Viceroy’s House

The title is deceiving, albeit in a good way – this warm, stately film is not about last Indian Viceroy Lord Mountbatten, but about the creation of Pakistan and what resulted. The inclusion of Hugh Bonneville and Gillian Anderson as Lord and Lady Mountbatten’s residency occupies the first two thirds of the film in a shapeless slowness. It is in the last act that it becomes obvious what the story director Gurinder Chadha wanted to tell is. It leaves Lord and Lady Mountbatten handing out food from the sidelines for the better. They were never the protagonists of this story. The true leads are people like Chadha’s family, who were displaced by the Partition. They walked thousands of kilometres to their new homes. That would undoubtedly make a more compelling film. What could be more powerful than telling the story of the overwhelming refugee crisis of around 12 million people, told amongst a fight for independence?

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