8 items from 2017
MaryAnn’s quick take… Snappy, snappish historical drama about the partition of India rings with sly humor, dry cynicism, and a smack of relevance for today’s divisive politics. I’m “biast” (pro): nothing
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
In 1947, Lord Louis “Dickie” Mountbatten, cousin to King George VI, was sent to India as its last viceroy, to rule in George’s stead — he was Emperor of India, of course — and to facilitate that nation’s transition to independence. And as depicted in Viceroy’s House, Gurinder Chadha’s snappy and later snappish drama about the handover, Mountbatten is initially a rather cheery midwife to the end of the British Empire. Hugh Bonneville (Paddington, The Monuments Men) brings a certain bonhomie to a man described as someone who “could charm a vulture off a corpse,” and Dickie and his wife, »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Viceroy’s House, 2017.
Directed by Gurinder Chadha.
Lord Mountbatten, as the last appointed Viceroy of India in 1947, is tasked with handing the country back to its people after 300 years of British imperial rule. His and his family’s hopes for a smooth transition come under immense pressure as the traumatic reality of Partition becomes apparent.
Viceroy’s House is, at heart, a well-meaning and carefully balanced film about a particularly bloody chapter of India and Pakistan’s shared history – Partition. Director and screenwriter Gurinder Chadha, alongside her co-writers Moira Buffini and frequent collaborator Paul Mayeda Berges, has taken great pains to ensure a largely sympathetic re-telling of all sides of this history, but perhaps sacrifices some of the film’s bite in the process. It is, however, still an engaging and visually stunning piece of cinema. »
- Tori Brazier
Contemporary politics came to the fore once again at the Berlin Film Festival. This time it concerned “Viceroy’s House,” Gurinder Chadha’s period piece about turbulent events at the time that India separated from the British Empire.
While the end of end of empire is clearly large canvas stuff, Chadha chose not only to set the film in a microcosm – the ridiculously opulent palace inhabited by the Viceroy of India and 500 servants – she also pitched it as a personal project.
Chadha was born in East Africa of Punjabi parents and grew up in the U.K. where hostile locals told her to go home. “But my homeland was now in Pakistan,” she said. She refused to call it anything other than “pre-partition India,” until a research trip took her to the Punjab and her family’s ancestral home, where five refugee families had taken up residence.
“Now we are »
- Patrick Frater
Viceroy’s House review: Gurinder Chadha co-writes and directs this massively intimate and indeed epic story at the time of partition and independence in 1947 India.
Viceroy’s House review by Paul Heath at the 2017 Berlin Film Festival.
Viceroy’s House review
Bend It Like Beckham and Angus, Thongs and Perfect Snogging director Gurinder Chadha brings Viceroy’s House, her most personal and ambitious project to cinema screens, a film debuting out-of-competition at the 2017 Berlin Film Festival, where it receives its world premiere.
The film is the true story of the 1947 handing over of power in India from the British Empire back to its people after three centuries of rule. Hugh Bonneville assumes the role of the last Viceroy of India, and indeed Queen Victoria’s great-grandson Lord Mountbatten, the man tasked with overseeing the transition. The motion picture, which is huge in scale, focusses its attention on the Partition of »
- Paul Heath
To begin at the very end, the closing credits of “Viceroy’s House” bear a detailed dedication to a woman who survived the devastating upheaval of the 1947 Partition of India, was forced to trek a vast distance from her home to the newly founded Muslim republic of Pakistan, and was finally reunited with her eventual husband in a refugee camp. The woman in question, it turns out, is director Gurinder Chadha’s grandmother, and her story is evidently a remarkable one — so one can’t help but wish that Chadha had elected to tell it directly in this stiff historical dramatization of events leading to the Partition. Instead, “Viceroy’s House” clumsily merges a waxworks biographical study of Lord Louis and Lady Edwina Mountbatten, the last Viceroy and Vicereine appointed to oversee the British handover of India, with a passionless Romeo-and-Juliet romance between two of their servants caught in the fray. »
- Guy Lodge
‘Our time frame for leaving won’t work!” exclaims Lady Mountbatten, for a moment overwhelmed by the task of quitting India in 1947. Something familiar about that? As well as an enjoyably soapy and cheekily Downtonised view of history, director Gurinder Chadha could be offering a satirical stab at what Indexit meant to a country about to split into two as a punitive condition of liberty; maybe the UK will also have to contemplate partition of its own, north and south. With co-screenwriters Moira Buffini and Paul Mayeda Berges, Chadha creates a watchable costume drama from India’s birth agonies. And with its streak of subversive humour, it even reminded me weirdly of Spike Milligan’s Puckoon, about the division of Ireland.
Hugh Bonneville plays Mountbatten of Burma, brought in to oversee the »
- Peter Bradshaw
Pathe have debuted a brand new clip from the upcoming drama epic Viceroy’s House, which receives its world premiere in Berlin on Sunday 12th February.
The film tells the true story of the final months of British rule in India and its release will coincide with the 70th Anniversary of the Independence of India and the founding of Pakistan.
The British cast is led by Hugh Bonneville (Downton Abbey, Paddington) as Lord Mountbatten; Gillian Anderson (The X Files, The Fall) as his wife, Lady Mountbatten; Lily Travers (Kingsman) as their daughter, Pamela; and Michael Gambon (Harry Potter, Quartet) and Simon Callow (A Room With A View, Four Weddings and a Funeral) as key civil servants.
- Paul Heath
Viceroy’s House by BAFTA nominated director Gurinder Chadha will celebrate its World Premiere at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival on Sunday 12th February 2017.
Gurinder Chadha, director of Viceroy’S House, said: “I am honoured that Viceroy’S House has been selected by the Berlin Film Festival. My film is an inspirational intensely personal true story about the traumatic events that took place at the end of the British Empire in India, events that tore my own family apart. The Festival gives us a brilliant opportunity to showcase my passion project to a global audience.”
Gurinder Chadha’s Viceroy’S House will be released in cinemas by Pathe in the UK and by Reliance Entertainment in India on 3rd March 2017.
The film tells the true story of the final months of British rule in India and its release will coincide with the 70th Anniversary of the Independence of India and the founding of Pakistan. »
- Stacey Yount
8 items from 2017
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