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 together with his wife and daughter; 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.
Viceroy’s House is at its best when the pomp and circumstance is kept at bay and the film is allowed to capture the everyday reality of life in the palace just before the British leave.
Chadha manages to pull at the heartstrings, entertain and provide a historical perspective in a film that demands to be seen, and most importantly, discussed.
Chadha … has set out to make a personal-political drama with a solidly populist edge, a bold ambition for which deserves three cheers.
While the film might have gone further in laying bare the true scale of the political subterfuge and the upheaval it caused, it is refreshingly blunt about a period of history often viewed through a rose-tinted lens.
Critics positive review 73% Audience liked it 60%
Stockbridge Audience: 89%
Total number of votes 145
Very Poor 0