If there's a key anniversary to a prominent historical event, you can bet a movie is being made about it somewhere. 2017 will mark 70 years since the British partition of India, which gave the Indian people their independence and led to the creation of Pakistan. Of course, after 300 years of British rule the transfer of power didn't go smoothly, and Viceroy's House will follow all of the bumps along the way.
Directed by Gurinder Chadha (Bend It Like Beckham) with Downton Abbey's Hugh Bonneville as the final viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, the film centers on the many political and religious conflicts that arose during the transition. Gillian Anderson plays Mountbatten's wife who shouldered the burden right alongside him. Manish Dayal and Om Puri of The Hundred-Foot Journey, Michael Gambon, and Huma Qureshi co-star. Here's the synopsis:
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…
Viceroy's House hits the U.K. in March but so far no U.S. date.