Viceroy’s House, the Gurinder
Chadha film tells the true story of the final months of
British rule in India.
Viceroy’s House in Delhi was the home of the British rulers
of India. After 300 years, that rule was coming to an end. For 6 months in
1947, Lord Mountbatten (played by Hugh Bonneville), great grandson of Queen
Victoria, assumed the post of the last Viceroy, charged with handing India back
to its people.
The film’s story unfolds within that great House.
Upstairs lived Mountbatten together with his wife (Gillian Anderson) and daughter
(Lily Travers); downstairs lived their 500 Hindu, Muslim and Sikh servants. As
the political elite - Nehru, Jinnah and Gandhi - converged on the House to
wrangle over the birth of independent India, conflict erupted. A decision was
taken to divide the country and create a new Muslim homeland: Pakistan. It was
a decision whose consequences reverberate to this day.
The film is deeply personal to the director
Gurinder Chadha, whose own family was caught up in the tragic events that
unfolded as British rule came to an end. Her film examines those events through
the prism of a marriage - that of Dickie and Edwina Mountbatten - and a romance
- that between a young Hindu servant, Jeet (Manish Dayal), and his intended
Muslim bride, Aalia (Huma Qureshi). The young lovers find themselves caught up
in the seismic end of Empire, in conflict with the Mountbattens and with their
own communities, but never ever giving up hope…