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aka Darkness 1987 297’ col Hindi d/sc/co-c Govind Nihalani pc Blaze Ents st Bhishm Sahni’s novel co-c V. K. Murthy m Vanraj Bhatia lp Om Puri, Deepa Sahi, Dina Pathak, Bhishm Sahni, Amrish Puri, Uttara Baokar, Surekha Sikri, Saeed Jaffrey, Ila Arun, K.K. Raina

Nihalani’s controversial five-hour TV series deals with the Partition of India and led to major communal confrontations when the Hindu BJP organisations threatened to set TV stations afire and caused rioting in Hyderabad and Bombay. Based on one of Hindi author Bhishm Sahni’s best-known recent novels, the epic tale is seen mainly through the eyes of a tanner named Nathu (Om Puri) and his pregnant wife Karmo (Sahi). An effort to cause a communal conflict (one of the commonest strategies is to place a dead pig in a mosque) escalates into the pre-1947 conflagration throughout Punjab. The film effectively lumps together the activities of all the various political groups involved, including the British colonial powers and Hindu as well as Muslim communal fronts, which it contrasts with individual expressions of human concern that serve sometimes to dilute a notoriously complex historical episode into no more than a conflict between common good and politically motivated bad.