Jinnah (film)

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Jinnah movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJamil Dehlavi
Screenplay byAkbar S. Ahmed
Jamil Dehlavi
Produced byJamil Dehlavi
Narrated byShashi Kapoor
CinematographyNicholas D. Knowland
Edited byRobert M. Reitano
Paul Hodgson
Music byNigel Clarke
Michael Csányi-Wills
The Quaid Project Limited (UK)[1][2]
Distributed byDehlavi Films Productions
Release date
  • 7 November 1998 (1998-11-07) (UK)
Running time
110 minutes
United Kingdom
Budget$6 million[3]

Jinnah is a 1998 Pakistani–British epic biographical film which follows the life of the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. It was directed by Jamil Dehlavi, and written by Akbar S. Ahmed and Jamil Dehlavi. It stars Christopher Lee in the lead role as Jinnah.[4]

To make this film, Shashi Kapoor wanted to invest $1 million.[5] Shashi Kapoor was the victim of controversy from India and Pakistan for acting in the film.[6] It was showed in Mill Valley Film Festival on 15 October, 1999.[7] The director of the film accused Akbar Ahmed of embezzling money from the film. Former Channel 4 executive Farrukh Dhondy also helped write the screenplay for the film for £12,000.[8]


The film opens with the words of Professor Stanley Wolpert:

Few individuals significantly alter the course of history.
Fewer still modify the map of the world.
Hardly anyone can be credited with creating a nation-state.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah did all three.

The guide takes Jinnah to 1947 where, at the Cromwell Conference with Lord Mountbatten, Jinnah demanded a homeland for Indian Muslims. After World War II, the British Imperial Government intends to withdraw and grant independence to the subcontinent. This would mean a Hindu-dominated state. Religious tensions between Hindus and Muslims were increasing after the Second World War. Flashbacks resume when the Guide recounts the marital life of Jinnah, when he fell in love and married a Parsi named Rattanbai Petit, later known against the will of her parents, mainly on grounds of religion and the difference in their ages. In 1922, Jinnah faces political isolation as he devoted every spare moment to be the voice of moderation in a nation torn by Hindu-Muslim antipathy. That created tension between Rattanbai and Jinnah. She finally leaves him with their daughter in September 1922, and they eventually separate in 1927. Rattanbai died of cancer on 18 February 1929. The death of Rattanbai had a huge impact on Jinnah's life and his fight for Pakistan. He went back to British India in order to start a political journey of the two-nation theory. In 1940, the Muslim League annual conference is held from 22 to 24 March. Jinnah addresses thousands of Muslims and gives them the assurance of the birth of Pakistan.

The Guide questions Jinnah as to who he loves the most apart from Ruttie and Fatima. He then mentioned his daughter, who married a Parsi boy without his permission.

While he was addressing a Muslim League conference in 1947, Muslims fanatics attacked the conference and argued that if Pakistan is to be a Muslim state, it cannot give equal rights to women and non-Muslims. Jinnah replies that Islam doesn't need fanatics but people with vision who can build the country. However, the partition of India was carried out, and the Guide and Jinnah saw the massacre of Muslims in migration done by Hindus and Sikhs. Jinnah is sworn in as the first Governor-General of Pakistan and announces Liaquat Ali Khan as the first Prime Minister of Pakistan. Jinnah then says goodbye to his daughter. Dina promises that she will visit him but she tell that her home is now in Bombay with her husband and child.

After independence and the end of British rule, Pakistan stands as a new nation and sanctuary for the Muslims of the subcontinent. Jinnah is given the title of Quaid-e-Azam of Pakistan. Jinnah waits for the first train carrying Muslims who left India for Pakistan, but when the train arrives, they are all found dead save for one infant child. Fatimah and Lady Edwina Mountbatten visit refugees and Lady Mountbatten learns the importance of independence. Mountbatten betrays Jinnah as the Hindu Maharaja of Kashmir, Sir Hari Singh, stalls his decision on which nation to join. With the population in revolt in October 1947, aided by Pakistani irregulars, the Maharaja accedes to India; Indian troops are airlifted in. Jinnah objects to that and orders that Pakistani troops move into Kashmir, which leads to a war between India and Pakistan then and afterward from time to time in the Kashmir conflict.

