Born Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Died Mahatma.
To be venerated Mahatma is to be a ‘Great Soul’.
Mahatma Gandhi needs no introduction, an unwearied solider of defiance, he became a global icon of peace. But in the perennial dance of shadow and light he had a date with destiny.
A Solar Eclipse was to come.
Nugen Media Production brings us the untold story that led to the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi. Executive Producer Ralitza Ivanova, armored with her double master’s in Public Scienceand National Intelligence and National Security, delved into the abyss with a torch of knowledge and confronted the past. For three years, she researched the topics on the plot and screenplay, uncovering a trove of new information. She wrote many notes based on how the intelligence during that period in India and all people involved in the transition acted when Mahatma Gandhi’s life was in danger. A national figure, the father of a nation, and a beacon of hope, this part of Mahatma Gandhi’s life is known universally but the darker parts is something no one actually knows or wants to talk about until now.
Solar Eclipse, is the first film production and Hollywood feature out of Nugen Media Production which is Dubai and UAE based. The film is a period drama woven with facts and dashes of fiction to enhance and galvanize the story for audiences. The film takes place in the 1950s when the partition was happening between India and Pakistan after the British exited the country. The chaos that ensued in India is captured in this action-packed film. A constellation of actors representing at least 31 different nationalities from across the globe: American actor and playwright Stephen Lang, British actor Luke Pasqualino, Spanish actor and producer Jesus Sans playing the iconic role of Mahatma Gandhi and the late veteran Bollywood actor Om Puri.
Last week the world was stunned by the passing of Om Puri. He was a national treasure in India and internationally renowned throughout the cinema community. Om Puri was known to be a gentle soul but a force to be reckoned with similar to Mahatma Gandhi. It is befitting that at the end of his dynamic career he would play a role in a bigger than life film. Although film writer Aseem Chhabra believes Om Puri never received the recognition he deserved. This film might be the turning point that eluded him in life. An ‘unusual face’ cements itself in our hearts and minds through the medium of cinema.
The film Solar Eclipse will have its world premiere at the Berlin Film Festival 2017. During the 14th Edition of the Dubai International Film Festival, I had an exclusive interview with actor Jesus Sans, who shared his experience of portraying the role of Mahatma Gandhi.
AGtM: How were you cast for the role of Mahatma Gandhi?
Sans: The main producer Ralitza saw a kind of a resemblance between Gandhi, Sir Ben Kingsly and me. She has really good eyes becasue nobody was believing that. Suddenly after a couple months when I was looking really skinny and I took out my hair I was Gandhi.
AGtM: Did anyone ever question why you were cast instead of an Indian actor?
Sans: As far as I know everybody was asking why this guy? He’s coming from Spain looking like a white guy but in fact I’m half Cuban and my mother is Black. So I’m a real mix. This was my concern and the first day when I saw Om Puri I said to him “I’m really scared about what your land people will say”. He said “Mr. Sans you look like him, you talk like him, you are him”.
AGtM: How did you make your transition from Jesus Sans to Mahatma Gandhi?
Sans: After two months I was sure I was speaking like him but it was two months hearing constantly his voice with my headphones. I went to sleep hearing the voice of Gandhi. I was sleeping with him if I may say that. My wife she was really helpful because she took the headphones out my ears so that I could sleep. On the other half my father is a famous imitator in Spain and he brought me a couple of his tricks and it really worked. I stopped each single sport activity and I was eating fruits and vegetables for 4 months, sleeping less as possible and getting ill somehow. Until my physician said this is the limit you have to stop.
AGtM: What was the first thing you indulged in when you were done shooting?
Sans: I was a month in Sri Lanka shooting and 2 days before I was done I went to in this case a Chinese restaurant and I was eating a lot of pig becasue we people from the Mediterranean, we love ham and I was thinking Spanish ham…something fantastic. When landing again in Barcelona the first thing I did was too eat lots of jabon, ham!
AGtM: What challenges did you face on set?
Sans: In a common sense of the situation many for the producers not especially for me, is how to bring a lot of nationalities to work together? A common language in this case English, but not everybody was coming from English speaking facilities. To organize this special group of actors like Stephen Lang, Mark Moses, Bobbie Phillips and Om Puri, this for me was most difficult. Yet this guy from Nugen Media was able to make us a kind of family now everybody is in love with each other.
From my point of view the weather was really hot every single day.
AGtM: What have you learned from this experience?
Sans: This was my most challenging film. I grew up being the son of an actor…I wanted to avoid that but in the end destiny puts you in a the right place. I’m not sure if I’m a good actor but at least I know I’m a good Gandhi.