Johar's son exposed Karan Johar to many unique experiences, even before he decided to begin his career as a filmmaker. One of them was the experience of watching the classic film Gandhi before its release. The 1982 co-production between India and the United Kingdom was directed and produced by Richard Attenborough. It starred Ben Kingsley in the role of the Mahatma.

In our latest Sit With Hitlist episode, Karan described the experience of watching the film with the acclaimed filmmaker, before the world saw it. 

"My dad had worked as a producer in Hindi Cinema, of course. But he had become a touchpoint for a lot of the Hollywood productions that used to come to India to film... eventually later on Jungle Book, which was shot in Mehboob, but also Gandhi. He was like the line producer at the time on the Indian portions of Gandhi. At that time I didn’t understand the relevance or the cinematic importance of that (film). One fine day, I am told that because of some permissions, we had to see the movie. Richard Attenborough was the director of the film. Rashid Abbasi was my father's production support, and was very close to Richard Attenborough. My father, my mother and I was called in to see Gandhi on the VHS before the world saw it," Karan narrated.

The filmmaker regrets not having any recorded memory of the incident. "I am sitting there, I am slapping myself today - where are camera phones when you need them? Where is the paparazzi when you want them? Nobody was there. It was in my apartment in Malabar Hill. I have seen Gandhi with Richard Attenborough in my 2 by 2 drawing room on VHS, awestruck by the movie and went next day to school. Nobody had heard of it at that time. No one at school would have known Gandhi. They would be like, great you saw documentary. I said, No I saw a film called Gandhi. There is a British actor called Ben Kingsley who plays the lead part. Rohini Hattangidi is in Gandhi and I am saying all this till it was finally released and the world saw it. I remember, our school took us on a trip to see Gandhi. It was part of our academic agenda because we studied Gandhi so much in depth.

"And I was preening like a peacock because I had seen the movie. But of course, I was preening alone, nobody else was bothered. It was for things like this you wish there was an archive," he added.

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