India’s Arif Zakaria to depict Jinnah as ‘flawed and complicated human’ in an upcoming drama based on Partition

India’s Arif Zakaria to depict Jinnah as ‘flawed and complicated human’ in an upcoming drama based on Partition

Freedom at Midnight, based on a 1975 book of the same name, details the partition of the Indian sub-continent.
13 May, 2024

In preparation to play Muhammed Ali Jinnah for the upcoming Partition drama Freedom at Midnight, India’s Arif Zakaria said he “realised how important it was to depict him [Jinnah] as a flawed and complicated human being rather than an untouchable hero”, Variety reported.

The show is based on a 1975 book of the same name, authored by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins. Nikkhil Advani, the director behind hit Bollywood movies Kal Ho Naa Ho and Salaam-e-Ishq, serves as the showrunner and director.

According to Variety, the political drama details India’s independence movement, combining “untold tales and critical moments from the era when the country’s then British colonial rulers partitioned the country into India and Pakistan in 1947”.

Zakaria (Darmiyaan and 1947: Earth) was recently recruited to play the Pakistani leader, while Ira Dubey (Scoop) has been cast as his sister Fatima Jinnah.

“My role in this series is unlike any other I have played in the past, bringing me a unique yet challenging opportunity as an actor. Fatima’s bond with her brother, Jinnah, and her influence on him is a lesser-known aspect. She played a significant role in his life, standing by him from the start until the end, and the series will shed light on this dynamic relationship,” Dubey said.

Advani, according to Variety, was drawn to Zakaria for the role due to his “striking physical presence — gaunt, towering, with piercing eyes and a commanding voice that exuded authenticity”.

“His baritone and clipped British accent embodied the essence of Jinnah. In a similar vein, I chose Ira Dubey for her ability to embody the grace and strength of Fatima. Both actors effortlessly brought these characters to life, capturing the essence of their personalities and historical significance. Working with Arif and Ira was a testament to their talent and dedication, solidifying my belief that they were the perfect choices for these roles,” the director said.

In an Instagram post, Advani stated, “Any historical retelling of the Partition of the sub-continent is incomplete without Muhammad Ali Jinnah”.

“Hardly anyone knows anything about Fatima Jinnah. Always in the shadow of her brother, Ira [Dubey] has worked so hard to bring out the layers of this complicated relationship,” he added.

The series is produced by Monisha Advani and Madhu Bhojwani for Emmay Entertainment in association with StudioNext and Sony LIV. It is written by Abhinandan Gupta, Adwitiya Kareng Das, Gundeep Kaur, Divya Nidhi Sharma, Revanta Sarabhai and Ethan Taylor.

It stars Sidhant Gupta as Jawaharlal Nehru, the first prime minister of independent India, Chirag Vohra as Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi, and Rajendra Chawla as Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, who was the first deputy prime minister and home minister of India.

The show will stream on SonyLiv in 2024, however, the exact release date has not been disclosed.


