In 1947, the lives of the inhabitants of India changed forever. It was a time of both great celebration and exceptional devastation that still has a ripple effect throughout south-east Asia. Straight after the second world war, England was divesting itself of much of its Commonwealth influence. After 300 years of rule in the land of India, Lord Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) was brought in to be the last Viceroy of India and to hand control back to the Indian people. This historical diplomatic event was marred by the multiple religious factions who desired to be put into power. After different considerations for the transition, Lord Mountbatten determined that the best means of maintaining stability in Asia was to allow the establishment of the Muslim nation, Pakistan.
RATED: Viceroy’s House is rated PG for mild themes
AUDIENCE: The political elements seem to come straight from a docu-drama and the failure of the key love story to capture the hearts of the audience leaveViceroy’s House without any life residing within. It is fascinating and educational for those who love to delve into history but does not prove the emotional components to compel audiences to connect with the events that impacted this fascinating country and its people.
WHAT’S GOOD: The historical elements provide the most arresting portions of the storyline. Even if audiences are unfamiliar with these events, the political tension makes for captivating drama. Bonneville and Gillian Anderson (The X-Files) manage to personify the Mountbattens with convincing accuracy and their intentions for the best resolution for the Indian people. Their personal and diplomatic relationship delivers some of the most compelling elements of the film.
WHAT’S NOT: What was unfortunate for this production was Chadha’s choice not to focus on the actual historical couple. Instead, she focusses on the romance between Jeet and Aalia. This depiction of forbidden love fails to add anything to the story. The chemistry between these two never reaches the emotional levels needed to be convincing and merely becomes an unnecessary distraction.
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SPIRITUALLY SPEAKING: The historical impact is based on the divide of India across geographic and religious lines. The country’s diversity of religions was noted, but this caused split cause widespread turmoil and personal anguish for many in the regions directly affected. Christianity does not really get a mention in the film, but the deep rooted beliefs of the Indian people are fascinating to observe. This consideration may lead many people to ask what they are willing to do for your faith?
RELEASE DATE: 11 May 2017