Viceroy’s House is one of those historical dramas that stirs your soul and tears at your heart. It is based on the actual events, preceding India gaining independence from Colonial Britain in 1947, and begins with the arrival of Lord Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) and his family, who have been tasked with overseeing the transition.
This was no easy task, given the political climate in India. Tensions were rising and revolts were breaking out, as Nehru (Tanveer Ghani), Gandhi (Neeraj Kabi) and Jinnah (Denzil Smith) all have different visions for the future of India. Mountbatten will go down in history for actually sitting down with them, listening to their proposals, and giving them the respect that they had thus far never experienced.
Lady Mountbatten also plays a vital role in integrating the Indian Culture into the Viceroy’s House, and listening to the diverse peoples of this divided land. Gillian Anderson plays the role brilliantly, and one is left feeling nothing but awe for this strong intelligent woman, who shows compassion and sensitivity for all.
With an impossibly short deadline looming, Mountbatten manages to come up with an acceptable solution, dividing the land into two states ie. Pakistan and India, with India being predominantly Hindu and Pakistan being predominantly Muslim.
However, this was easier said than done, as millions of displaced people, undertook the arduous journey of relocating to whichever state they chose to be a citizen of.
Mountbatten had been set up to fail, in this portrayal of events, and director, Gurinder Chadha lays the blame for the tumultuous transition firmly at Churchill’s feet. Whether or not this was actually the case, I guess we will never know, as various parties have vehemently denied this over the years.
Against the backdrop of the political events,a forbidden love affair plays out between Lord Mountbatten’s new Hindu dresser (Manish Dayal) and the beautiful and highly intelligent Muslim woman (Huma Qureshi) who is assigned to assist the Viceroy’s daughter.
This movie is both heartbreaking and heartwarming, and will have you laughing, crying and applauding.
A true masterpiece, not be missed!
The movie opens on 28 July, at cinemas countrywide, and is classified 10-12 PG P.