1000 Characters
Sharjeel Syed May 13, 2024 02:32pm
Yet effort by Modi centered media to depict Muslim leaders as villain.
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Taj Ahmad May 13, 2024 03:34pm
Great efforts have been made on this film, let’s wait and see the film when ready to released for public. No doubt all actors and actresses must did a great job. We Indian and Pakistanis are the same in cultural and social activities and foods and 100 plus languages.
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Taj Ahmad May 13, 2024 03:37pm
After August 14th 1947 I still have two homes India and Pakistan and I loved both of them.
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Javed Waheed Barki May 13, 2024 04:20pm
Must they make restive again (by making graphic again) all those dormant scars and wounds ⁉️
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Hawk May 13, 2024 04:53pm
Diving into past gives nothing yet find ways for coexistence , peace and prosperity.
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Jamil Soomro May 13, 2024 04:57pm
Jinnah was simply a shrewd well dressed Lawyer. Our real Hero was the great Sir Syed Ahmad Khan the founder of Aligarh Muslim University. The man who laid emphasis on education. But what an irony he is not given importance in our history.
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Tia Chupaki May 13, 2024 05:08pm
@Sharjeel Syed. Probably time to grow out of modi phobia. “The show is based on a 1975 book of the same name, authored by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins. “
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A. Bilal May 13, 2024 05:50pm
The book the movie is based on is flawed. It's based on interviews with Mountbatten, who exonerates himself from any responsibility for the carnage in 1947. The books paints Jinnah as a petty individual and lionizes Nehru and Patel. This is another attempt by the revisionist Indian movie industry to sow division.
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Abbas May 13, 2024 06:03pm
The idea of dividing sub-continent on the basis of faith is outcome of a flawed strategy by people with fears and complications.
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Abdul Rashid Abro May 13, 2024 06:43pm
Let us hope it is not bias as normally the Indian stories are whenever history is written or projected where Pakistan is involved.
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Mir Ali May 13, 2024 06:47pm
Looking forward to see this historic episode of the Asian subcontinent.
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usman May 13, 2024 09:01pm
why do these people make movies about us? there are dozens of nations within india as it exists now.... go ahead and make movies about yourself. the obsession with us is a bit disturbing..
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Kala Ram May 13, 2024 09:13pm
The book demonstrates a bias against Jinnah and Pakistan. Indian filmmakers can hardly be expected to portray them impartially. This portrayal will become another attempt by the fascist Indian regime to vilify Muslim League and its leaders, particularly Jinnah.
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Usman Bahadur May 13, 2024 09:23pm
If they make it well and based on facts , It will be worth a watch . Best Wishes .
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Cheema May 13, 2024 10:32pm
Literacy rate has gone up in India now we expect unbiased drama by the racism free effort,but such stories can't go unstained as long RSS influence is there....
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Sal_the_truth_seeker May 14, 2024 12:24am
Sure to rile up anti-Muslim/Pakistan sentiment before Indian elections. Perfectly in line with Modi’s mantra.
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Rohan May 14, 2024 01:44am
Why is Pakistan so concerned, perturbed and uneasy that it is so eager to give its take and review on the story and narrative of an upcoming film belonging to the Indian cinema? Don't Pakistanis have an entertainment industry of their own to focus on? It's as if Indians have an obligation to consult Pakistanis on how films should be made.
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AK May 14, 2024 02:36am
We all know which version of history makes it pass censor and goons in Modi's India. Entertainment maybe. History, highly unlikely.
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Siddhartha May 14, 2024 04:04am
I am from Bengal and my family was one of the suffering families who migrated to India after a horrific partition. We heard enough of partition stories and who was wrong or who was right. Now can we move forward to a better future for our children and live as good neighbors?
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Taste May 14, 2024 06:02am
Who cares about what India does or doesn't do in terms of their films. As a Pakistani l welcome the Indians making any film they want. I won;t be watching them anyway and my identity is only Pakistani.
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Correction May 14, 2024 07:49am
“Hardly anyone knows anything about Fatima Jinnah" Everyone in Pakistan knows about Fatima Jinnah
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Coffee Bean May 14, 2024 08:22am
@TajAhmad, then you better stay at your home at east. Don't bother to call western neighbor "your home".
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Sridhar Raghunatha Rao May 14, 2024 09:36am
I would like any efforts that will bring us back as ONE NATION.
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Shakeel Mahota May 14, 2024 09:53am
Will there be an end to India's habitual and incessant propaganda against Pakistan? On one side PM Modi never tires of saying that India has stopped thinking about Pakistan, but Bollywood and India's media appears to be permanently obsessed with Pakistan.
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A May 14, 2024 10:08am
Healing cannot occur unless you begin to look at the wound. Indians have had a tough time coming to terms with Partition. I hope this movie takes the graceful path by not pushing the reunification agenda. We are happy to be in Pakistan and do not wish to reunite with India. This movie should simply let them make sense of the Partition, more than rewriting history from a narrow point of view. But then, it's their view, their movie. Let's see what they come up with.
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jsav12 May 14, 2024 02:17pm
Looking at the plight of Indian Muslims today,one cannot help but wonder at those questioning partition.
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Farhat hafeez May 14, 2024 07:54pm
Instead of searching and discussing the late politicians of the two nations..kindly make visa process easy so the loving relatives can see each other ....people of the 2 nations have no enemity at all..Muslims and Hindus celebrate each others Tehwars Eid Dewali etc etc...
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Nasser Yousaf May 15, 2024 12:20pm
I am not an apologist for Mr. Jinnah, he might have made mistakes but Modi has proved him right in every respect. Had I been into film making, I would have made a movie to show how a physically and mentally deranged Modi has ruled over one of the most beautiful countries of the world. One feels really sorry for all the intellect that India claims to have in abundance
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Gurpreet Singh May 16, 2024 03:17am
Some folks need to chill. The series isn't about JInnah. Its about the partition of India and Jinnah is one of the characters who obviously played an important role in the partition. We are interested in our own history & heroes and unlike others we proudly own them. And BTW, Modi has nothing to do with this. So much Modiphobia isn't good for health.
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