The Bend it Like Beckham director’s latest film tells the true story of the final months of British rule in India. There are striking parallels with events of today.    

Viceroy’s House, coming to cinemas in March 2017, coincides with the 70th Anniversary of the Independence of India and the founding of Pakistan. The lavish historical drama boasts a mesmerising cast, including Hugh Bonneville, Gillian Anderson, Om Puri, Michael Gambon and Simon Callow.

First-look trailer:

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, 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 (Hugh Bonneville) together with his wife (Gillian Anderson) and daughter. Downstairs lived their 500 Hindu, Muslim and Sikh servants.

As the political elite—Nehru (Tanveer Ghani), Jinnah (Denzil Smith) and Gandhi (Neeraj Kabi)— 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 examines these events through the prism of a marriage—that of Dickie and Edwina Mountbatten—and a romance—that between two young servants, Jeet (Manish Dayal) a Hindu, and Aalia (Huma Qureshi, a Muslim woman. Om Puri stars as Aalia's blind father who finds himself being forced to choose between living in Pakistan or India once Partition is implemented.

The young lovers find themselves caught up in the seismic end of Empire, in conflict with the Mountbattens and with their own communities.

Viceroy’s House is a film that is both epic and intimate in its portrayal of historical events. Strikingly, the subject matter resonates with the global debate today around the politics of division and fear, religious extremism, and our attitudes towards refugees fleeing violence for a safer life.

Viceroy's House, directed by Gurinder Chadha, starring Hugh Bonneville, Gillian Anderson and Om Puri

Viceroy’s House is coming to cinemas across the UK in March 2017.

 

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