Indian series on partition in works


India’s interest in Pakistan is a never-waning phenomenon it seems. Recently, Variety reported that Indian streaming service SonyLIV announced the cast for its upcoming series, ‘Freedom at Midnight,’ set against the backdrop of the Indian subcontinent’s struggle for independence. As per the Variety report, the series promises to explore untold stories and pivotal moments from the era when India and Pakistan emerged as independent nations following the partition in 1947.

The spotlight falls on the enigmatic figure of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan, whose portrayal will be entrusted to actor Arif Zakaria. Zakaria, known for his role as Nehru in the ZEE5 series ‘Hutatma’, expressed his approach towards portraying Jinnah as a nuanced character. He was quoted as saying, “In preparing to portray Mohammed Ali Jinnah, I realized how important it was to depict him as a flawed and complicated human being rather than an untouchable hero.”

The actor added, “I intend to add dimensions to Jinnah’s persona by delving into the depths of his psyche, bringing forth his complexity and revealing the motivations that inspired his acts. I hope to give a more genuine and comprehensive picture of Jinnah by adopting this method.”

Opposite Zakaria, Ira Dubey, recognised for her role in the Netflix series ‘Scoop,’ will step into the shoes of Fatima Jinnah, Mohammed Ali Jinnah’s younger sister and close confidante. Dubey highlighted the significance of Fatima Jinnah’s role in her brother’s life, highlighting their dynamic relationship. Fatima Jinnah, after Pakistan’s establishment, co-founded the Pakistan Women’s Association, playing a crucial role in the settlement of women migrants.

Mohammed Ali Jinnah, who led the All-India Muslim League from 1913 until the formation of Pakistan, served as the new country’s first governor-general until his demise in 1948. Throughout his political journey, his sister Fatima remained an influential figure by his side, contributing significantly to the nascent nation’s development.

The series is based on the acclaimed 1975 non-fiction book of the same name by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre. It aims to unravel the complexities of the independence movement, offering viewers a compelling narrative enriched with historical insights. The offering holds the promise of captivating audiences with its exploration of pivotal historical figures and their intertwined destinies amidst the tumultuous backdrop of India’s struggle for freedom. As anticipation builds, viewers eagerly await the unveiling of this epic saga. 

Previously, Indian filmmaker Sanjay Leela Bhansali took an interest in the walled city of Lahore, basing his fictional Netflix series on the lives of Heeramandi courtesans. As divisive as the series was, given the creative liberties taken with the depiction, it remains to be seen how the upcoming portrayal of the Jinnahs will impact audiences.

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