Shekhar Kapur

With Nelson Mandela movie, the culmination of a winding trek

Among the surprising things about the movie chronicling Nelson Mandela’s journey to freedom is that it began while he was still in prison.
Back in the late 1980s, South African movie producer Anant Singh started corresponding with the imprisoned Mandela. The two had an improbable simpatico. Singh was an Indian outsider raised in South Africa, where he was accorded about the same level of civil rights and protection as blacks under the white-run minority government — that is, almost none.

Mandela, meanwhile, had been on infamous Robben Island for more than two decades, a defanged but hardly deterred hero to nearly every black South African and to human-rights...