Gurinder Chadha Partition 1947 or Viceroy’s House released in India. On the 71st anniversary of the the partition of India and Pakistan, the Gurinder Chadha’s Viceroy’s House, released in India as Partition : 1947 explores the events leading up to the independence of the subcontinent from British rule, as well as the painful partition that led to months of mass killings, riots and millions of refugees fleeing violence on both sides. Chadha’s own family had to flee the horrors of Partition, and the filmmaker attempts a balanced account of the people managing the breakup.
The movie revolves around the last British Viceroy Lord Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville), and his wife Lady Edwina (Gillian Anderson), who are shown benevolently agonising over the choices they have to make for their former subjects. Gillian Anderson has a great screen presence as she plays the moral compass for her powerful husband. The Viceroy is surrounded by the Indian politicians, who get surprisingly little play as the movie attempts a revisionist pro-Empire take on the final days of British Raj.
Nehru, Jinnah and Sardar Patel are portrayed as small, bickering childish characters and Neeraj Kabi’s Gandhi is a sidenote. Against this backdrop, the romance between Huma Qureshi’s Aalia and Manish Dayal’s Jeet is served up as a symbol of love in a time of hate between India’s two major communities. The late Om Puri plays the girl’s blind father, oblivious to the radical-for-its-time liasions between his daughter and Jeet. The movie culminates into the Partition itself, and the screen depiction of the bloody events falls just short of the actual horror itself.
Overall, the movie is an average take on a subject that has seen far better portrayals in popular media. The historical inaccuracies of the movie(for example, the movie shows that Churchill had made plans to leave India in 1945 itself although there is nothing but conspiracy theories to back this up) may be jarring to people who care about history.