DVD Rating: **

Reviewed by: Amber Wilkinson

Read Amber Wilkinson's film review of Gandhi

Perhaps the most unusual aspect of the DVD presentation of this film is the inclusion of an "intermission" half way through. We are treated to around three minutes of Indian music and a black screen before the film recommences. It is situated at an appropriate and poignant point in the film - following a British atrocity - but one can't help wondering if it is strictly necessary on a DVD version of the film, as scene selection is an easy tool to use.

The packaging of the DVD itself is very slick, with impressive menus that are easily read from a distance and a nice moving scene selection on offer. The sound and picture quality are also exceptionally good.

Copy picture

The extras are not much to write home about, however, considering the epic nature of the film.

Ben Kingsley's comments about the filming and each of the "dear, dear" actors he worked with, are interesting, but it would have been nice to have included something similar featuring Richard Attenborough and a commentary soundtrack would certainly have been welcome, particularly if they could have rounded up a historian to talk you through the actual events surrounding the filmic ones.

The photo montage is a twee little romp through production stills, but the fact that it had to be "played" with a musical backdrop was slightly annoying. It would have been nice to have just been able to click on the image you required and viewed it that way. Also it had no skip feature running through the stills meaning a hasty fast-forward if you wanted to view one towards the end.

The Words of Mahatma Gandhi were a little dry too, being merely quote after quote flicking one after the other, out of context. Handy if you need an addition to a greetings card sometime, perhaps? And naturally, there is the ubiquitous trailer which, like the film, is rather lengthy.

The gem of the extras is the original archive footage, which certainly demonstrates how superb Kingsley was in this role. It is impossible not to be impressed by his achievement at capturing Gandhi's mannerisms and mode of speech. These clips are also fascinating as they help contextualise the film, filling in a couple of the gaps left by the movie.

As for the filmographies - they are awful. They are far too short and absolutely tiny on the screen, meaning you have to move much closer to the television to read them. They are simply a run down of films the actors have starred in, not even naming the character played in each film and containing no biographical information about the actors. This is such a simple thing to accomplish surely, yet so frequently disks get it wrong.

Overall, despite its drawbacks this is still a very worthwhile addition to anyone's DVD collection.

Reviewed on: 13 Sep 2001
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Gandhi packshot
Richard Attenborough’s epic tracing the rise of Gandhi from lawyer in South Africa to an Indian leader who won independence for his people.
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Region: 2

Ratio: 2.35:1 anamorphic

Sound: Dolby Digital 5.1

Extras: Scene Selection, Ben Kingsley talks about Gandhi, original newsreel footage including Gandhi Goes to England, Gandhi’s Farewell Talk in Europe, Mahatma Gandhi Begins Death Fast, Gandhi Talks: First Talking Picture Ever Made by India

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