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Nikkhil Advani: Book gave access to Mountbatten’s diaries

Updated on: 02 May,2024 10:00 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Letty Mariam Abraham |

Sharing exclusive picture of Sidhant as Nehru, Freedom at Midnight creator on how the series adapted from the eponymous book looks at India’s independence struggle through personal accounts

Nikkhil Advani: Book gave access to Mountbatten’s diaries

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Nikkhil Advani: Book gave access to Mountbatten’s diaries

There is something about history that draws Nikkhil Advani, something about real-life events that make for compelling storytelling. A case in point—Rocket Boys that focused on Homi Bhabha and Vikram Sarabhai. Now, the director-showrunner is gearing up to bring the most important chapter of Indian history to the screen with Freedom at Midnight. In June 2022, Advani had announced the historical drama that is based on Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins’ acclaimed book of the same name. Almost two years on, he has shared the series’ first look with mid-day, which sees actor Sidhant Gupta as Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru.

Nikkhil AdvaniNikkhil Advani

“This show is a profound tribute to the luminaries of our freedom movement—Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru, and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel,” says Advani. While Gupta will be seen on screen after his breakout role in Jubilee (2023), Chirag Vohra and Rajendra Chawla will slip into the roles of Gandhi and Patel respectively. The Sony LIV series took birth over a simple conversation between Danish Khan, the platform’s business head, and Advani. “Over the course of interacting on [shows], Danish sir and I have become not just collaborators, but also friends. He took one second after hearing the initial pitch of Rocket Boys to greenlight it. For Freedom, he came to me with a sparkle in his eye and asked, ‘How would you like to make your favourite book into a show?’”

The rest, as they say, is history. The team took the project on floors in late January this year. Besides being an ode to the heroes, Advani says Freedom at Midnight is also a means to take the audiences back to their roots, as they view India’s freedom struggle and the Partition through untold tales. “We know the major sacrifices and struggles that led to our independence. What Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins got was access to Lord Louis Mountbatten’s diaries and notes. So, in between all those milestones, we have some personal accounts that make that time come alive. We have tried to capture that.”

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