Directed by Gurinder Chadha, VICEROY’S HOUSE 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