Jinnah (film)

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Jinnah movie poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Jamil Dehlavi
Produced by Jamil Dehlavi
Screenplay by Akbar S. Ahmed
Jamil Dehlavi
Narrated by Shashi Kapoor
Music by Nigel Clarke
Michael Csányi-Wills
Cinematography Nicholas D. Knowland
Edited by Robert M. Reitano
Paul Hodgson
Distributed by Dehlavi Films Productions
Release dates
  • 7 November 1998 (1998-11-07) (UK)
Running time
150 minutes
Country Pakistan
United Kingdom
Language English
Budget $6 million (estimated)

Jinnah is a 1998 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. The film was released in 1998 in the United Kingdom and Pakistan.


The film opens with the words of Professor Stanley Wolpert:

The film begins with the final events surrounding the death of Jinnah. On 11 September 1948, ailing Jinnah's plane landed at Karachi Airport from Quetta where he was retreating at higher altitude in Ziarat. Further deteriorating health of Jinnah urged doctors to shift him Karachi, on his way to Governor House Jinnah's ambulance runs out of engine failure, where fate left the Quaid of Pakistan doomed.

The film then cuts to a heavenly place where Jinnah is awaiting the final judgment on his deeds. While it is found that the celestial bureaucrats in charge have misplaced Jinnah's file of life and the whole heavenly computer network is down. With nothing but time on his hands, Jinnah has to answers the questions of his life ask by heaven guide or Narrator (Shashi Kapoor) in order to decided where Jinnah should be sent to Hell or Heaven.

The guide takes Jinnah to 1947 where, at the Simla conference with Lord Mountbatten, Jinnah demanded the separate homeland for Indian Muslims. It was hoped, by encouraging the Muslims to live in a separate country, violence will abate. Fatima Jinnah started to campaign for Muslims and was arrested by an Indian police officer for being in a favor of Muslims. It is then shown that Muslims are attacked and killed by Sikhs and Hindus during the prayer, which is observed by Jinnah and the guide them.

After World War II, British India finally grants Indian Independence. Religious tensions between Hindus and Muslims erupt into nation-wide violence and leads to the idea of the Partition of India. In a meeting with Mountbatten, Gandhi proposes Idea of making Jinnah the first prime minister of India in order to avoid partition but Jawaharlal Nehru opposes the idea. Jinnah refuses the offer and says, "Why do you want to force reluctant partners into a marriage?"

Guide then questions Jinnah as to why he rejects the offers, Jinnah reveals that he is suffering from bronchitis and is in the last stage. He asked the doctor to keep it secret due to the country's precarious situation.

Flashbacks resume when Guide recounts the marital life of Jinnah, when he fell in love and married a Parsi named Rattanbai Petit, later known as Maryam Jinnah, against the will of her parents on grounds of religion. 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. This created tension between Rattan and Jinnah, which made her alcoholic, She finally left him with their daughter in September 1922, and they eventually separate in 1927. Ratti died of cancer on February 18, 1929. The death of Ratti had a huge impact on Jinnah's life. Allama Iqbal wrote to Jinnah to run to Muslim League and fight for Pakistan. Initially, Jinnah refuses but accepts after the betrayal of the Indian National Congress. He went to India in order to start political journey of Two nation theory. In 1940, the Muslim League annual conference is held from 22–24 March. Jinnah addresses thousands of Muslims and gave them the assurance of the birth of Pakistan.

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

While addressing a Muslim league in 1947, rebel Indian Muslims who were not in the favor of separation attack the conference. However, the separation was carried out and Guide and Jinnah saw the massacre in migration done by Indian and Sikhs. Jinnah is sworn as the first Governor-General of Pakistan and announces Liaqat Ali Khan as the first Prime Minister of Pakistan.

After independence and the end of British rule, Pakistan stands as a new nation for Islam and 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. Fatimah and Lady Iris Mountbatten visit refugees and Iris learns the importance of Independence. Mountbatten betrays Jinnah as the Hindu Maharaja, 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 acceded to India; Indian troops were airlifted in. Jinnah objected to this action, and ordered that Pakistani troops move into Kashmir. This led to a war between India and Pakistan then and afterward from time to time on Kashmir conflict.

The film jumps into a final fictional scene of Mountbatten in a Heavenly Court. Jinnah is fighting case against him over his betrayal.



Despite the early criticism of the movie, it received an overwhelmingly positive response in Pakistan. Christopher Lee has spoken highly of the film, calling his performance in it by far the best of his career as well as stressing the importance of the film.[1][2]


Jinnah received the Silver Remi Award at the WorldFest-Houston International Film Festival in 1999.[3]



  1. Lindrea , Victoria (11 October 2004). "Christopher Lee on the making of legends". BBC. Retrieved November 5, 2011. 
  2. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CE_1ofnBFos
  3. "Past Remi Winners". WorldFest. Retrieved November 5, 2011. 

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