The experiences of Partition are beyond horror

Naseeruddin Shah and Rasika Dugal on their short film The Miniaturist of Junagadh, about a family’s reluctant departure in 1947

author_img Shilajit Mitra Published :  01st June 2022 01:48 PM   |   Published :   |  01st June 2022 01:48 PM
Naseeruddin Shah. (File Photo)

Naseeruddin Shah. (File Photo)

Busy as he is, at 71, Naseeruddin Shah has always made time for short films. Of late, in fact, you can see him in two of them: as a gentle, Cantonese-speaking Sardar in Mumbai Dragon, Vishal Bhardwaj’s segment in Modern Love Mumbai, and as Husyn, an old, visually-impaired artist in The Miniaturist of Junagadh.

Released by Large Short Films on YouTube, the latter is especially moving. Director Kaushal Oza adapts a German short story (The Invisible Collection, by Stefan Zweig) to the setting of 1947, India. Husyn, in the aftermath of Partition, has to sell off his ancestral home and migrate, unwillingly, to Karachi. The new owner of the house, a brusque and impatient man named Kishorilal, tries to rush them out. However, upon realising Husyn might have expensive artworks in his possession, he plays a last scheme. “I thought it’s a wonderful adaptation,” Naseer says. “Though the story was likely written before, it has an eerie parallel with the German occupation of France and Italy when they tried to steal all the great artworks.” 

Busy as he is, at 71, Naseeruddin Shah has always made time for short films. Of late, in fact, you can see him in two of them: as a gentle, Cantonese-speaking Sardar in Mumbai Dragon, Vishal Bhardwaj’s segment in Modern Love Mumbai, and as Husyn, an old, visually-impaired artist in The Miniaturist of Junagadh.

Released by Large Short Films on YouTube, the latter is especially moving. Director Kaushal Oza adapts a German short story (The Invisible Collection, by Stefan Zweig) to the setting of 1947, India. Husyn, in the aftermath of Partition, has to sell off his ancestral home and migrate, unwillingly, to Karachi. The new owner of the house, a brusque and impatient man named Kishorilal, tries to rush them out. However, upon realising Husyn might have expensive artworks in his possession, he plays a last scheme. “I thought it’s a wonderful adaptation,” Naseer says. “Though the story was likely written before, it has an eerie parallel with the German occupation of France and Italy when they tried to steal all the great artworks.” 

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