Ram Rajya: Only Indian film watched by Bapu
Times of India
By Saeed Khan
AHMEDABAD: History has it that Mahatma Gandhi watched only one Indian film in his lifetime, and the person who holds the credit for this was filmmaker Vijay Bhatt from Palitana.
Gandhi's viewing an Indian talkie was termed as a historical event when special screening of 'Ram Rajya' (1943) was arranged at Juhu on June 2, 1944.
The mythological film was, however, not the first feature film that Gandhi had watched. Rajmohan Gandhi in his book 'Gandhi: the man, his people and empire' notes that on May 21 in the same year, Bapu was persuaded to watch Michael Kurtiz's 'Mission to Moscow,' a Hollywood film made to popularize the US' alliance with the USSR. It was the first movie Gandhi had seen. But 12 days later, Gandhi agreed to see select reels of Ram Rajya for 40 minutes. The subject was of his favourite epic, Ramayana. He was so engrossed that the show lasted for 90 minutes. After the show, Gandhi went to his shack, and Bhatt was quoted as saying to the press, "At the end of the show, Mahatmaji seemed quite cheerful." Bhatt was born in a railway guard's family in Palitana. Along with his brother Shankarbhai, he went to Mumbai where he enrolled in St Xavier's College.
Bhatt tried his hand at films and successfully founded a film company which produced 64 films in three languages. After producing some hits in 1940s based on mythology, Bhatt made a film on the greatest legend of Indian music, 'Baiju Bawra', which was an official entry to the first Indian Film Festival in Russia in 1954. He made 'Gunj Uthi Shehnai', and 'Himalaya Ki God Mein' and introduced Meena Kumari in his film 'Leatherface' (1939).
very interesting news..indeed