Nelson Mandela , the modern day Gandhi.... And like Gandhi he led his people to freedom crossing numerous obstacles along the way , and like Gandhi he preached forgiveness and reconciliation with the oppressor at the end of it all..... And he went on to rule the very nation that had once kept him in chains..... And when he had finished with politics , he sat down to write his autobiography---' Long walk to freedom '.... And it was a truely long and slow walk---27 years he had to spend in jail.... But with every passing year he spent in jail , he more and more became an icon for those who believed in freedom and liberty and justice and equality..... Naturally , his autobiography became fodder for a film.... The actor chosen to fill the mighty shoes of Mandela on celluloid is Idris Elba , who has put a commanding performance of a heroic figure..... Even better I thought was the performance of Naomi Harris as Winnie Mandela , wife of Nelson---for she has played perfectly the role of a woman bowled over by his personality in her younger years and who throws herself bodily into the anti apartheid struggle after he is arrested and keeps the flame and his name alive for his followers while he is in jail , only to grow distant from him in his old age..... Of course , she is not his first wife ; his first wife is a more ordinary woman who lacks the passion and personality of Winnie and leaves him having got tired of his involvement in the anti apartheid struggle and the enormous risks it carries..... That is however not the only reason why his first wife leaves him , for he is prone to have numerous sexual relationships with other women on the sly and she is distressed by them---the film is not shy to probe into the grey areas in his personality and expose the more negative aspects of it..... And who is he in the beginning ?? He is son of the advisor to chief of Xhosa tribe , and has a carefree childhood spent in the grasslands of rural South Africa---a childhood whose happy memories would give him strength in the hard days ahead..... He comes to the big city to become a lawyer , and his brilliance in the courtroom attracts the leaders of the ANC ( African national congress )..... It doesn't take long for him to grow in stature and become a leader , and also attract many girlfriends.... In the beginning he is all for following a non violent ideology against the white government of South Africa , but as the repression and violence of the racist government grows he drops the nonviolence and tilts towards violence in the form of bombings of government owned sites..... Naturally he becomes a marked man and has to move from place to place until he is finally caught brought before a judge.... So what transpires in the trial that follows ?? How does he inspire his people by his bearing and actions in court ?? How does he spend his long years in captivity ?? Watch the film for the answers..... To be honest , I thought the movie lacked the fire and the passion that should have been evoked in our hearts by the long fight against inequality and against oppression of whites on blacks.... Problem is---Mandela has had a long life and the film tries to show all events in his life from his childhood till his becoming President of South Africa.... And in the process of putting all this in a film , every event has to be given only a limited number of minutes.... There are no dramatic moments shown at all in his long stint in jail , and the few dramatic moments outside are provided by his wife Winnie Mandela.... Or maybe that is the fault of his real life personality , he being a gentle and forgiving person rather than a person for a flair for drama unlike his flamboyant wife Winnie.... Of course , there are some emotional scenes---he meeting his daughter for the first time after 11 years in jail to find out that she has grown up , and he and his wife being allowed to touch and embrace each other only after 24 years.... But Mandela's forgiveness comes handy big time , when violence spirals out of control in South Africa and the country's white rulers decide that it is time to deal with him in order to bring and end to the violence---because Mandela promises and is above all the only one with the stature to carry out the promise that there will be no revenge on whites after power has been handed over to blacks.... And he fulfills his promise and allows those very whites who had unleashed tyranny on his people to live peacefully as normal citizens after he comes to power---a thing only a born statesman can accomplish..... Verdict on the film--- I dreamt of seeing a film that was great as Mandela himself , but it wasn't that great.... Still it is a very decent effort .