Half Estonian Tina Pehme (father Estonian, mother Norwegian) co produced the film Partition along with her husband Kim Roberts, which has been showing in cinemas throughout Canada for several weeks.
Partition was the division of Hindi religioned India and Muslim to become Pakistan, starting in 1946, when Great Britain was asked to depart from control by constant demonstrations led by the non violent Ghandi. The partition however was not peaceful, and that is the setting of the film.
The director, writer and director of photography, Vic Sarin who along with Pehme started the project in 1994 which was based on the story of a romance between two of Sarin's father's friends.
The shooting locations of the film were in India and Vancouver.
The acting in "Partition" was good throughout. Special mention goes to Canadian actor Neve Campbell who plays Margaret Stilwell, a English person living in India, has adopted a good British, upper class accent which she maintains throughout and little Jaden Rain, who plays Vijay, the young son of the lead actors Jimi Mistry (as Gian Singh) and Kristin Kreuk (as Naseem Khan) in the movie. Jaden Rain is the youngest son of Pehme, thus a quarter Estonian.
There are difficulties understanding some cultural differences between the two cultures (Muslim and Hindi) and ours (European). The age difference of the two leads Singh and Khan is one. He is thirty eight and she is almost eighteen. The other differences are well defined subtleties between families in both Hindi and Muslim environments.
Singh returns to his home village, from WW II, where he fought in a Sikh Regiment in which he had been enlisted in for twenty years. He has had enough of war and wants now to live in peace and farm. He watches an entire train filled with Hindus returning from the area designated Pakistan, dead.
Shortly after he sees a Khan being chased by men in a forest, whom he rescues and takes to his house. There is conflict with his mother and the people of the village, who want to take her and exact revenge for the massacre on the train. He responds to the alpha male of the village, "If you enter my house one of us will die."
Slowly Singh and Khan, the two leads, work through their flashbacks, Khan, who sleeps separately from him falls in love with him.
Singh, in the meantime, goes to the city to speak to his Lieutenant's (whose life he saved) sister Stilwell (Neve Campbell) who may be sweet on him or just like him, to seek her help in finding Khan's family. Stilwell starts working through the Indian civil service (which make the Canadian civil service look like Lance Armstrong on steroids) which is not only slow but has an attitude as well.
Singh and Khan in the meantime have a child, Vijay, who has grown a few years by the time word comes through that her family has been located in Lahore, Pakistan (I said they were slow). She decides to go, by herself, to visit them for one month.
She meets her family, two brothers and mother, her father was killed in the same conflict that she ran from. After a month with them she wants to go back home but brothers and mother won't let her go back to the people who, "killed her father." They lock her in her room.
Singh, meantime along with son, pines for Khan. Singh tries to go to Pakistan, but finds difficulty as a Sikh. He turns himself into a Moslem, cutting off his hair (a task most horrid for a Sikh), finally makes it to Pakistan.
Stilwell, now in the diplomatic service, is living in Lahore.
And this as much as I will reveal of the plot.
"Partition" has been compared by some as a Romeo and Juliet of the subcontinent. Seems appropriate.
Movie review - PARTITION