Movie: Partition: 1947
Cast: Huma Qureshi, Manish Dayal, Hugh Bonneville, Neeraj Kabi, Tanveer Ghani, Gillian Anderson, Denzil Smith, Om Puri, Lily Travers
Director: Gurinder Chadha
Producer: BBC films
Rating: 3/5 Stars
Gurinder Chadha of Bend It Like Beckham Fame’s latest offering, Partition: 1947 takes you back to one of the most dreaded moments in the history of India, which, as the title suggests, is when a united India was divided into two nations, India and Pakistan, a moment that we still feel the brunt of even today.
At the center stage is the last Viceroy of British India, Lord Louis Mountbatten who has been given the task of overlooking the process of making India an independent nation and making sure that it happens peacefully. But, Mountbatten soon understands that this is not going to be a cake walk especially when the country is internally divided. Mountbatten seeks help from the likes of Jawaharlal Nehru, Mahatma Gandhi and Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Soon, you see the Mountbatten being pulled into the one thing he probably never wished he had to do, which is the Partition. Lady Edwina, the wife to Mountbatten, tries to stop the inevitable, but things don’t happen as per how she wants.
The story is one you wouldn’t be able to compete with on paper, but when it comes to execution, we could not find ourselves drawn to the events as far as believability is concerned. The focus was clearly needed on the unfolding of events and how one thing led to the other. Seems like the makers have chosen this film to be structured more like a character drama than a pictorial representation of history, which was downright unappealing. When you walk into a historical film, you’d like to know more about what REALLY happened back then and that too in great convincing detail, which we felt was severely lacking. But, there are a few gripping sequences and some very interesting revelations that we never came across in our history books.
Speaking of the characters, everyone has delivered a top-notch performance. Hugh Bonneville’s Mountbatten is believable and you will find yourself being invested in the character. Although Bonneville’s character is the pilot of this plane, other historical figures such as Mahatma Gandhi(Neeraj Kabi), Tanveer Ghani as Jawaharlal Nehru and Denzil Smith as Muhammad Ali Jinnah are the ones who are deciding the fate of the story. Gillian Anderson and Lily Travers as Mountbatten’s wife and daughter respectively have a lot of tricks under their sleeves but remain grossly underused.
The Love Story
You could spot a side love story brewing somewhere within the whole chaos between Huma Qureshi and Manish Dayal’s characters, which we believe is done perfectly. Generally, if you’re putting a love story in the middle of a historical event, the focus unintentionally changes, but Gurinder knows where to draw the line. Kudos for that! Late Om Puri plays the father to Qureshi’s character who is visually impaired and very much against the idea of dividing one nation into two, and certain emotional sequences between Huma and Om Puri Ji will make you wish that he was still alive.
Partition: 1947 is an intense character drama some stunning sequences, sharp creative dialogues and, of course, the gem the gem the Bollywood had in the form of Late Om Puri. That should be enough to entice you to get yourselves a ticket of the film. But, this movie is a SEVERE let down if you are expecting to learn about the infamous event. Well, at 104 minutes, guess that’s only so much a director could do. Had the film even crossed the 2-hour mark with a gripping representation of history, the film would have had a cult following for sure.