Gandhi – The Power of the Powerless

India/South Africa 2020, 108 mins
Director: Ramesh Sharma

+ Pre-recorded Q&A

Featuring music by U2 and AR Rahman, this compelling and powerful documentary explores the roots and global impact of the Gandhian message of non-violence. Including interviews with renowned scholars and African American activists through to the Dalai Lama, and using rare archival footage from India, USA, Poland and Hungary, Ramesh Sharma’s film decodes the revolutionary power of non-violence and how it inspired movements of resistance across the world that still affect us today.

‘If we could change ourselves, the tendencies in the world would also change.’
Mahatma Gandhi

On 2nd October 2019, the world commemorated the 150th birthday anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi. To mark this historic milestone, award winning and Emmy nominated filmmaker Ramesh Shama has directed a feature length documentary that profiles the lasting legacy of Ahimsa – Gandhi: The Power of the Powerless.

The Gandhian influence in some way still speaks to the conscience of the world as nations grapple with intractable problems; as societies struggle to give the marginalised and the underserved human dignity and restore fundamental human rights.

The film narrates the impact of the Gandhian message of non-violence worldwide; how it inspired Martin Luther King Jr and the civil rights movement in USA, the Solidarity movement in Poland, the velvet revolution of Havel, and the anti-apartheid strife in South Africa and Nelson Mandela’s fight against injustice, oppression, racism and his struggle to restore basic human rights and dignity for the Black citizens of his country. In short, the film decodes the power of non-violence and why it remains relevant to this day.

Interviews with world renowned scholars, biographers, as well as close family members of Mahatma Gandhi and Nobel Laureates such as HH The Dalai Lama, former Polish President Lech Walesa, iconic civil rights activists such as Congressman John Lewis and Rev James Lawson. This feature documentary weaves in rare archival footage, photographs and inspirational songs to put together a compelling and powerful narrative of the impact of Ahimsa – non-violence in some of the seminal political movements of the 20th century and its continuing relevance for contemporary times.

With a global arc as its canvas, the film underscores why Ahimsa remains the most powerful tool for conflict resolution. As Martin Luther King Jr says in the film, ‘The choice is no longer between violence and non-violence. It is between non-violence and non-existence.’

Written and Directed by: Ramesh Sharma
©: Videovision Entertainment
Presented by: Engie
An Adline Entertainment production
In association with: First India Channel LLP, Videovision Entertainment, Distan Horizon
Executive Producers: Michela Scolari, Simmran Bedi, David Traub
Consulting Producer: Ahmed A. Jamal
Producers: Ramesh Sharma, Xavier Couture, Jean Luc Berlot, Anant Singh, Uma Gajapati Raju, Sanchaita Gajapati Raju
Director of Photography: Nithin Upadhye
Edited by: Yamini Upadhye
Music Composer: Debojyoti Mishra

India/South Africa 2020
108 mins

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Programme notes and credits compiled by the BFI Documentation Unit
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