The Pakistan and India rivalry is not just limited to cricket. Ever since Partition, both nations have been involved in a continuous spat over political, religious and social issues. Inevitably, strained ties between the two neighbors have also trickled down to entertainment, with Pakistani artists being banned from working across the border and rife competition between Bollywood and Lollywood artists. Ahead of the ICC World Cup match between Pakistan and India, here’s a rundown of the films set in pre and post 1947, the event that has been written down as one of the most memorable one in world’s history.
- Gadar: Ek Prem Katha
The 2001 period drama was set against the backdrop of Partition. It starred Sunny Deol, Amisha Patel and Amrish Puri in lead roles. The film still remains the second most watched Hindi film in India. Based on the life of Boota Singh, it unravels the story of a Sikh truck driver, Tara Singh (Deol), who falls in love with a Muslim girl, Sakina (Patel). It shows Sikhs and Hindus being attacked by Muslims in Pakistan when trying to migrate to India by train. Sikhs and Hindus react by killing Muslims migrating to Pakistan from India, resulting in the biggest bloodbath.
- Train to Pakistan
Releasing in 1998 and adapted from Khushwant Singh's 1956 classic novel by the same name, the film stars Nirmal Pandey, Rajit Kapur, Mohan Agashe, Smriti Mishra, Mangal Dhillon and Divya Dutta. It is set in Mano Majra, a quiet village on the border of India and Pakistan. The project follows the love affair of a Sikh boy and Muslim girl. The Muslims in India moved towards the newly formed Pakistan and the Hindus and Sikhs migrate to refugee camps in India. One day, a train arrives from Pakistan, carrying bodies of all the travellers who have been killed. And, the village is changed forever.
It hit screens in the same year as Train to Pakistan. The film is based on the life of the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Directed by ace filmmaker Jamil Dehlavi, it revolves around the struggles and achievements of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah in his fight for Pakistan.
1998 seems like the year for all patriotic films. Released in the same year, Earth encompasses the events leading up to Partition and its aftermath. A young girl with polio, Lenny (Maia Sethna), narrates the story through the voice of her adult self (Shabana Azmi). She is from a wealthy Parsi family who hopes to remain neutral to the rising tensions between Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims in the area. With Partition, however, her once unified group of best friends becomes divided and tragedy ensues. Azmi won hearts around the globe for her intense role and stellar acting.
The Urmila Matondkar and Manoj Bajpayee-starrer was released in 2003 and is also based during the period of Partition. Puro is a young Hindu woman who is engaged to a man called Ramchand. While on an outing with her younger sister Rajjo, Puro is suddenly kidnapped by a mysterious man, Rashid. Rashid's family has an ancestral dispute with Puro's family. It all goes downhill from there for their love, lives and families!
The millennial film launched two of the most famous stars of Bollywood – Abhishek Bachchan and Kareena Kapoor Khan. The 2002 film helmed by JP Dutta told the story of an unnamed Indian Muslim, who helps illegal refugees from India and Pakistan cross the border through the Great Rann of Kutch. The film is attributed to have been inspired by the short story Love Across the Salt Desert by Keki N Daruwalla.
- Viceroy’s House
The British-Indian historical drama was directed by Gurinder Chadha. Lord Louis Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) arrives at Viceroy's House in Delhi in 1947 with his strong-willed wife Edwina (Gillian Anderson) and daughter Pamela. As the final Viceroy of India, he is in charge of overseeing the dissolution of the British Raj and the establishment of an independent Indian nation. Mountbatten attempts to mediate a disagreement between the two major Indian political leaders, Jawaharlal Nehru and Muhammad Ali Jinnah. All his efforts go to vain and problems don’t stop arising.