The film centers on the task at hand for Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma and the last Viceroy of India (1947). As the last Viceroy, he's responsible for overseeing the transition of British India to independence. On arrival in India with his wife and daughter, it was obvious to him that the situation was volatile. Try as he might to keep India united, Muslim leader Muhammed Ali Jinnah is adamant in his goal to establish a separate Muslim state called Pakistan.
Political unrest at hand, and afraid waiting longer could mean civil war breaking out, the timeline for the partition was brought forward. Sir Cyril Radcliffe was charged with boundaries for the new nations, and produced a map that split the two countries along the Punjab and Bengal borders. This caused the disruption and displacement of 14 million people on the 'wrong' side of the border as they fled to safety on the other side.
Woven into this epic political 106 min tale directed by Gurinder Chadha, is a love story. Like a balm, it salves and soothes and provides relief during the political upheaval that highlights the effect this cultural divide has on the streets, and amongst the Muslim and Sikh servants at the Viceroy's House.
Hugh Bonneville is a very likeable Lord Mountbatten while Gillian Anderson, far removed from the X Files, produces a very impressive English accent. Star-crossed lovers Aalia (Huma Qureshi) and Jeet (Manish Dayal) are easy on the eye, with the late and great Om Puri playing Aalia's blind father, which sees him and Manish together again, since the film 'The Hundred Foot Journey'. There are no horns to blow or drums to beat in the acting sector, nor a whole lot of depth to talk about. However, Chadha's flair for storytelling and the epic scenes, still make this a very watchable film.
Excellent review Jen. Having recently been to India, I made sure I saw the film. It was so good I had to see it again, and believe me, the second viewing was even better than the first. There was just too much to take in at once. Fantastic Review of a Fantastic Movie. Thank you.