The score of Jinnah: The True Story consists entirely of Western classical music and two British anthems – masterpieces that were already popular in the days of Jinnah. This choice has been made primarily to recreate the period the film is depicting. Another reason is that these masterpieces have directly or indirectly influenced the subsequent evolution of music and ideas in the country founded by Jinnah himself (a point to be elaborated soon in a separate post on the blog associated with this website).
All the soundtracks used in the film belong to public domain, and all except two have been taken from YouTube Audio Library. The two exceptions are “God Save the Queen” and “Rule Britannia”, both from Wikimedia Commons. This decision was made in order to save the costs but even if the film had a bigger budget, the choice of the musical pieces would have remained the same. Only, in that case, we might have considered acquiring rights for some of the more recent renditions of these pieces.
Each soundtrack in the film has been used to depict a distinct theme or aspect of the story. The following is a complete list of soundtracks and the themes represented by them.
The Blue Danube
In 1866, Austria suffered a defeat in war. Its outstanding composer, Johann Strauss Jr. (1825-1899), decided to lift the country’s spirits and thus was born “The Blue Danube”, which premiered the next year and soon became the most popular waltz of all times. It is often regarded as the second national anthem of Austria, and has the reputation of being played almost constantly in the Austrian capital city, Vienna.
In Jinnah: The True Story, it is the theme music. Hence, it is used in association with the personal growth of Jinnah, his idealism and the spirit of his message. While segments from it get repeated on several occasions, it is also played in its entirety in the middle and at the end of the film.
Eine Kliene Nachtmusik
The title of this masterpiece from Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756-1791) can be translated into English as “a little serenade.” Reportedly composed in 1787, it remained unpublished until about 1827 (almost thirty-six years after the composer’s death), but since then it has become arguably the most popular of all the work of Mozart.
In Jinnah: The True Story, it is used in association with the more intimate side of Jinnah, and also highlights moments of personal happiness in an otherwise strenuous span of life.
Literally, “For Elise”, this composition by Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827), was not discovered until forty years after the composer’s death but has become one of his most well-known work since then. In some major cities of Pakistan, it has now become commonly associated with the street vendors, who often play it for drawing attention.
In Jinnah: The True Story, this piece is used for highlighting periods of study, preparation, contemplation or retirement in the life of Jinnah. Since it is first introduced when Jinnah gets enrolled with the Lincoln’s Inn, it is later also played in the background of the convocation address he delivers at the university of Dacca (now Dhaka) in the last year of his life.
Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, or at least its beginning in any case, is possibly the most well-recognized music in the world. First performed in 1808, it became popularly known as “The Fate Symphony”, and the famous opening note was referred to as “the Fate motif” because one of the most common interpretations of this symphony has been that it depicts the interaction of human being with their destiny, and “infinite yearning”.
Not surprisingly, then, the first movement of this symphony is used in Jinnah: The True Story to represent Dr Sir Muhammad Iqbal and his vision of Pakistan (which he described as “the final destiny”). It is also used for emphasizing some of the most dramatic turning points in the evolution of that vision – of course, through the protagonist of the movie, Jinnah himself. Since the BBC radio broadcasts during the Second World War used to start with the opening motif of this symphony, it is also used to mark the beginning of that world war in the film.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
“The Wedding March” was composed by Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) to be played between the fourth and the fifth acts of Shakespeare’s play, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. It became a popular piece to be played at weddings in the Western countries after a daughter of Queen Victoria chose it to be played at her wedding in 1858.
In Jinnah: The True Story, this piece is first introduced in connection with the young Jinnah’s interest in Shakespeare, and is subsequently used to highlight and emphasize almost every good news coming from Great Britain towards India. This includes, of course, the happiest of all such announcements in February 1947 that India would be free in a very short time. In this manner, this piece in the film brings out the nobler aspects of the relationship between Britain and India. These aspects have long been forgotten although they were ever present in the mind of Jinnah, and were central to the evolution of the Commonwealth.
