Partition: 1947, which is the Hindi dubbed version of Viceroy’s House, gives an insight into the politics behind the India – Pakistan partition of 1947. While the film’s historical correctness can be questioned, the director Gurinder Chadha has weaved the narrative with considerable thrill, keeping the viewer engaged till the very end.
Though the film largely is melodramatic and plays into the court of those who know not even a shred of information about the partition, Chadha doesn’t try to force emotions down the throat and they emerge as organically as the narrative progresses. Chadha doesn’t unnecessary dwell on singular characters, rather hop from one to the other to portray the various perspectives of historical figures. Partition was an event that people and historians still find difficult to cope up with its magnanimity. It is difficult to wrap up a film around the largest mass migration ever in 105 minutes, but Chadha doesn’t lose focus and presents an overall prism of what happened at the highest office of the British Raj, without making it seem like a rushed up project.
The background score by AR Rahman is effective and plays a major role in creating tension in the screenplay. What doesn’t work for the film is the parallel romantic story of Jeet Kumar, a Hindu boy played by Manish Dayal and Alia, a Muslim woman played by Huma Qureshi. Chadha intends for the love story to resemble a microcosm of the struggle of partition, however, the parallel story fails to leave the desired impact and seems to be an odd thread in an otherwise magnetic storytelling. Since the director is tackling a subject as real as India – Pakistan partition, the climax seemed to be convenient rather than believable.
Technically, Partition: 1947 scores in all aspects right from the cinematography, editing, screenplay to the casting. The set designer has succeeded to recreate vintage India of the 1940’s. The makers have done a fairly good job by dubbing the film in Hindi as the dialogues don’t dilute the impact of the sequences.
Huma Qureshi, who has shown her acting prowess in films like Gangs of Wasseypur and Shorts, slips into the character of Alia with ease. She manages to make her presence felt in this huge ensemble and her scenes with Om Puri would melt your heart. Manish Dayal as Jeet Kumar delivers a honest performance however the huge narrative didn’t give him the scope to explore his character. Hugh Bonnevilli and Gillian Andersoaptlye aptly cast to play the part of Lord Mountbatten and Lady Mountbatten. Despite the limited screen-time, Om Puri’s plays a pivotal part in the film and mere presence here would make you miss him. Denzil Smith (Muhammad Ali Jinnah), Tanveer Ghani (Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru) and Neeraj Kabi (Mahatma Gandhi) do a fair job.
Partition: 1947 largely sheds light on behind-the-door politics during the India – Pakistan partition in entertaining manner, and deserves to be watched to know about the history of our motherland.