Viceroy's House (film)

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Viceroy's House
British poster
Directed byGurinder Chadha
Written by
Based onFreedom at Midnight by
Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre
The Shadow of the Great Game: The Untold Story of India's Partition
Narendra Singh Sarila
Produced by
  • Paul Mayeda Berges
  • Gurinder Chadha
  • Deepak Nayar
CinematographyBen Smithard
Edited byVictoria Boydell
Music byA. R. Rahman
Distributed by
Release dates
Running time
106 minutes[2]
Budget$8.5 million[3]
Box office$11.8 million[1]

Viceroy's House is a 2017 historical drama film directed by Gurinder Chadha and written by Paul Mayeda Berges, Moira Buffini, and Chadha.[4] The film stars Hugh Bonneville, Gillian Anderson, Manish Dayal, Huma Qureshi, and Michael Gambon.[5] It was selected to be screened out of competition at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival.[6]

The film was released in the United Kingdom on 3 March 2017,[7] while the Hindi dubbed version titled Partition: 1947 was released in India on 18 August 2017, three days after its 70th Independence Day. It was released worldwide on 1 September 2017.[8] Viceroy's House is based on Freedom at Midnight by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre, and The Shadow of the Great Game: The Untold Story of Partition by Narendra Singh Sarila.[9]


Lord Dickie Mountbatten arrives at Viceroy's House in New Delhi in 1947 with his strong-willed wife Edwina and daughter Pamela. As the final Viceroy of India, he is in charge of overseeing the dissolution of the British Raj and the establishment of an independent Indian nation. Mountbatten attempts to mediate a disagreement between the two major Indian political leaders, Jawaharlal Nehru, who wants India to remain intact as one nation after independence, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah, who wishes to establish the separate Muslim state of Pakistan. Meanwhile, Mountbatten's newly arrived valet Jeet encounters the beautiful Alia, whom he had fallen in love with previously. Alia continues to spurn Jeet because he is Hindu and she Muslim; she fears that she will disappoint her invalid father Ali, whom Jeet had helped during a spell of imprisonment at British hands.

With riots erupting across India, their few non-Indian troops thinly spread and the loyalties of their Indian troops conflicted between Sikh, Muslim and Hindu, the British decide to accelerate the independence process. Initially influenced by Gandhi, Mountbatten is intent upon a one-state solution, but with intensifying violence between Muslims and Hindus he reluctantly accepts the Partition of India. He is given only a couple months to carve out a separate state from the existing territory, with the help of an inexperienced English lawyer, Cyril Radcliffe.

Jeet continues to pursue Alia, despite the fact that she has been betrothed since childhood to another man, and like the other servants at Viceroy's House they are forced to choose between staying in India or going to Pakistan. Mountbatten is enraged to find that his Chief of Staff Lord Ismay has been working covertly to draw the boundaries of Pakistan in order to create a buffer state between the Indian subcontinent and the Soviet Union and to allay fears that a socialist-leaning united India would give the Soviets access to the warm water port at Karachi. He realizes that he has been used as a pawn and the displacement of millions of people will result.

Jeet is devastated to learn meanwhile that his entire family has been slaughtered in Punjab. Although Alia rejects her fiancé when he returns to claim her, she chooses to depart for Pakistan with her father. Days later Jeet reads in the newspaper that the night train she had boarded was attacked and everyone was killed. In anger he brandishes a knife at Mountbatten, before resigning his post. With Delhi overwhelmed with refugees, the Mountbattens decide to stay on in India to assist where they can. While Jeet volunteers to help with the refugees, Alia is brought in badly injured but alive, the lone survivor of the train attack. She recognizes Jeet and shouts for him, and the two are reunited.



