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One to watch: Viceroy’s House

Good’s online editor Natalie Cyra sat down with film director, Gurinda Chadha to talk about her new film, Viceroy’s House

Gurinda Chadha while filming Viceroy’s House

Viceroy’s House is a Gurinda Chadha film about the end of an empire, and the birth of two nations. Set in Dehli, the home of the British rulers of India, after 300 years, that rule was coming to an end. For six 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, with Mountbatten, together with his wife Edwina Mountbatten (Gillian Anderson) and daughter Pamela living upstairs; while 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.

The film explores the partition of India through the prism of a marriage – that of Dickie and Edwina Mountbatten – and a romance – between a young Hindu servant, Jeet, and his intended Muslim bride, Aalia. The young lovers find themselves caught up in the seismic end of Empire, in conflict with the Mountbattens and with their own communities, but never ever giving up hope.

Good‘s online editor talked to director Gurinda Chadha about what it meant to make the film for her, on a professional and personal level, how it was different that any other film and story she has told, and what it was like working with the both well established and rising cast for this touching and inspiration film. 

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