In the Hall of the Mountain King
Peer Gynt by the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen was published in 1867 and first performed in 1876. The composer Edvard Grieg (1843-1907) produced original score for this performance. The musical score reflected the themes of the play, which involved much darkness and have often been interpreted as egotism, narrowness and illusions of self-sufficiency. These negative traits are fully reflected by one of the most famous pieces of Grieg’s score, “In the Hall of the Mountain King”, which accompanies a nightmarish fantasy in the play. Words sung with this piece (but omitted in the more popular instrumental rendition) include such lines as, “Slay him! Slay him! Slay him! May I hack him on the fingers? Shall he be boiled into broth and bree to me?”
Therefore, in Jinnah: The True Story, this piece has been deemed suitable to be used in association with the antagonists, such as Gandhi, the Nehrus, Hindu Mahasabha, and the latter-day Indian National Congress after it had been hijacked by Gandhi and converted into a mock-fascist organization.
Ride of the Valkyries
The Valkyrie is a famous opera by the composer Richard Wagner (1813-1883), which was first performed in 1876. “Ride of the Valkyries” is a part of the music from that opera, which has become extremely well-known as a stand-alone piece as well. It has also been used in movies, most notably in the epic war film about Vietnam, Apocalypse Now (1979), where it is played during a major assault.
In Jinnah: The True Story, this piece is used in association with major conflicts such as the First World War and the communal riots that happened in India in 1946 and 1947.
The French opera Carmen was first performed in 1875, shortly before the death of its composer Georges Bizet (1838-1875), who could not have known how popular this work would become. Two of its songs have become possibly the best known pieces from any opera, especially “Les Toreadors”, which has become universally associated with festivity and victory. It has therefore been used to accentuate moments of triumph or anticipation in Jinnah: The True Story.
“Habanera” is the second most famous piece from Bizet’s opera Carmen, and in turn an adaptation of “El Arreglito” by the Spanish composer Sebastián Iradier (1809-1865). In the opera, it serves as the introduction to a tragic and ambivalent gypsy character, who brings joy as well as misfortune for her lover. In Jinnah: The True Story, this piece is used in association with some of the political processes in British India.
Hungarian Rhapsody No.2
The “Hungarian Rhapsody No.2” is a piece of nationalistic orchestral music by the Hungarian-born composer Franz Liszt (1811-1886), composed in 1847, and published and popularized some time later. In Jinnah: The True Story, it has been used on various occasions, usually emphasizing the humanitarian strands in the narrative.
“Rule, Britannia!” is perhaps the most popular patriotic song in Britain, second only to “God Save the Queen”. It originates from a poem by the Scottish poet James Thompson and was set to tune by the composer Thomas Arne (1710-1778) in 1740. In the late 18th Century, when patriotism for the Indians meant loyalty to the British Empire, many Indians must have associated themselves with the sentiments expressed in this song, especially if those sentiments are interpreted in a broader universal sense.
Being such an integral part of the historical experience of the British Raj, it has also been included in Jinnah: The True Story, although played just once (the version used in the film is taken from Wikimedia Commons, and hence might be slightly different from the one embedded above).
God Save the Queen
“God Save the Queen” is the national anthem of Great Britain (although by tradition rather than any explicit announcement). Up to the First World War, when Indian patriotism meant loyalty to the British Empire, it was also played and sung by many Indians as their national anthem. For instance, it was usually sung at the opening of the annual sessions of the Indian National Congress in those days.
For this reason, it has also been included in Jinnah: The True Story, although played just once as an introduction to London for the young Jinnah in 1893 (the version used in the film is taken from Wikimedia Commons, and hence might be slightly different from the one embedded above).
There is also a YouTube playlist consisting of all the soundtracks described above: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLI-pUZCqEw1-W7ZKs2_9ad36bQuFn00st. Enjoy!