Current Date: 5 October, 2022
Nine Hours to Rama

Movie 4 d week : Nine Hours to Rama (1963)

Review By Vinoo
Language : English
Director : Mark Robson

‘Nine hours to Rama’ ‘The murder that changed the lives of millions!’ goes the baseline. This is the story of the build up to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. It tells the story from Nathuram Godse’s (played by Horst Buchholz) point of view. This is not a great film but worth a watch for the different point of view it depicts. Based on the book by Stanley Wolpert the title refers to the nine hours in the life of Rama (Ramachandra ‘aka’ Nathuram Godse) before the assassination of Gandhi, and how Godse planned the entire thing. I found J S Casshyap who plays Gandhi irritatingly preachy but then I would presume that is how it would seem now J. The movie shows one man’s resolve to finish off Gandhi and another man’s, Inspector Gopal Das’, resolve not to let it happen, and another man’s, Gandhi’s, resolve to well… die. The film has some characters built in, like Rani who Godse is in love with. He is also an alcoholic, written in seemingly to give him an almost ‘Hollywood villain-like’ character.

I quite loved how the film begins with the clock and how time is running out, for Gandhi in this case. Here is the brilliant opening sequence created by Saul Bass (‘Psycho’, ‘Casino’, ‘Alien’, ‘In harm’s way’, ‘The Seven year itch’, ‘Westside story’, ‘It’s a mad mad mad world’, ‘Goodfellas’, ‘Cape fear’, ‘Ocean’s Eleven’, ‘Vertigo’, etc)

Except for certain actual events, places, people, what you are about to see is historical fiction says the disclaimer at the beginning of the film. It seemed necessary to give Godse an image which subscribes to the stereotype of a villain. The film ends with Gandhi’s killing when he says ‘I forgive you my brother. God bless you. Hey Ram!’ to make him even larger than he already is. Nathuram Godse says ‘I killed him and he blessed me’. He falls at the dead Mahatma’s feet before he is arrested and the funeral procession follows.

Watched ‘U-turn’, an Oliver Stone film. Very unlike most of his films. Reminded me of some of the Guy Ritchie and Quentin Tarantino films. Was good to watch Tony Gatlif’s ‘Vengo’ all over again but then ‘Latcho Drom’ is something else. Vittorio De Sica’s ‘Yesterday,Today and Tomorrow’ with Sophia Loren and Marcello Mastronniani is simply brilliant. Been on quite a few other classics, thanks again to the KCAIFF, Bengalooru. ‘Max Manus’, ‘Sophie Scholl, The final days’, ‘Jumping over puddles again’, ‘Aguirre, wrath of gods’ to name a few.

Useless trivia : Based on historian Stanley Wolpert’s, book by the same name, the film was banned in India, for what reason I know not. I haven’t quite figured why this or ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple of doom’ where Amrish Puri plays the ‘Kali-Bhakt’ villain eating monkey-brain, or many other movies have been banned here. Interestingly the book ends with ‘Hey Ram’ and the ‘I forgive you my brother…’ seems to be written into the film for a more dramatic ending.

Richard Attenborough blames ‘Nine hours to Rama’ for the problems his film had to go through with the Indian Government.


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