With the release of six episodes of “Ms. Marvel”, Director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy appeared in an exclusive interview to talk about the making of episode four, “Seeing Red” and her thought process behind it.
Obaid-Chinoy said she wanted to use “Ms. Marvel” to tell the story of partition in a “personal way.” Hearing and archiving personal stories of partition is something that has been very close to Obaid-Chinoy, who also started an oral history project 15 years ago, collecting stories from people who lived through it to contribute to the dialogue on national identity.
“Partition and the 1947 story is so ingrained in all of our lives. It’s this big historical moment that we read about in our textbooks, but we’ve never seen it picturized in the manner that we are doing it in ‘Ms. Marvel'”, said Chinoy. Most Pakistanis and Indians have only read about the Indo-Pak partition in textbooks, that mostly cover the historical incident from a very objective and indifferent lens.
Talking about a scene in episode five, which shows how Kamala visiting the time period, Obaid-Chinoy shares how she wanted to capture the emotional weight of the moment where friends, families, and loved ones are separating for the final time due to partition. “She is walking on the platform…[viewers] can feel the anguish that people were feeling, the uncertainty they were feeling, and what the mood was,” she says.
Obaid-Chinoy also talks about the impact of the anguish partition brought about on the way it led to a rapture in the understanding people had of their homes, their communities and their self hood. “Their identities are fractured because a part of them grew up in another country that they no longer have a connection to. And Kamala’s generation does not have that same connection because they don’t see that world,” she explains.
The two- time Academy Award winning Director said that the heads at Marvel were totally on the same page with exploring this massive historical trauma through Kamala’s story. ” “They were very supportive of telling the story in the manner that it deserves to be told,” she says.