The final Viceroy of India, Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma (Hugh Bonneville), is tasked with overseeing the transition of British India to independence, but meets with conflict as different sides clash in the face of monumental change.
New Dehli, India, March 1947. The huge and stately Viceroy's Palace is like a beehive. Its five hundred employees are busy preparing the coming of Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma (Hugh Bonneville), who has just been appointed new (and last) Viceroy of India by Prime Minister Clement Attlee. Mountbatten, whose difficult task consists of overseeing the transition of British India to independence, arrives at the Palace, accompanied by Edwina (Gillian Anderson), his liberal-minded wife and Pamela (Lily Travers), his eighteen-year-old daughter. Meanwhile, in the staff quarters, a love story is born between Jeet Kumar (Manish Dayal), a Hindu, and Aalia Noor (Huma Qureshi), a Muslim beauty. Things will prove to be difficult, not to say very difficult, on the geopolitical and personal level.Written by
Om Puri played Nahari in Gandhi (1982), which also dealt with the transition of British India to self governance and the partition of India in 1947. See more »
Gillian Anderson is credited as Lady Lady Edwina Mountbatten. She would only be called Lady Edwina if her father had been an earl, marquess, or duke. After her husband was knighted, she became Edwina, Lady Mountbatten or Lady Louis Mountbatten. When Louis Mountbatten became a viscount, she became Edwina Mountbatten, Viscountess Mountbatten of Burma. When he became an earl, she became Edwina Mountbatten, Countess Mountbatten of Burma. More commonly, she would simply be Lady Mountbatten. See more »
Worth seeing but goes soft on real human tragedy of the Partition
Saw this in English in a French cinema with the French title displayed as "Le Dernier Viceroi de l'Inde" = The Last Viceroy of India, instead of a literal translation i.e. "La Maison du Viceroi". In fact, I didn't know what the original title was until seeing it on IMDb. The French title subtly shifts the focus of the movie towards Mountbatten, rather than the 'house' itself.
It's clearly a very 'British' film with superb cast - Bonneville acts Mountbatten well but I felt he was physically/visually wrong; in contrast Anderson gives an excellent performance as his wife, Edwina, and Michael Gambon excels as a slimy, devious, political toad. The love story plot is a bit Bollywood soapy and predictably weepy - those of a sentimental nature should take a hankie. The political aspect is well-portrayed, but the main political characters appear stereotypes.
However in my view it goes way too soft on the terrible, frequently fatal, destructive consequences of the Partition on the forced migration of 14 million people and the deplorable decision to rush it through within a matter of weeks. Although there's a fair amount of original footage included to remind us of this human tragedy, it doesn't go far enough to make us squirm or feel too guilty. Perhaps that's a detachment the director intended. Has British guilt and fixation with its cruel past and how it ruled its empire now become a cliché? Is the criticism that we're looking at it through our 21st century politically-correct rose-tinted spectacles justified?
Other than that, a good enough film for those of us not too sceptical to still enjoy a political drama based around dubious events of Britain's chequered past.
8 of 15 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?
| Report this