The Gardener of “Souls”
“He was such a wonderful human being. He was gentle, not a Hitler-esque cruel director. I never saw him get angry; he wasn’t a tortured human being in any way. Because he’d been an actor himself, he made a gardener director. He knew exactly what the plants were, how much sun and how much earth and water they needed. He let them grow and blossom in their own time. I loved him and I shall miss him like anything.” –Saeed Jaffrey
“Dickie, a one-man entertainment empire, was at least as significant as those humanitarian titans he brought to life on screen. He was also the quintessence of kindness and modesty, and it was a privilege to have known and worked with him.” — Michael York
It took twenty years. He told everybody that he would do it.
It took him twenty years of Championing to get the funding and to make it.
Richard Attenborough was able to make Gandhi (1982), which had a fine performance by Ben Kingsley in the title role. The film is dedicated to Lord Mountbatten, Pandit Nehru and an unknown Indian called Motilal Kothari, who suggested the subject to Attenborough in the first place in 1962.
Nehru’s advice to Attenborough was that it would be wrong to deify Gandhi: “He was too great a man for that.” The film won eight Oscars – best picture, best actor, best director, best original screenplay, best cinematography, best art direction, best editing, best costume design – the biggest haul ever for a British movie. In his acceptance speech, Attenborough said: “Gandhi believed if we could but agree, simplistic though it be, that if we do not resort to violence then the route to solving problems would be much different than the one we take.”
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