“We are brothers with one soul. To divide us on religious grounds is against the will of God”
Its been 69 years since India gained its independence. However, our journey from a foreign colony to an independent nation has not been a cake walk. Hatred was sown between the two major religious communities and the country was divided into two. The people were forced to leave their cities and homes and the streets were filled with blood and corpses. They were not the best of times and Gurinder Chadha’s Viceroy House’s trailer clearly shows that the film showcases the last moments of the 300-year-old British empire in India.
Hugh Bonneville in the role of Lord Mountbatten, the last viceroy to India, is seen preparing to hand India back over to the Indians. He is also seen planning the conspiracy to divide the nation on religious grounds before they leave while Pandit Nehru, played by Tanveer Ghani and Gandhi, played by Neeraj Kabi, worry about the worst phase in Indian history- Partition.
However, Lady Edwina Mountbatten played by Gillian Anderson can be seen opposing Lord’s plans and says: “We came to give India back their freedom. Not to fear them apart”
And amid all this chaos is a Muslim girl, played by Huma Qureshi, who is in love with a Hindu Boy, portrayed by Manish Dayal. The trailer also features distinguished actors like Om Puri and Denzil Smith.
Gurinder Chadha is known for making films that cater to both her Indians and foreign audience. For instance, Bend It Like Beckham (2002) and Bride And Prejudice (2004). She also said in an interview to The Guardian that this project is very close to her heart as her own family was caught up in the tragic events that unfolded during the partition.
However, from the looks of its trailer, Viceroy House seems to deal more with Mountbatten’s visit to India, his passion and struggle and shows that how he was merely a pawn in the hands of British Raj. It also seems to sympathise with Lady Mountbatten’s character and seems to focus more on their personal life and their 300-something Indian servants who lived in their basement when Chadha could have played along the lines of the plight of Indian and Pakistani people.
While, the trailer seems to promise that this is going to be an intense historical drama, it remains to be seen whether the film will successfully portray the significant instances of the last days of independence on the 70-mm screen or it will be merely looking at the historical event from the Western perspective.
Co-written by Gurinder Chadha, Paul Mayeda Berges and Moira Buffini and produced by Deepak Nayar, the film releases worldwide on March 3, 2017.
You can watch the trailer here: