“Viceroy’s House,” that stars Hugh Bonneville and Gillian Anderson, is a period film that takes place right after the close of World War II. Gandhi had won success in his fight for a free India, and the United Kingdom is sending its last Viceroy, Lord Mountbatten to oversee the transition. But the main story is that of various Indians working at the Viceroy House including Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims. And to make the movie even more personal, there is a tender love story between a Hindu man (Manish Dayal) and a Muslim woman (Huma Qureshi).
“Viceroy’s House,” also covers the period known as partition. At this time there was a lot of violence among Muslims and Hindus. The film used real newsreels from the time to emphasize the destruction of India. To make things even worst it was decided to split India into two countries – India and Pakistan. It displaces millions of families, and over one million people were killed when the act of partition took place.
Gurinder Chadha directed this film. Her grandmother was one of the millions of people to be displaced during the partition of India. Her baby died during this time, and she lived in a camp for many years before her family found her. The passion Gurinder Chadha has about this period in Indian history shows in her film.
My only complaint about the film is the writing. The dialogue among the English is quite good but fails some for the Indian actors. The best performances come from the women. First, Gillian Anderson as Lady Mountbatten is fantastic in this role. I barely recognized her, and it is evident that she studied her role before playing it. The second performance that stood out to me was that of Huma Qureshi. First, she is drop dead gorgeous, and her acting is also very satisfying.
Overall, “Viceroy House,” is a satisfying film. This film will not win any awards except for perhaps Gillian Anderson. And that attention would only be for independent film recognition. For those who like period films, it may be more attractive of a film for the set decoration and filming locations.
“Viceroy House” is not rated and has a run-time of 107 minutes.