INTRODUCTION: An expected major protest failed to materialise in New Delhi on Saturday (31 January) when a British crew began filming a re-enactment of the funeral of Mahatma Gandhi, the man who led India to independence.
GV Mounted cavalry in funeral procession
SV Police controlling crowds
GV Marchers shouting slogans, police controlling crowd, marchers shouting (3 shots)
SV Actor on floral hier as corpse PAN OUT TO mourners following it
GV Camera trolley
SV Funeral procession, including man in British naval uniform
SV & GV Funeral bier in procession (2 shots)
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Background: INTRODUCTION: An expected major protest failed to materialise in New Delhi on Saturday (31 January) when a British crew began filming a re-enactment of the funeral of Mahatma Gandhi, the man who led India to independence. The threatened angry crowds failed to turn up. Indeed, those that did come to watch the filming did not seem to understand the solemnity of the occasion. Controversy has raged between the Indian government, the press and the national film industry since it was announced that Briton Sir Richard Attenborough was to receive a government grant towards making his film of Gandhi's life.
SYNOPSIS: The funeral was re-enacted for the cameras 33 years to the day after the real cortege had filed through the streets of New Delhi. A cast of 50,000 dwarfed the numbers that came to watch. But the Indian film industry, backed by the Indian press, is furious about Attenborough's movie. They are protesting both at an apparent about-turn by their government -- which still operates a ban on the last cinematic tribute to Gandhi, Mark Robson's Nine Hours to Rama -- and at a grant of nearly three million pounds (7 million US dollars) the government has made to Attenborough.
Mahatma Gandhi was shot by a Hindu nationalist assassin who objected to his policies of communal tolerance and friendship between Moslems and Hindus.
For a foreigner to film his life story is tantamount to blasphemy to some Indians, while others believe their government's money should have been spent building cinemas in rural area.
A million grieving people came to watch the original funeral procession. It took five hours to crawl five miles through the hysterical crowd to the ceremonial pyre beside the sacred Juma river. But now, despite the protests of newsmen and moviemakers, it seems that Gandhi no longer means as much to the people who 33 years ago threatened to lynch his assassin.