Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom releases today in India. It’s better than Invictus, but not quite satisfying if you were hoping for a retelling of Mandela’s life that would match the complexity of reality and history.
Still, there’s no denying that Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom has its rousing moments. And it has the wonderful Idris Elba.
Near the end of the film, in response to widespread violence carried out by armed black protesters, Mandela says to all those he has inspired, “I am your leader and as long as I am your leader, I will give you leadership. I am your leader and as long as I am your leader, I will tell you always when you are wrong. And I tell you now that you are wrong.” It’s a timely reminder of the difficult task of being a leader, rather than one who will be led by others. Just for this speech, Chadwick’s film should be mandatory viewing for politicians in India. Perhaps they could take a few tips from a man who was flawed but powerful; who knew wisdom lay in changing in order to respond to a constituency’s needs; and who had the strength of conviction to say unpopular things despite being a popular leader. Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom couldn’t have come to India at a better time.
The entire review is here.
And this piece, imagining a conversation between a Goa Crime Branch officer and Robert De Niro, is complete and ridiculous fiction. But it did involve me going through a lot of De Niro speeches on You Tube.