This TV miniseries ("Darkness" in English) became famous in India in the mid/late 80s for its realistic depiction of the partition of the Indian subcontinent. In 1947, the sub continent ... See full summary »
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This TV miniseries ("Darkness" in English) became famous in India in the mid/late 80s for its realistic depiction of the partition of the Indian subcontinent. In 1947, the sub continent became India, East (now Bangladesh) and West Pakistan (today's Pakistan). The series pretended to keep memories and truths about the partition alive, at a time when many Indians and Pakistanis seemed to be forgetting this historical tragedy. The miniseries became a landmark 297 minute, 35mm film, now shown mostly at Indian Film Festivals. The film is based on the book by Brisham Sahni, himself a refugee to India from West Punjab, now in Pakistan. Thus fittingly, this epic looks at Partition from an Indian Punjabi perspective, as the fate of Sikh and Hindu families in West Punjab is emphasized. The first part also underscores the Muslim viewpoint: the provocations they suffered from Sikhs and especially Hindus, and their ultimate supremacy in the West Punjab, which became the heart of Pakistan. The "... Written by ElianaM

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26 June 2005 (Hungary)  »

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Darkness  »

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Featured in And the Show Goes on: Indian Chapter (1996) See more »

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Outstanding! Stories that bring humanity to the "Partition" of India
13 March 2006 | by (Coral Gables, Fl) – See all my reviews

This 1986 miniseries is now being shown as a very long (a few minutes shy of five hours) feature on 35mm film at Indian Film Festivals. It is now making the rounds in South America, and may be viewed with English or Spanish subtitles.

The nonstop five hour marathon is well worth the discomfort and inconvenience of sitting so long. The stories of the suffering refugees as a result of the 1947 Partition humanize this great human tragedy. The film is adapted from a book by a Punjabi who opted for India, and was displaced from West Punjab (now in Pakistan) to the east (today's India). It is therefore told from an "Indian" perspective, in spite of all the concessions made to the "Muslim" (Pakistani) side in the first half of the film.

The inviability of one soul Indian state with a Hindu majority is persuasively defended. However, the migration of Sikhs and other non-Muslim characters make it clear that India alone was to become a true plural society. The film, like the book, only addresses the division of the Punjab. But the Punjabi partition was, along with the Bengali partition, the most tumultuous.

This film features an early major performance by Om Puri, one of the sub continent's greatest actors of the last 30 years. His character and his wife make up the Punjabi Hindu family most featured in the film. The other major family highlighted is an elderly Sikh couple.

There are bad, but mostly good Pakistani Muslim characters who interact with the Hindus and Sikhs. The film (and book) go to great lengths to balance the suffering, guilt, and barbarity amongst all the religious groups. But, it has a definite pro-Indian slant.

This is probably not a bad thing, but rather a reality. Sixty years of history now have proved India to be, and to continue striving to be, the plural society it envisioned. Pakistan, on the other hand, has been unstable since its inception, having lost East Pakistan (now pro-India Bangladesh). No end is in sight for its eternal problems: political instability, religious intolerance and fanaticism, corruption, and under development.

This epic film is a must for anyone wanting to further understand and explore the sub-continent, and the complicated history and diverse peoples who inhabit it. It is in my opinion THE modern Indian epic, the DEFINITIVE "PARTITION" film. It is not to be missed.


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