Directed By: Gurinder Chadha
Produced By: Paul Mayeda Berges, Gurinder Chadha, Deepak Nayar
Cast: Hugh Bonneville, Gillian Anderson, Manish Dayal, Huma Qureshi, Michael Gambon
Duration: 1 hours 46 minutes
Bollywood Bubble Rating: 3.5/5
We happily celebrated our 71st Independence Day this year. While many people were quite jovial to have a holiday on that day, there were people who were cribbing about not getting a holiday or about not getting to drink on that day as it was a dry day. But, do we ever think about the people, who couldn’t celebrate the day we got independence, because they had the tension of shifting from one country to another.
Partition of India is one of the most terrible phases in the history of our country. While on one side the country was celebrating independence and the end of long British rule in India, there were people who had become homeless, had lost their families, and were left with no option, but to stay in refugee camps where even getting one square meal a day was a big dream. We have heard a lot about partition, read a lot about it, and have even seen movies about it. Earlier this year, we saw ‘Begum Jaan’ which also had the backdrop of partition, and now, it’s time to witness the worst page in the book of Indian history, once again on the big screen with Gurinder Chadha’s ‘Partition: 1947’.
Well, it’s a British-Indian historical flick, which has released in English as ‘Viceroy's House’, and the Hindi dubbed version is titled as ‘Partition: 1947’. We all know a lot about the partition and our independence, so what’s new that this film will be offering to us? Well, it surely has something to tell us that we didn’t know about…
Lord Louis Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) comes to India to free it from the British rule. But, unfortunately gets into the chaos of India and Pakistan. While Muhammad Ali Jinnah (Denzil Smith) wants a different country named Pakistan for Muslims, Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru (Tanveer Ghani) and Gandhiji (Neeraj Kabi) are not keen on dividing India into two countries. Meanwhile, in the Viceroy’s house there are conflicts between the servants. While Hindus are keen about India, Muslims wants Pakistan. And while everyone is busy fighting for Pakistan and India, there’s romance building up between Jeet (Manish Dayal) and Alia (Huma Qureshi) who also work in the Viceroy’s house.
The movie surely has something to offer that we had no idea about. Maybe many of you had read about it, but we are seeing this for the first time on the big screen. The screenplay of the film, which is written by Paul Mayade Berges, Gurinder Chadha and Deepak Nayar, is quite good. There are a few sequences in the first half that may bore you a bit, especially the romantic scenes between Jeet and Alia. The chemistry between the two characters is zero. But, the scenes that show the meetings between Mountbatten, Jinnah, Nehru and Gandhiji are superb. The second half is filled with emotions and some really untold facts about partition. There are even moments that will leave you choked.
Gurinder Chadha wonderfully gets an untold story on the big screen. She has proved in past that she is great storyteller and she does it again. The black and white effect in the few scenes in between makes an impact and even the locations used look original and not like a film set. Cinematography done by Ben Smithard is fantastic, and editing done by Victoria Boydell is just perfect. But, we are disappointed with one thing. The film’s English version is titled ‘Viceroy’s House’ and that is the most suitable title for the film. The Hindi version shouldn’t have been titled ‘Partition: 1947’. The title should have been same for Hindi and English, both. This movie concentrates on the partition and independence, but more than that it’s about what the Viceroy and his family went through and what all happened during the time of partition in the house of the Viceroy.
The movie is filled with some amazing performances, but it’s Gillian Anderson’s act as Lady Edwina Mountbatten that will leave a strong impact on you. She is excellent in her part. Hugh Bonneville as Lord Mountbatten is very good. He is actually the lead actor of the film, and rules throughout. Now let’s talk about our very own Huma Qureshi. First of all let us tell you that she has a very good screen time in the film, and is not wasted like other Bollywood actresses who recently made their international debut. Huma as Alia is superb; she makes us sit back and notice her. Manish Dayal as Jeet is wonderful and impresses us. Om Puri ji is good in his brief role. Neeraj Kabi as Gandhiji gets less scope but does his part well. Denzil Smith as Jinnah is fine, but it is Tanveer Ghani as Nehru who is not up to the mark. He fails to live the dynamic personality of Nehru on the big screen. Arunoday Singh has very few scenes in the film, and he fails to impress.
The music of the film is given by AR Rahman, and when it’s his music we are never disappointed.
On the whole, ‘Partition: 1947’ opens pages that we had no idea about. It is high on information and facts, makes us emotional and even entertains. This Gurinder Chadha directorial is a must watch.