The End of an Empire – Viceroy’s House Review

Written by on June 9, 2017

Viceroy’s House tells the story of the Partition of India in 1947, and the internal struggle of the Viceroy’s family, political, and religious leaders, to come together for what would be best for post-British Independent India. Lord Mountbatten, played by Hugh Bonneville, is given the duty of leading India to her independence from Britain as the last viceroy.

Gillian Anderson plays the role of Edwina Mountbatten, the Viceroy’s wife, marvelously well. Portraying her determination for a better future, it was heartwarming to see her fight for a more inclusive environment in the House, and be a better half to Lord Mountbatten.

Photo courtesy of Shaw

Lord and Lady Mountbatten | Photo courtesy of Shaw

The cinematography was beautiful and the set design was grandiose. The costume design was elaborate, and with that many cast members, I can’t even begin to imagine how much effort went into it. The amount of effort put into this movie – in all its aspects, especially the manpower – was extremely admirable.

Although I’m someone who dislikes clichéd romance in movies, the forbidden romance between Jeet Kumar and Aliaa, two servants in the House, really brought across the struggle of divide of the country. It got cliché at certain points, especially the end, but my heart unwillingly broke when they had to separate when Aliaa had to leave for Pakistan with her father.

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Jeet Kumar (Manish Dayal) and Aliaa (Huma Qureshi) | Photo courtesy of Shaw

To me, it was a great educational movie – having not read about the history of India and Pakistan. It was surprisingly well-balanced too. From the trailer, I honestly expected a white-centric movie, but I was wrong. I really liked that the tone of the movie was never biased. It showed the pain and desperation of those suffering from the partition, and they were not downplayed.

The aftermaths of the massacres particularly got to me; how does one deal with finding out that your family and/or loved ones might have been hurt or killed without any easy contact to them like we do now? I can’t even begin to imagine finding out through the news and not having any idea as to what happened to them.

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Photo courtesy of Shaw

We also saw the moral struggle of the Mountbattens, whose decision had led the country to chaos and caused one of the biggest humanitarian crises. The family remained resilient despite seeing the suffering they had caused, and did their best to help the refugees.

This movie is easily one of the best movies I’ve seen this year (in my opinion, granted that I haven’t seen them all). The script is well-written and informational but not complicated for those who don’t know the elaborate history of India and Pakistan. It was heart wrenching at best, with spots of humour here and there. Definitely a must-see and a recommendation from me. 

Written and Edited by: Robyn Lee

 


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