The film jumps into a final fictional scene of Lord Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma (last Viceroy of India) in a Heavenly Court. Jinnah is fighting a case against him over his betrayal. The film ends with Jinnah and his angel judge traveling back in time to the scene of Muslim refugees. Jinnah expresses his sorrow over the plight of the refugees during the division of Punjab. They chant "Pakistan Zindabad" in response, which ends the film.



Soundtrack album by
Track listing
1."Azadi"Salman Ahmad (composition), Sabir ZafarAli Azmat, Samina Ahmed 

Critical reception[edit]

It received an overwhelmingly positive response in Pakistan. Christopher Lee spoke highly of the film, calling his performance in it the best of his career as well as stressing the importance of the film.[13][14]

The most important film I made, in terms of its subject and the great responsibility I had as an actor was a film I did about the founder of Pakistan, called Jinnah. It had the best reviews I've ever had in my entire career—as a film and as a performance. But ultimately it was never shown at the cinemas.

However, the casting of Christopher Lee in lead role led to a large amount of media controversy in Pakistan because of his previous roles in horror films and vampire films as Count Dracula, with Lee having received death threats which required personal bodyguards during filming. BBC News reported that the threats were due to his previous film roles and not that he was a European playing an Asian.[9] Some critic even demanded ban on the film.[15]

International awards[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Akbar S Ahmed (10 November 2015). "Leghari and the making of 'Jinnah'". The Express Tribune (newspaper). Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  2. ^ Farhana Mohamed. "'Jinnah': A Celluloid Salute to the Giant". Pakistan Link (U.S. newspaper). Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  3. ^ Dehlavi, Jamil (7 November 1998), Jinnah (Biography, Drama, War), Christopher Lee, Shireen Shah, James Curran, Zafar Hameed, Dehlavi Films, Petra Film, The Quaid Project, retrieved 8 September 2020
  4. ^ Thomas, Kevin (15 December 1998). "Movie Review; Bringing Little-Known Pakistani Leader Jinnah to Life: [Home Edition". Los Angeles Times. ProQuest 421351306
  5. ^ "Shashi Kapoor Offers $1 M For Jinnah Film". News India Times. 2 May 1997.ProQuest 367775602
  6. ^ Malcolm, Derek (10 November 1998). "Film reviews:Jinnah: Dir: Jamil Dehlavi". The Guardian, UK. ProQuest 245316352
  7. ^ Springer, Richard (1 October 1999). "Mill Valley Film Festival Shows 'Jinnah,' 'Hanuman'". India - West; San Leandro, Calif. ProQuest 365261098
  8. ^ Roy, Amit (7 June 2000). "London cool to Pak envoy sack". The Telegraph.
  9. ^ a b "World: South Asia Troubled Jinnah movie opens". BBC NEWS. 26 September 1998. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  10. ^ a b c d e Jinnah (film) on Complete Index To World Film (CITWF) website Retrieved 24 October 2020
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Jinnah screeninig at IAC on March 4 Dawn (newspaper), Published 26 February 2019, Retrieved 24 October 2020
  12. ^ Indian artistes who contributed to Pakistani Film Industry Cineplot.com website, Published 25 May 2011, Retrieved 24 October 2020
  13. ^ Lindrea, Victoria (11 October 2004). "Christopher Lee on the making of legends". BBC. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  14. ^ Christopher Lee talks about his favorite role - video on YouTube Published 27 June 2007, Retrieved 24 October 2020
  15. ^ Hussain, Zahid (9 October 1998). "Critics demand ban on `demeaning' film about country's founder". South China Morning Post. ProQuest 265549903
  16. ^ a b c "Jamil Dehlavi's 'Jinnah' to be screened in Lahore". The Express Tribune (newspaper). 6 March 2019. Retrieved 24 October 2020.
  17. ^ Worldfest - List of Winners: All Previous Years, Worldfest.

External links[edit]

Film reviews[edit]