Kids Corner

Partition

PARTITION

A film review by Henna Singh

The word "partition" is one that most Sikhs have grown up with as a part of their consciousness. It's not that we know of "people" who had seen it – it's that those people were our parents, grandparents, or our best friends. We know of people who had to leave everything behind to come and start a new life in a new place. We know of the struggle and hardship that took place. We know of changing hierarchies and loyalties.


But never before have I seen the 1947 partition of the Indian sub-continent presented as the backdrop to a love story – that is, not until now. Partition is a new feature length film directed and written by Vic Sarin. Sarin grew up around the time of partition. His father's close friend was a Sikh man who was in love with a Muslim woman. Because of their different religions, the lovers are separated and are unable to be together. So they both commit suicide by jumping into a dam. Amazingly, the man survives and is washed up ashore. Seeing that his beloved is dead, he decides to jump into the dam again in order to kill himself.

Vic was amazed by this story. He found it incredible that a man could love a woman so much that he had the courage to attempt to drown himself twice. It was this that inspired him to write Partition.

The movie has all the elements of the cataclysmic events of 1947 – the presence of the British, impossible bureaucracy, angry Muslim and Sikh villagers, and of course bloodshed. The role of the main character – Gian Singh – is played by Jimi Mistry in a way that makes one forget East is East and Touch of Pink. He brings a sense of humility to the role that is really felt by the viewer.

No less is Kristin Kreuk's acting. Previously a star of the television series Smallville, Kreuk shines as a Muslim woman named Naseem. Her vulnerability and love for her husband and her family is palatable. She truly moves the audience with her portrayal as Gian Singh's beloved.

The presence of the British is represented by the ever-charismatic Neve Campbell, playing the role of Margaret. Neve masters a colonial British accent and shows the life of a woman who has made India her home.

Margaret's faithfulness to Gian Singh, and her readiness to help anyone in need goes against the stereotypical presentation of the British that we have come to expect. This is due to the film's superb writing. The film was written by both Vic Sarin and Patricia Finn, who made a conscious effort to remain objective and avoid writing stereotypes. The result is that the characters are believable as are the reactions of the communities they live in. The Sikh point of view is represented along with the Muslim one. The hardships of both sides are shown in an attempt to balance the film.

Partition captures the emotions of the events of 1947 by showing the poignant love story of two people who are forbidden to be together. Besides being a story of love, it's a story of family values and the religious differences that drive people apart. The narrative, loosely based on a true story, will enable viewers to see partition in a new light and will ensnare the imagination of a new generation.

Conversation about this article

1: Jasleen (Pleasanton, CA, U.S.A.), October 30, 2007, 11:37 PM.

Sounds like a wonderful movie. Where can I see it?

2: Rajinder Dhillon (New York City, U.S.A.), March 17, 2009, 8:20 AM.

This movie sucks.

3: Subhash Parihar (Kot Kapura, Punjab), September 22, 2010, 7:39 PM.

I would like to see the movie. Where can I get it? So far, the finest film on Partition is M.S. Sathyu's "Garm Hawa". It is now available on DVD.

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