Partition refers to the British empire's partitioning of India into India and Pakistan [and subsequently the forming of the nation of Bangladesh, out of part of Pakistan]. It has been the subject of numerous books and movies, and is truly a tragic period in history.
The movie here centers around Gian [Jimi Mistry], a Sikh who served in WWII, and who is haunted by memories of his friend Walter, who was a war casualty. Gian returns to India to find a nation torn apart by hostilities between Muslims, Hindus, and Sikhs, and teetering on civil war [which eventually led to partition]. He returns to his little village in Punjab where his old battle comrade, Avtar [Irfan Khan, who played the role of the father in Namesake] leads a group of Sikh villagers to massacre Muslims on their way to migrating to Pakistan. Avtar justifies it as part of the 'war effort', but Gian wants no part in it.
Things get more complicated when a Muslim girl, Naseem [played by Kristin Kreuk] escapes the massacre and is eventually found and sheltered by Gian, earning him the ire of the villagers. Gian and Naseem predictably end up being romantically entangled, but things are not all rosy for the pair. The rest of the story deals with the aftermath of Gian and Naseem's relationship amidst the turmoil of Partition.
Though a lot of the plot seems a bit contrived and predictable, the main actors, esp Mistry's Gian and Kreuk's Naseem, do a credible job of fleshing out the characters. I was initially perturbed by the choice of Kreuk as a Muslim-Pakistani woman, but she pulls it off with aplomb, in fact is quite credible in her portrayal! She conveys scenes of raw emotion with great skill, as does Mistry.
There are good supporting roles, esp the role of Avtar and also Neve Campbell as Margaret, a British citizen who aids Gian and Naseem.
The movie is beautifully shot - the cinematography is breathtaking, esp of the Indian countryside, the period feel of the movie is well-portrayed by the sets, and the score is beguiling.
Partition reminds me of a Hindi movie, Gadar, starring Sunny Deol as a Sikh who rescues a Muslim woman, played by Amisha Patel. The two movies have interesting parallels, but Partition benefits non-Hindi speaking audiences in that it is shot primarily in English, with a few smatterings of local dialect.
On the whole, Partition is a well-made movie on a controversial and painful subject and though it is primarily a romance, the conflicts aroused by Partition are well-conveyed. Highly recommended!