Sunday, 1 October 2017


Original photograph during the time of Partition!

New film 'Partition 1947' released..and remembered some landmark & notable films from the history of cinema..focused on the same issue!

In 1950 first film made on Partition and that was Bengali 'Chinnamul' directed by Nemai Ghosh! It tells the story of farmers of East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) forced to migrate to Calcutta at the time of partition in 1947. Soviet filmmaker Pudovkin watched & impressed by this film and released in Russia!

'Meghe Dhaka Tara' (1960)
'Chinnamul' ( 1950)

Then sensible Bengali filmmaker Ritwik Ghatak's two films

'Meghe Dhaka Tara' (1960) and 'Subarnarekha' (1965) had backdrop of partition! Both the films focused on the survival of refugees from East Pakistan! Supriya Choudhary's performance in 'Meghe Dhaka Tara' touched the heart!..Apart from such feature films Sukhdev made documentary 'Nine months to freedom' (1972) on making of Bangladesh was brilliant!

The landmark film on India-Pakistan partition was 'Garam Hava' (1974) made by M. S. Sathyu! This was based on a story by noted Urdu writer Ismat Chughtai. It deals with the plight of a North Indian Muslim family in the post partition period 1947. Head of the family showed with the dilemma of whether move to Pakistan as many relatives or stay back! This main protagonist portrayed by great actor Balraj Sahni who died before it's release! With him Shaukat Azmi, A. K. Hangal, Dinanath Zutshi, Badar Begum & that time new Farooq Shaikh acted in it! It's screenplay-dialogues were written by Shama Zaidi & Kaifi Azami who also wrote lyrics which composed by Ustad Bahadur Khan. It's famous qawwali composed & performed by Aziz Ahmed Khan Warsi & his brothers troupe..And this superbly picturised on Jalal Agha & Geeta Sidharth! This film won National Award..And was official entry of India for 'Oscar'! I remember meeting it's renowned filmmaker Mr. Sathyuji and discussing about this great film!

On this in 1988 Govind Nihlani made 'Tamas' as TV serial first and then converted it in to film! This set in the backdrop of riot during the partition of Punjab in 1947. It deals with the plight of emigrant Sikh & Hindu families to India. This serial & film was based on same name Hindi novel wrote by Bhishm Sahni who also acted in it with artists like Om Puri, Surekha Sikri & Deepa Sahi. This film won three National Awards!

After this there was a sensitive film on the backdrop of partition..Shyam Benegal's 'Mammo' (1994). Khalid Mohammed wrote this film tells the story of woman moves to Pakistan during the partition and years later visits India to meet relatives..and her suffering in it! Farida Jalal portraited title role greatly in it with Surekha Sikri, Amit Phalke & Rajit Kapoor! This film won National Award & Farida Jalal won Filmfare's Critics Award! I remember this was the opening film of our '26th International Film Festival of India' held in 1995 at Mumbai!

Then film 'Train to Pakistan' (1998) was adapted from Khushwant Singh's novel of same name which focused on the suffering of communities during partition! Pamela Rooks made in this film Mangal Dhillon, Rajit Kapoor, Nirmal Pandey & Smriti Mishra acted nicely. I still remember the press conference of this film in Mumbai and interaction with director & artists!

Same time came film 'Earth' (1998) which was based on Bapsi Sidhwa's novel 'Cracking India'! This was a second in it's filmmaker Deepa Mehta's Elements trilogy! It depicted the tragedy of three lives..two Muslim boys & their love interest Hindu girl..during separation of Pakistan from India!

There was one Pakistani film also 'Jinnah' (1998) an epic biographical film directed by London based Jamil Dehlvi. In this Christopher Lee portraited the title role..And Shashi Kapoor acted as Narrator!
In 2001 hit bollywood movie 'Gadar' came with inter-religion love story on the same which Sunny Deol, Amisha Patel & Amrish Puri did powerful roles! Anil Sharma directed this Hindi movie inspired by Punjabi film 'Shaheed-e-Mohabbat Boota Singh' (1999) made by Manoj Punj! It was a home production of Punjabi singer-actor Gurudas Maan who also played the lead role with Divya Dutta. This film won national award! I still remember nice party with filmmaker & artist after the screening of this film in our '30th International Film Festival of India' held in 1999 at Hyderabad!

After this there was film 'Pinjar' (2003) which based on a Punjabi novel of same name written by

Amrita Pritam. It's about Hindu-Muslim problems during partition. Chandra Prakash Dwivedi sensitively directed in this film Urmila Matondkar and Manoj Bajpayee played the main lead. This film won National Award for national integration! I remember meeting It's writer Amrita Pritamji many years ago at her residence in New Delhi!

In 2004 famous filmmaker Yash Chopra's musical romantic film 'Veer Zaara' also came with partition which Shahrukh Khan, Preity Zinta & Rani Mukherjee performed their roles superbly!

Then Canadian film 'Partition' (2007) also had same backdrop. Vic Sarin directed this film partially shot in British Columbia & Canada. It's Sikh and Muslim girl love story and Jim Mistry & Kristin Kreuk played the main roles!

I also remember documentaries made by Bangladeshi filmmaker Tanvir Mokammel on which one great work was "1971" depicting the main events in liberation of Bangladesh! Another was 'Swapnabhumi' (2007) which tells the plight of stranded Pakistanis in Bangladesh! His such films got awards & international recognition! I had nice interaction with filmmaker Mr. Mokammel in film festival at FTII, Pune some years back!

'Rajkahini' (2015)
In recent years Bengali film 'Rajkahini' (2015) focused the drama happened during the partition of Bengal in 1947. It weaved around a border between two nations that runs through a brothel housing eleven women. Srijit Mukherji directed in this film Rituparna Sengupta, Saayoni Ghosh, Sohini Sarkar, Ridhima Ghosh, Jisshu Sengupta, Saswata Chatterjee, Kaushik Sen, Ena Saha, Ditipriya Roy, Lily & Sudipta Chakroborty are in pivotal roles. Hindi adaptation of this film 'Begum Jaan' (2017) is also directed by Srijit Mukherji. In this Vidya Balan played the main role which Rituparna superbly did in original Bengali film! With her Illa Arun, Pallavi Sharada, Rajit Kapoor, Ashish Vidyarthi, Vivek Mushran, Mishti & beautiful Gauhar Khan played the important roles in it!

Now this new movie 'Partition 1947' is here..this is a Hindi version of original English film 'Viceroy's House' directed by Gurinder Chadha! It's about the inside life of last Viceroy of India Lord Mountbatten..with a love story too! Artists Hugh Bonneville, Gillian Anderson, Manish Dayal & Huma Qureshi played the roles in it!

More such films with the backdrop of partition will come in the future too..but what need is to develop congenial relationships among our three countries (India, Pakistan & Bangladesh)..suffered in it!

I am wishing peaceful & progressive life with lot of love to all our people in these our countries!!

- Manoj Kulkarni
['Chitrasrushti', Pune, India]

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