Pratik Gandhi is set to play Mahatma Gandhi — the actor has no relation to Bapu’s family — in a multi-season series based on historian Ramachandra Guha’s books Gandhi Before India and Gandhi: The Years That Changed the World. The as-yet untitled Gandhi series will focus on Gandhi’s days as a lawyer in South Africa, from 1893 and 1914, and his return to India that saw him lead the movement for the country’s freedom from British rule. The Gandhi web series — likely to be shot across Indian and international locations in Hindi, English, and Gujarati — will also examine his interactions with contemporaries across “all faiths, cultures and classes”.
“I deeply believe in the Gandhian philosophy and his values that echo simplicity in its purest forms,” Pratik said in a prepared statement. Personally too, I strive to achieve and imbibe many of his qualities and teachings in my daily life. Moreover, playing the role of Mahatma is very close to my heart ever since my theatre days and now it is a huge honour to yet again essay the role of this legendary leader, on screen. I believe it’s a huge responsibility to essay this role with dignity, grace and conviction.”
Guha said he hopes to make this a multi-season story along the lines of the Netflix period drama The Crown, which focuses on the British Royal family. Guha told Deadline: “Look at The Crown, it’s about the whole of 20th Century British history. We can take the story of Gandhi — his achievements, controversies, struggles and friendships — to a new audience, in a complementary but very different way to a book.”
The Gandhi web series is being made by Applause Entertainment which has already started finalising the cast. Applause recently made Rudra: The Edge of Darkness for Disney+ Hotstar and Bloody Brothers for Zee5.
For Pratik, the Gandhi series will be the actor’s fifth project after SonyLIV stock market series Scam 1992, the crime mystery series The Great Indian Murder, the Gujarati-language series Vitthal Teedi, and Hansal Mehta’s “Baai” segment from the Amazon Prime Video romantic anthology Modern Love Mumbai.
Sir Ben Kingsley won the Academy Award for Best Actor when he played Gandhi in the 1982 historical drama Gandhi, which won eight Oscars including Kingsley’s. It remains to be seen whether Pratik is able to live up to these high standards with his work in the new series, which is yet to announce a release date or a streaming partner.