All the details of the DVD are listed on the back of the white plastic case. The actual DVD case itself is in a wonderfully regal dark gold color, and the back picture is of the train sequence, with the words "Be the change you wish to see" beautifully etched across the skyline. Indeed, I have never come across a packaging for a disc that has so aptly captured the film's sentiment. On this front, I give the disc a full five stars.
However, the DVD itself smacks of hypocrisy. I find that everytime a reviewer gives this disc a low star rating due to the fact that the DVD blatantly insults the fact that Gandhi spoke Hindi and that all the main actors (save for Ben) were Indian, people are quick to claim that the review was 'not useful'. I am not sure why this is, but the truth is that this is very much an Indian film, with all the important roles played by Indian actors, and yet there is not ONE mention of ANY of their names on the DVD packaging. Candice Bergen, who appears for just eight minutes on screen, is given prime billing next to Ben Kingsley, while Rohini Hattangady, a beautiful Indian actress who plays the Mahatma's wife and was onscreen for most of the three hour film, is not mentioned even once on the DVD.
When you click on 'Cast and Crew', it is even more horrifying. Not even ONE of the actors mentioned are Indian. ALL of the actors listed are white. The great Alyque Padamsee who played Jinnah, the wonderful Roshan Seth who played Nehru, the incredibly talented Saeed Jaffrey who played Sardar Patel - all of them are not even mentioned ONCE. Considering that they appear throughout the film, this is a horrendous insult to the Indian film crew. However, consider it typical American studio idiocy, for Martin Sheen and Trevor Howard (both of whom pop up at the beginning and the next-to-end) get full page biographies and filmographies. This is intolerable.
This is especially disturbing, because this is exactly the sort of vapid Western-minded stupidity and xenophobia that Mahatma Gandhi fought against. Any self-respecting Indian would flush this occidental abomination down the drain. To add to the insult, the DVD does not even bother to mention that 'Gandhi' was shot simultaneously in English and Hindi. The Hindi version was the one released to millions of people in India, and the one that plays on Indian national television to this day. Considering that Gandhi spoke Hindi, and willfully strove to ignore English toward the most epic years of his life, the DVD literally slaps his message in the face by not including a Hindi language audio track. Yet, we get French and Spanish audio tracks, as if that were any consolation.
I was also dismayed and rather angered when I realized that there wasn't even a Hindi language subtitle option available. If the studio intended this as a DVD release for Caucasian audiences alone, I would understand. But yet they include obscure subtitles such as Thai and Korean, which makes the whole thing even more perplexing.
In the end, I think the 'Gandhi' DVD is a perfect example of how one should not judge a book by its' cover. This DVD is a glorious example of Western corporate ignorance and greed, and how the most beautiful cinematic achievements can die a gruesome death when handed over to the studios they were made under. I personally call for a boycott of this DVD until serious repairs are made. And if you're really interested in watching this film as it was intended, try to get your hands on the original Hindi version of the movie with English subtitles. That is the only version the poor Indian woman working in the fields, for whom Gandhi fought for, has watched.
The film portrays Gandhi as an honest, hard working and kind individual who always tried to do the right thing, even when facing overwelming resistance.
If you like the film I would suggest reading his autobiography The Story of My Experiments with Truth, which will give you an insight into his mind.