Mahatma Gandhi: Twentieth Century Prophet| 44mins
Director: AK Chettiar | Producer: The Documentary Films Ltd, Madras, India
Focus Years: 1940 | Country: Germany
In 1937, he started work on the documentary "Mahatma Gandhi: Twentieth Century Prophet." He set up a company named Documentary Films Limited and started collecting archival footage of Gandhi. He visited many places in India, London, and South Africa and acquired large amounts of archival footage. In addition he himself shot many contemporary scenes of Gandhi. After three years, he accumulated about 50,000 feet (15,000m) of film footage. Editing of the footage began on January 1940 and eventually 12,000 feet (3,700m) in documentary film was released on 23 August 1940. It received widespread coverage from the Indian press and a few international newspapers like The New York Times. The documentary originally had voice-overs in Tamil and was later dubbed into Telugu. After the initial screening, it was withdrawn from cinemas due to government censorship. Chettiar recorded some of his experiences in making the documentary in a series of articles in the magazine Kumari Malar (published by him) in 1943. These articles where eventually published in book form with the title Annal Adichuvattil (In the footsteps of the Mahatma).
After Indian independence in 1947, the documentary was dubbed into Hindi and re-released. For a long time, it was believed to be lost. In 2006, an abridged version made in 1998 and dubbed in English was discovered at the San Francisco State University due to historian A. R. Venkatachalapathy's efforts. Later, another copy was found in the University of Pennsylvania. However the original documentary and versions in other languages have not been found so far.
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