Gurinder Chadha’s latest film ‘Viceroy’s House’ relives the pain of 1947 India-Pakistan partition

Film Review by Neena Badhwar

Gurinder Chadha’s latest film ”˜Viceroy’s House’ dwells in a topic that’s close to her heart: India’s Partition. It made her family a refugee – her grandmother ending up in a camp with five children, one of whom died from starvation during the move, her grandfather looking for them for years and not giving up.

The departing British had left the country in a chaos, having wedged Hindus against Muslims, the two communities who had lived together for generations, turning them into bloodthirsty devils. There were more than one million people killed during the mass movement the world had not witnessed before ”“ of some 14 million people who were displaced from their homes where they had lived for centuries. Mahatama Gandhi was distraught, not a part of the Independence Day celebrations which had come at the cost of a divided India and such loss of life.

The film makes a hero of India’s last viceroy, Lord Mountbatten, who is shown to be full of empathy, but helpless as he is unable to control the bloodshed. A not well known historical twist that Lord Mountbatten was himself deceived into drawing partition boundaries Churchill had secretly decided two years earlier, with some collusion with Jinah, and unbeknown to Gandhi and Nehru, makes the final part of the film interesting.

Weaved into the historical play is a touching love story between Huma Qureshi as a Muslim girl Aalia and Manish Dayal, a Punjabi boy. Huma Qureshi is refreshing in her appearance, the love scenes a respite from the chaos all around.

Gillian Anderson fits perfectly in her role of Edwina Mountbatten, in her looks as well as a caring first lady who empathises with the people who had lost everything.   Hugh Bonnerville, however, does not resemble the tall and elegant Mountbatten but makes up for it in his acting. The film sets are a drawback of the film, overglamourised and distant from the chaotic lanes of the walled city.

Viceroy’s House is a movie which will interest the people of the subcontinent, especially Indians from the north who have lived through the trauma of Partition either first hand or through family stories told and retold throughout their lives. The film is an eye opener for the state the world is in today and the people who make decisions sitting thousands of miles away without realizing the terrible rift they can cause in those societies.

TIDU has been offered five double passes for the movie by Young at Heart, Senior Film Festival, during April 3 ”“ 26, 2017.  

Viceroy’s House is being shown at the following cinemas, dates shown in brackets:  

In Sydney, the participating cinemas are Palace Verona (April 6 and April 9), Palace Norton Street (April 4 and April 8).

In Melbourne, Palace Brighton Bay (April 20 and April 23), Palace Balwyn (April 22 and April 25).

In Canberra, Palace Electric (April 4 and April 8).

In Brisbane, Palace Centro (April 22 and April 25).

In Adelaide, Palace Nova (April 11 and April 15).

Please email to claim your double pass to:


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