Cast: Hugh Bonneville, Gillian Anderson, Huma Qureshi, Manish Dayal, Late. Om Puri, Denzil Smith
Director: Gurinder Chadha
Producers: Paul Mayeda Berges, Gurinder Chadha, Deepak Nayar
Writers: Paul Mayeda Berges, Gurinder Chaddha, Moira Buffini
What's Yay: Performances
What's Nay: Huma Qureshi- Manish Dayal's love track sticks out like a sore thumb in the narrative.
Popcorn Refill: Interval
Iconic Moment: The scenes involving Mounbatten, Nehru and Muhammad Ali Jinnah draw your attention the most.
Lord 'Dickie' Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville), the last viceroy appointed by George VI arrives in India with his wife Edwina (Gillian Anderson) and daughter Pamela (Lily Travers) to oversee the peaceful transfer of power from Britain to India in 1947. His palatial mansion, 'The Viceroy's House' refracts the story of partition of India which went on to conflict wounds that run deep.
Meanwhile, there is love simmering between Jeet (Manish Dayal), a newly employed Hindu manservant at the Viceroy's palatial estate, and his long separated Muslim childhood friend Aalia (Huma Qureshi). Unexpectedly reunited, the pair is now keen to rekindle their romance but there's a glitch. She is already betrothed to another, while Jeet is determined to win over his love. But, will it be all so easy especially when the looming threat of India's Muslim-Hindu division threatens to separate them forever?
Just before the end credits roll, director Gurinder Chadha mentions how the ugly partition engulfed her Sikh relatives and one of her aunts, a mere child fell victim to starvation. If one goes by these words, '1947: Partition' is supposed to be a more personal account. But unfortunately, it ends up being mere superficial.
What breaks your heart even more is that Chadha imposes a cliched love story in her narrative as a sugar coat to make us swallow the bitter pill of partition! Her film presents Mountbatten as a mere pawn for a secret partition plan that his taskmasters had been preparing for years. She steers clear from exploring the 'Nehru-Edwina relationship' angle.
Having said that, Chadha's efforts to tell the epochal events of 1947 for the widest possible audience needs to be appreciated. But it's her subtle treatment to the subject that leaves you a little disappointed.
Hugh Bonneville plays his role of Lord Mountbatten with perfection. Gillian Anderson as Edwina Mountbatten has plenty of shining moments in the film.
Though Manish Dayal- Huma Qureshi's romantic track isn't impressive, the duo still manage to hold your attention. Tanveer Ghani and Denzil Smith are aptly cast as Nehru and Jinnah respectively. Neeraj Kabi looks a bit awkward as Gandhi. Arunoday Singh and Late. Om Puri suffer from underwritten roles.
Ben Smithard's cinematography is top-notch whereas Victoria Boydell's editing gels well with the film.
A.R Rahman's effective background score works brilliantly for the film.
Gurinder Chadha's 1947: Partition is well-intentioned but it fails to pierce your heart! Watch it only if you are in a mood for some quick re-run of history but don't want to reach out to those drab history textbooks!