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Last Updated: Saturday, 24 February 2007, 10:07 GMT
Oscar film inspires Uganda return
By Sarah Harris
BBC London

A Watford man explains how Oscar-nominated film The Last King of Scotland has inspired him to return to Uganda to bring light to isolated villages.

Bharat Gheewala
Gheewala's family was expelled from Uganda in 1972
The Last King of Scotland has already won best film at the Baftas and Forest Whitaker has won the best actor at the Oscars for his portrayal of Idi Amin.

It tells the story of how the despot ruled Uganda with fear and violence in the 1970s.

But for one London man, whose Asian family was thrown out by the dictator, the movie has inspired him to go back to their homeland and help those who stayed behind.

Bharat Gheewala lived in Uganda and his family was given three months to leave the country back in 1972.

The film brought back memories of that time.

"It was a case of leaving the kitchen and the bathroom and all our belongings and just getting out," he said.

"At first no one knew if Amin had meant what he said. But when it became clear that he had there was real panic.

When you prosper you should give something back to the land of your birth
Bharat Gheewala
"There were only two or three flights out of Uganda at that time and the women and children took the first flights while the men tried to tie up their businesses.

"In the end most of us left with nothing.

"People knew Amin could change his mind, but we also knew he was a killer and would carry out his threats if we did not obey him."

Now Bharat is a successful businessman with grown-up children of his own.

With the success of The Last King of Scotland putting the world spotlight on his home country, he wants to gather together people in this country to give something back.

Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland
Forest Whitaker is tipped to win an Academy Award on Sunday
"There is a saying that when you prosper you should give something back to the land of your birth, the land that created you as a person and that's what I want to do.

"There are some remote villages in the south where families still use candles. It's a real fire hazard and the kind of thing that we Asians who left and have done well take for granted.

"I want to use the river to power the electricity and raise the funds to build the power station.

"I will be inviting the people who made the film to take part in my project to bring light, not just the electricity but true light into people's lives.

"It will be a legacy my family can be proud of for generations and will last as long as the river flows through Africa."

If anyone feels they can help Mr Gheewala please contact Sarah Harris at sarah.harris@bbc.co.uk


SEE ALSO
Ugandan premiere for Last King
18 Feb 07 |  Africa
Actor Whitaker on 'finding' Amin
25 Jan 07 |  Entertainment
Idi Amin film for London Festival
10 Aug 06 |  Entertainment



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