“When I see the mausoleum in Karachi going upward inch by inch to shelter the mortal remains of my brother.” – Fatima Jinnah wrote in My Brother – A Biography of Jinnah.
Fatima Jinnah – The 14-minute prologue dropped on the occasion of Pakistan’s 75th birthday. The web series, which is set to release in 2023 plans to shed light on the lady who transitioned from a sister to a revolutionist and then, a stateswoman.
It is heartening that Fatima Jinnah’s story will now be told onscreen. She waged a silent, yet impactful war for the freedom of Muslims, the creation of a separate homeland alongside her brother Mr. Jinnah and although hers was the voice of a woman in a day and age when politics was mostly a man’s domain, she managed to mobilize popular support after Mr. Jinnah’s death, so much so, that her very influential opponents feared her popularity amongst the masses.
It is hoped that the biopic will do justice to her role and we learn lessons from the life of a woman who personified determination, courage, and commitment in tough times, very tough times. When most would have retired into a life of quietude – she chose to serve her nation.
It is both exemplary and unfortunate that a woman with her resilience and caliber stood by her brother, Mohammad Ali Jinnah at all times in his struggle to gain a separate homeland for Muslims, and yet, she had to wage a lone war for many years after, once he passed away.
A Look Into The Prologue
The prologue depicts 3 seasons of Fatima Jinnah and each season depicts her role as she transitioned in life. Sundus Farhan plays the young Fatima Jinnah as she reads of the passing away of Mr. Jinnah’s wife Ruttie, and attempts to arrange a carer for her daughter Dina. The brief yet atmosphere-laden clip informs us that the year was 1929 when Fatima Jinnah decided to step away from her dental profession and contribute her time wholly towards supporting her brother in his challenges.
The second transition takes us to Lahore Junction Railway station where a train bound for Lahore has been attacked and Sajal Aly, playing Fatima Jinnah, is overcome by the sheer brutality of the massacre. She speaks with her eyes and the accompanying scenes, both macabre and tearing at the heart, as bodies lay, piled upon each other in complete ignorance of their fate, brought back conversations of the cruelty of partition – the conversations we’ve heard often and that still failed to address, as perhaps no conversation can, the human tragedy that befell an entire generation and many more to come.
As Sajal’s character holds on to a crying baby left alive in the massacred train, a wailing woman draws her attention as she lies amidst the dead bodies of her family. Such was the emotion in the frame that both Joseph’s (played by Omer Abdullah Khan) appalling shrieks and the woman’s relentless screaming came together to bring tears to one’s eyes. Despite not wanting, the heart wept silently for the wrongs of humanity – how senseless were these deaths, how painful is the creation of a nation, how much blood must be spilt before a people can be set free from persecution.
Dananeer made an appearance as Anita. It was poignant to note the presence of 3 separate faiths in one frame, Fatima Jinnah’s, Anita’s, and Joseph’s, as if the makers are sending out a silent message to its audience for all that Fatima Jinnah stood for in her lifetime.
The prologue transitions to Samiya Mumtaz – Fatima Jinnah as the stateswoman. Serene, sober, sedate, yet steadfast in her mission, with the trusted Joseph still by her side. Samiya has given her best expressions here as she walks steadily yet purposefully through a corridor to apparently address the nation.
The prologue has kept to near sepia-toned frames, suggesting a period feel. Fatima Jinnah’s wardrobe has been kept simple, as it always was, from the first season of her life to date.
The buildings and sets throwback to another era without hinting at over dramatization, just like the subject herself, who was not one to favour attention, in her demeanour or the clothes she wore.
It must be noted that the makers have inserted subtle details in the frame, for example, the presence of the lantern in Sajal Ajy’s frames points, intentionally or unintentionally to the election symbol employed by Fatima Jinnah – a lantern. Those who were there, remember.
Fatima Jinnah seems to be a labour of love. It is hoped that the project can shed light on a woman who spent her entire life dedicated to fulfilling a higher purpose in life – that of ensuring the wellbeing and rights of the people of Pakistan.
It is said that she met with substantial political opposition as well as misogynistic views in political and social life, many challenged her right to rule a state as a Muslim woman. However, her popularity amongst the masses and her 1965 election win over the electorates of Karachi and Dhaka clearly showed her popularity on the streets.
Would things have been different if she had the chance to rule the country? Fatima Jinnah was, undeniably, one of the greatest female figures in Pakistan, her service to the nation will always stand out as a stellar example of servitude to the country, and her role in the freedom movement is one we must acknowledge.
One never knows, but Fatima Jinnah – Sister, Revolutionist, Stateswoman can definitely give us some answers.
Watch The Prologue Here
The web series has been created and produced by Aur Digital and directed by Daniyal K Afzal .The ensemble cast includes Sajal Ali, Samiya Mumtaz, Dananeer Mobeen, Sundus Farhan, and Omer Abdullah Khan among others.
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