Director: Gurinder Chadha
Cast: Huge Bonneville, Huma Qureshi, Manish Dayal, Arunoday Singh, Om Puri, Neeraj Kabi, Denzil Smith and Gillian Anderson
Known for making films like Bride and Prejudice, Bend It Like Beckham, director Gurinder Chadha, of Kenyan origin, brings you all a film that unmasks the hidden facts about the partition that happened during the supervision of the last viceroy of India, Lord Mount batten, in the year 1947. Chadha has been showing the contemporary lives of Indians residing in England so far in her films, but for the first time, she has tried her hand dabbling in history but has unfortunately failed to recreate the magic somehow.
Lord Mountbatten (Huge Bonneville) is appointed as the last viceroy of India and he moves to Delhi with his wife Edwina Mountbatten (Gillian Anderson) and his daughter. Jeet (Manish Dayal) is appointed as Lord Mountbatten's personal assistant who is in love with Alia (Huma Qureshi), who is also a helping hand to Edwina at the viceroy's house.
But Ali Rahim Noor (Om Puri), who is Alia's blind father, wants Asif (Arunoday Singh) to marry his daughter. He is the personal driver of Jinnah (Denzil Smith). Mahatma Gandhi (Neeraj Kabi) doesn't want the partition to happen, though Jinnah has other plans, wanting a separate nation for his Muslim community.
While India recently celebrated her 71st Independence Day, every Indian knows the bitter history. When pre-partition India was distributed into two different nations, Hindustan and Pakistan, approximately 10 million people were killed brutally. The Islamic community considered themselves to be a minority in a Hindu dominant land and hence wanted a separate nation for themselves.
However, Gurinder has touched upon such facts as how higher British authorities were involved in smartly playing a catalyst in the partition to acquire the oil from the gulf, portraying Lord Mountbatten as a villain in the blame game because of which Nehru and Jinnah made their own nations. But somehow, the film looks more like a love story of a Hindu guy and a Muslim girl while not focusing on the partition and its real facts. Since it is based on real facts, the director tends to become more lazy and doesn't make it an interesting watch.
The pace of the film in the first half is sloppy and the film loses its grip every now and then. One tends to doze of until the interval touches on a painful nerve of two lovers separating due to partition. The film is pro-Mountbatten and is in favour of the British constitutional monarchy. However, the best part of the film is its casting. Neeraj Kabi who portrays the role of Bapu is too good. Even Denzil Smith, who plays Jinnah, is commendable. Hugh Bonneville, who plays Lord Mount batten, and Gillian Anderson, who plays Edwina Mount batten, do a great job. Manish Dayal, Huma Qureshi, Arunoday Singh and the late Om Puri are good in their respective roles.
The film is visually rich too, but overall, it is highly disappointing. Unlike the previous few well made patriotic films Bollywood has seen, like Rang De Basanti, The Legend of Bhagat Singh, to name a few, Partition 1947 looks repetitive and superficial. The film will also remind you of the Sunny Deol and Amisha Patel starrer love story set at the backdrop of partition 1947, Gadar- Ek Prem Katha, in bits and pieces. Music by the maestro AR Rahman is just about average. This is perhaps the weakest film of Gurinder Chadha which has a very clichéd climax.
Avoid the film if you aren't a history fanatic. Even if you are, watch some other period film on an original DVD or on satellite....