Independence Day fervour: With ‘Jinnah’, recalling the father of the nation

Lack of enthusiasm, poor print spoils screening of film.

Our Correspondent August 14, 2012


In celebration of Independence Day, Pakistan National Council of the Arts (PNCA) screened the movie “Jinnah” on Monday. However, the lack of spirit in the auditorium did not quite go with the celebratory theme of the event.

A visitor said,“Jinnah must be crying in his grave at the state of the country.”

Although screening a movie about the country’s founder was probably a good idea to familiarise the young generation with the events leading to partition, the bad print managed to put off a few people.

“I can barely see his face. I came because I thought it would be a good way to pass the hour and for my children to watch a movie about the founder, but now I’m feeling dizzy because of the bad print,” said Javaid, a visitor who had come with his wife and children. “I’m pretty sure they could have invested in a good print,” he added.

The movie directed by Jamil Dehalvi was released in 1998 with Christopher Lee in the lead role. The film follows the life of the father of the nation.

When Muhammad Ali Jinnah dies, he is taken to a heavenly anteroom where a decision is to be made concerning his fate, but since his file has gone missing he must narrate his story. He narrates key events in 1947, when India was on the verge of gaining independence from Britain and Jinnah advocated a separate nation where Muslims would be in the majority.

Gandhi suggests Jinnah be made prime minister of united India as a compromise, but Jinnah rejects his offer and Nehru is selected for the job. Jinnah’s nemesis is Lord Mountbatten, the British viceroy who opposed the idea of Pakistan.

As well as this historical turning point, Jinnah recalls his youth and formative relationships with his sister Fatima and his marriage to Ruttie, a Zoroastrian who converted to Islam before marriage.

Perhaps the highlight of the movie was a scene in which Jinnah asks the police to stop baton-charging peaceful protesters that elicited a response from some viewers which amplified into thunderous applause when the rest of the audience joined in.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 14th, 2012.


malik | 11 years ago | Reply

Independence Day is the time to talk about our Founding Father’s vision and then lament what a great guy he was, if only we had followed his glorious vision how we would have become the centre of excellence etc etc.

Then next we bash up Zia as if he alone is responsible for the ills of the nation. Then it is time to pay tributes to the Army whose patriotism is unparalleled and the only institution in the country that has no corruption. Next, it is time to vent our spleen on US because it is this country that had enslaved us by not providing enough money and support when we needed them most. Also, US is our second most hated enemy, the first one you know who it is.

Finally, we end up the Independence Day celebration with the optimistic message which basically denies all our faults and blaming our neighbors for everything. There is nothing wrong with us and if only we are more religious, life will be better….

This is the ritual called Independence Day celebration for the last 65 years and is it going to be any different this time around ?

mkz | 11 years ago | Reply

I remember seeing this when I was 9 or 10 and I remember thinking: "Why cant Pakistani film-makers do this? Who better to understand our country that us?"

Sharmeen Obaid, Etc, I would be so much more proud if you could make something like this.

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