Have you ever woken up, late for work, exhausted beyond comprehension and your children just cannot decide what they want for breakfast? you take the first thing you see and have your nanny or maid whip it up to keep your children from causing a commotion. That is the kind of feeling Gurinder Chadha’s interpretation of Lord Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) brings forth.
Months before the partition, Lord Mountbatten is appointed as the last viceroy of India and he moves to Delhi with his wife Edwina Mountbatten (Gillian Anderson) and his daughter Pamela to ensure a smooth transition of power.
Like a foster father setting out to give his foster children up for adoption Mountbatten meets with Jawaharlal Nehru (Tanveer Ghani), Mahatma Gandhi (Neeraj Kabi) and Muhammad Ali Jinnah (Denzel Smith) to see who has the best proposal for this transition to run smoothly. With the family’s arrival, new staff including Jeet (Manish Dayal) and Alia (Huma Qureshi) are brought into the Viceroy’s house to ensure that the family is well taken care of. A staff comprising of Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs brilliantly represents India on a micro scale within the Viceroy’s house.
While the film sees a repetition of the Hindu-Muslim ideology of partition, the conflicts faced by the Sikh community and the love struggle of a Hindu-Muslim couple, Gurinder Chadha’s unique approach of showing a rather caring side of the Mountbatten’s is a daring initiative but thanks to the exceptional portrayal of Mountbatten by Hugh Bonnerville, the audience is easily able to sympathize with the last viceroy’s struggle to please a crowd and keep the peace. Manish Dayal and Huma Qureshi as star crossed lovers bring out the much needed dramatic aspect in the film. While this may not be Chadha’s best work, it a political drama worth the watch. Urban Asian gives Viceroy’s House at 3.5/5/