PARTITION:1947 | Full Movie | GURINDER CHADHA | A. R. RAHMAN | HUMA QURESHI | Link 2
Directed by Gurinder Chadha
Paul Mayeda Berges
Paul Mayeda Berges
Music by A. R. Rahman
Cinematography Ben Smithard
Edited by Victoria Boydell
Bend It Films
20th Century Fox (United Kingdom)
Reliance Entertainment (India)
12 February 2017 (67th Berlin International Film Festival)
3 March 2017 (United Kingdom)
18 August 2017 (India)
Viceroy's House is a 2017 British-Indian historical drama film directed by Gurinder Chadha and written by Paul Mayeda Berges, Moira Buffini, and Chadha. The film stars Hugh Bonneville, Gillian Anderson, Manish Dayal, Huma Qureshi, and Michael Gambon. It was selected to be screened out of competition at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival.
The film was released in the United Kingdom on 3 March 2017 while the Hindi dubbed version titled Partition: 1947 was released in India on 18 August 2017, 3 days after its 70th Independence Day. It was released worldwide on 1 September 2017. Viceroy's House is based on Freedom at Midnight by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre, and The Shadow of the Great Game: The Untold Story of Partition by Narendra Singh Sarila.
Lord Louis Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) arrives at Viceroy's House in Delhi in 1947 with his strong-willed wife Edwina (Gillian Anderson) and daughter Pamela. As the final Viceroy of India, he is in charge of overseeing the dissolution of the British Raj and the establishment of an independent Indian nation. Mountbatten attempts to mediate a disagreement between the two major Indian political leaders, Jawaharlal Nehru, who wants India to remain intact as one nation after independence, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who wishes to establish the separate Muslim state of Pakistan.
Meanwhile, Mountbatten's newly-arrived valet Jeet (Manish Dayal) encounters the beautiful Alia (Huma Qureshi), whom he had fallen in love with previously. Alia continues to spurn Jeet because he is Hindu and she Muslim; she fears that she will disappoint her invalid father Ali (Om Puri).
With riots erupting across India, the British decide to accelerate the independence process. Mountbatten is intent upon a one-state solution, but with intensifying violence between Muslims and Hindus he reluctantly accepts the Partition of India. He is given only a couple months to carve out a separate state from the existing territory, with the help of an inexperienced English lawyer, Cyril Radcliffe (Simon Callow). Jeet continues to pursue Alia, until it is revealed that she has been betrothed since childhood to another man. The servants at Viceroy's House are forced to choose between staying in India or going to Pakistan.
Mountbatten is enraged to find that his Chief of Staff Lord Ismay (Michael Gambon), has been working covertly to draw the boundaries of Pakistan in order to create a buffer state between the Indian subcontinent and the Soviet Union. He realizes that he has been used as a pawn and the displacement of millions of people will result. Jeet is devastated to learn meanwhile that his entire family has been slaughtered in Punjab. Although Alia rejects her fiancé when he returns to claim her, she chooses to depart for Pakistan with her father. Days later Jeet reads in the newspaper that the night train she had boarded was attacked and everyone was killed. In anger he brandishes a knife at Mountbatten, before resigning his post.
With Delhi overwhelmed with refugees, the Mountbattens decide to stay on in India to assist where they can. While Jeet volunteers to help with the refugees, Alia is brought in badly injured but alive, the lone survivor of the train attack. She recognizes Jeet and shouts for him, and the two are reunited.
Lord Mountbatten, the final Viceroy of India, is given the duty to oversee the transition of a British owned India to an independent nation. But he faces conflict as people fight amongst themselves at this crucial time.
Review: Making a film on the partition of India and Pakistan is a tricky undertaking, bound to invoke polarizing sentiments around the portrayal of each side. Gurinder Chadha is well aware of this predicament and chooses to weave this defining moment in our nation's history around the singular uniting factor of love, and its various forms. On one hand, there's the romantic love between Huma Qureshi's Aalia and Manish Dayal's Jeet, on the other – the patriotic love Indians have for their country, and the Pakistanis for their own. Amidst this, there’s the compassion that Lord Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville), and his wife Lady Edwina (Gillian Anderson) had for people in general.
Although slightly jarring at times, the perspective switches to the political tensions surrounding the three nations. This largely works in favour of the film and it helps that Chadha’s own family was affected by the partition as her vision remains personal. The conflict between the (now) two countries fueled by religious differences is felt strongly, and there are stirring sequences that drive home the sheer frustration of those who opposed the partition. This is materialized by the performances of the central cast; Gillian Anderson, in particular, seems to be ageing like fine wine. She captures the strength and determination of Lady Mountbatten in all earnest, shown here to anchor the moral outlook of her husband, and thereby, the fallout of this event. Hugh Bonneville, however, seems to be stuck in Downton Abbey mode, though that’s little fault of his own. The most poignant role is played by the late Om Puri as Aalia’s blind father who is oblivious to his daughter's involvement with Jeet. Speaking of which, the affable pairing of Manish Dayal and Huma Qureshi gets a little tedious at times, but Bollywood films have seen far worse in the recent past.