MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA AUGUST 26, 2014 11.55 P.M.
Richard Samuel Attenborough
29 August 1923 – 24 August 2014
Last night when I was watching the evening news, I came to know about the demise of Richard Attenborough at the age of 90. Though it was expected because of his failing health and advancing age, still I felt sad when I saw the news of his death.
Long before he became famous in India and became a household name among cinema lovers of our country, I became a fan of Richard Attenborough, the actor, after watching Satyajit Ray directed first Hindi film ” Shatranj Ke Khilari ” [ 1977 ]. He played Lt. General Outram in that film and played it so beautifully and with such elan that even a novice like me could not miss the finer points.
Then came ” Gandhi ” [ 1982 ] and it permanently changed the scenario for him. From a little-known actor of ” Shatranj Ke Khilari ” [ 1977 ], Richard Attenborough, as I have already written , became a household name in India. He produced and directed the Academy Award winning film ” Gandhi ” [ 1982 ]
Later on I watched him as an actor in Steven Spielberg‘s ” Jurassic Park ” [ 1993 ] and the film’s sequel, ” The Lost World : Jurassic Park ” [ 1997 ]. In ” Jurassic Park ” [ 1993 ] and ” The Lost World : Jurassic Park ” [ 1997 ] he appeared as the eccentric developer John Hammond.
As a film director and producer, he won two Academy Awards for Gandhi in 1983. He also won four BAFTA Awards and four Golden Globe Awards. As an actor, he is perhaps best known for his roles in ” Brighton Rock “, ” The Great Escape “, ” 10 Rillington Place “, ” Miracle on 34th Street ” and ” Jurassic Park “.
He was the President of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).
In the late 1950s, Attenborough formed a production company, Beaver Films, with Bryan Forbes and began to build a profile as a producer on projects including ” The League of Gentlemen ” [ 1959 ] , ” The Angry Silence ” [ 1960] and ” Whistle Down the Wind ” [ 1961 ], appearing in the cast of the first two films.
His feature film directorial debut was the all-star screen version of the hit musical ” Oh! What a Lovely War ” [ 1969 ] . He later directed two epic period films : ” Young Winston ” [ 1972 ], based on the early life of Winston Churchill, and ” A Bridge Too Far ” [ 1977 ], an all-star account of Operation Market Garden in World War II.
Richard Attenborough also directed the screen version of the musical ” A Chorus Line ” [ 1985 ] and the anti-apartheid drama ” Cry Freedom ” [ 1987 ], based on the life and death of prominent anti-apartheid activist Steve Biko and the experiences of Donald Woods. He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Director for both films.
His most recent films as director and producer include ” Chaplin ” [ 1992 ] starring Robert Downey, Jr., as Charlie Chaplin and ” Shadowlands ” [ 1993 ], based on the relationship between C. S. Lewis and Joy Gresham , the star of the latter was Anthony Hopkins.
Between 2006-07, he spent time in Belfast, working on his last film as director and producer, ” Closing the Ring ” [ 2007 ] , a love story set in Belfast during the Second World War and starring Shirley MacLaine, Christopher Plummer and Pete Postlethwaite.
His acting career started with ” In Which We Serve ” [ 1942 ] and it ended with ” Closing the Ring ” [ 2007 ] . He was an actor in his first film and a producer and director in his last film. It was a fascinating 65 year-long career.
On behalf of all the students and staff of VIDUR Acting Institute , VIDUR Editing Studio , VIDUR Club and VIDUR Merchandise, I offer my condolences.
Farewell sir! India will always remember you as the maker of a masterpiece film called ” Gandhi ” [ 1982 ] .
[ Information about Sir Richard Attenborough and the list of his films is taken from Wikipedia. I express my gratitude. ]
MUMBAI – MAHARASHTRA – INDIA
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