Roughly based on true events, Viceroy’s House follows Lord Louis Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) – cousin to the Queen – as he takes the position of the final Viceroy of India. His job is help India with its transition to independence but he is met with conflict as different sides clash, and he is faced with the decision to keep India together or split the country in two, thus creating Pakistan. Whilst Louis does the political work, his wife Lady Edwina (Gillian Anderson) and his daughter Lady Pamela (Lily Travers) spend the little time they have in India trying to improve the quality of life of the locals. Alongside this story line, there is another following Jeet Kumar (Manish Dayal) and Aalia Noor (Huma Qureshi) two lovers from opposing religions who must face the prospect of being separated if India does divide up.
I won’t lie, I only went to see Viceroy’s House because my friend is going to India in a few weeks and she wanted to see it. Visually the film is beautiful, there’s plenty of wide shots of the surrounding area and the House itself is incredibly grand. Everyone’s costumes are great too, from the staff’s uniforms to the elegant dresses the British women wear, all fit the period perfectly. The film is very much about the history of India and how Pakistan was formed, so if you’re interested in that then this will be excellent viewing. Think of this film as a mix between Downton Abbey and Indian Summers.
Hugh Bonneville and Gillian Anderson are both exceptional actors and pull of the posh British role impeccably. Both roles are very strong characters and the way that they stand up for the rights of the Indians – where no one has clearly done before – shows the kind of people they are and what they want to achieve before they leave. Hugh and Gillian are great opposite each other but the romance in the film is brought to us through Jeet and Aalia and their forbidden love. Manish Dayal and Huma Qureshi depict brilliantly two people who are destined for each other but politics and religion keep them apart. It is these two characters that you follow more as their side of the story is a little more passionate and exciting.
Overall, Viceroy’s House is a good film, and if you’re interested in the history of India then you will love it. Our screening was packed with the elderly so it’s definitely one for that age group! Personally, I found myself getting quite lost as to who was on what side politically but then I’ve never been that interested in politics and this film is based entirely on it!