‘Freedom At Midnight’: Cordelia Bugeja, Richard Teverson, Luke McGibney & More British Cast Join SonyLIV’s Indian Independence Drama Series

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EXCLUSIVE: SonyLIV’s ambitious Indian independence drama Freedom at Midnight has added British cast.

Cordelia Bugeja (EastEnders, Family Affairs), Richard Teverson (The Crown, Downton Abbey), Luke McGibney (Mystery Island, Containment), Andrew Cullum (The Crown, The Black Prince) and Alistair Findlay (Highlander, Lady Chatterley’s Lover) have joined the series, which charts India’s struggle for independence and subsequent partition.

McGibney and Bugeja will play the last Viceroy and Vicereine of India, Lord Louis Mountbatten and Lady Edwina Mountbatten, respectively. Finlay is Archibald Wavell, the Commander-in-Chief and Viceroy of India preceding Mountbatten. Cullum brings to life Clement Attlee, the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1945 to 1951, while Teverson portrays Cyril Radcliffe, the chairman of the Boundary Commission for the Partition of India.

They join Sidhant Gupta (Jubilee), who stars as Jawaharlal Nehru, the first Prime Minister of independent India, Chirag Vohra (Scam 1992: The Harshad Mehta Story) as Mahatma Gandhi and Rajendra Chawla (Looop Lapeta) as Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the first deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister of India.

Adapted from a book by Dominique Lapierre and Larry Collins, Freedom at Midnight is one of streamer SonyLIV’s big bets of 2024, promising “an immersive dive into one of India’s most pivotal eras” — as Indian people began pushing for Indian struggle for independence from the British Empire and the subsequent partitioning of the country into India and Pakistan. The series will charts the history from early calls for self-rule to the moment of independence in 1947, and delve into the motivations, conflicts and sacrifices of key figures like Gandhi, Nehru and Patel.

Monisha Advani and Madhu Bhojwani’s Emmay Entertainment is producing in association with StudioNext and Sony LIV. Nikkhil Advani serves as showrunner and director. Abhinandan Gupta, Adwitiya Kareng Das, Gundeep Kaur, Divya Nidhi Sharma, Revanta Sarabhai and Ethan Taylor have written the scripts.

Danish Khan, Business Head of Sony LIV and StudioNext, said: “We at Sony LIV are delighted to present Freedom at Midnight based on the literary masterpiece of the same name. This series will tell the electrifying story of Indian Independence history with depth and authenticity. Under the leadership of Nikkhil Advani and his remarkably skilled team, the transition from page to screen will be nothing short of extraordinary.

“We at Sony LIV, StudioNext and Emmay believe this story has huge relevance and will offer great understanding and insights to our audiences across the world about ‘what, why and how’ of the events that led to partition and finally Indian independence.

Like Emma’s previous series set during the early days of Indian independence, the series aims to capture pivotal developments in the country’s history. However, that show did not have international cast, something Advani said was “one of the biggest regrets that we had.”

“Covid and lockdown prevented us from doing that,” he added. “When we started the casting of Freedom at Midnight both Sony LIV and us were determined to correct that. Lord Louis Mountbatten, his wife Lady Edwina Mountbatten play integral roles that determined the outcome of the partition of the sub-continent.

“Then of course there is Atlee, Wavel and Radcliffe: Men that changed the course of modern day India. We were determined to use iconic footage and pictures of some seminal moments. And so, we had to get the actors who not only physically resembled these historical figures but those who would challenge the super Indian actors we had cast”.

McGibney said: “As Mountbatten, I step into the shoes of a pivotal figure in India’s history. Mountbatten’s role during the transfer of power and partition was both profound and controversial. It’s a fascinating challenge to tap into the complexities of a character who wielded immense influence during a critical period. From his tenure as the last Viceroy of India to the tumultuous aftermath of partition, Freedom at Midnight allows us to explore his relationships and decisions that altered the course of nations.”

The news of the casting comes soon after Deadline revealed Tom Felton, James Murray and a host of British actors had joined Gandhi, another big-ticket Indian drama series aimed at recalling crucial 20th Century Indian history.

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