Huma Qureshi presenting the movie Viceroy's House at the Berlinale 2017

On 30 April 2015, it was announced that Hugh Bonneville and Gillian Anderson would star in the fictional historical drama film Viceroy's House to be directed by Gurinder Chadha, which Chadha scripted along with Paul Mayeda Berges and Moira Buffini.[10] The film set in 1947 during the Partition of India, and the life inside the Viceroy's House, would be produced by Chadha, Deepak Nayar, and Paul Ritchie.[10] Pathé and BBC Films would be co-financing the film.[10] On 1 September 2015, more cast was announced including Manish Dayal, Huma Qureshi, Tanveer Ghani, Denzil Smith, Neeraj Kabi, Om Puri, Lily Travers, Michael Gambon, and Simon Callow.[11]

Principal photography on the film began on 30 August 2015 in Jodhpur, Rajasthan, India, where it was shot for eight weeks.[12][11]

The film was released in the United Kingdom on 3 March 2017.[7]


Viceroy's House (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)
Soundtrack album by
ReleasedMarch 3, 2017 (Digital)
June 9, 2017 (CD)
Abbey Road Studios, London
Panchathan Record Inn and AM Studios, Chennai
A. R. Studios, Mumbai
GenreFilm soundtrack
LabelBend It Films (VH) Productions
ProducerA. R. Rahman
A. R. Rahman chronology
Viceroy's House (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

Track listing[edit]

Original score[edit]

1."Viceroy's House"A. R. Rahman2:39
2."Displacement"A. R. Rahman2:35
3."Swearing In"A. R. Rahman2:34
4."Jinnah Meets Mountbatten"A. R. Rahman1:21
5."Limerence"A. R. Rahman1:39
6."Gandhi"A. R. Rahman1:09
7."Pamela and Alia Bond"A. R. Rahman1:24
8."Dickie Is the Man"Rekha Sawhney3:06
9."Two Broken Hearts"A. R. Rahman3:13
10."Ahimsa"Rekha Sawhney2:46
11."The Partition"Rekha Sawhney, Anand Bhate3:59
12."Classified"A. R. Rahman2:18
13."The Birth of Two Nations"A. R. Rahman3:29
14."Exodus"Rekha Sawhney, Anand Bhate4:04
15."Jeet Finds Alia"A. R. Rahman3:03
16."The Cost of Freedom"A. R. Rahman5:07
Total length:44:43

Additional tracks[edit]

Three additional tracks were released for the dubbed Hindi version of the film.

1."Do Dilon Ke"Shreya Ghoshal, Hariharan4:45
2."Duma Dum Mast Kalander"Hans Raj Hans3:30
3."Jindwa"Hans Raj Hans3:36
Total length:11:51


Viceroy's House was selected to be screened out of competition at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival on 12 February 2017.[2][6] The film was released in the United Kingdom on 3 March 2017;[7] it was dubbed in Hindi, titled Partition: 1947,[13] and released in India on 18 August 2017.[14][15] It was banned in Pakistan.[16]


The film received generally positive reviews from critics. On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 76% based on 41 reviews, with an average rating of 6/10.[17] The New York Times praised the film for "cramming ample history into a compact running time without sacrificing flow or interest."[18] The Washington Post called it "educational, if melodramatic," concluding that "the movie accomplishes a difficult task, making sense of a complicated period in history."[19]


Manish Dayal, Gillian Anderson, Gurinder Chadha, Hugh Bonneville and Huma Qureshi at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival

Chadha described the film as the Upstairs, Downstairs view of the Partition of India. She defended her film against criticisms of historical heterodoxy, saying that she was guided by Narendra Singh Sarila's 2006 book The Shadow of the Great Game: The Untold Story of India's Partition, which was claimed to be based on secret documents discovered in the British Library.[20]

Pakistani poet and writer Fatima Bhutto described the film as 'a servile pantomime of partition'.[21] Chadha in response said that "her film about India's partition of 1947, far from ignoring the freedom struggle, celebrates it."[22]

The Guardian summed up the response to the film by saying that "Notices by film reviewers have been muted but reasonably kind", while the reaction from historians was "damning". The newspaper was very critical of the film's climax, criticizing the lack of corroborating research to back up the central claim that Pakistan was created as part of a conspiracy by Winston Churchill and the British government - particularly as in reality it was a Labour government at the time led by Clement Attlee, not Churchill.[23]

The film's postscript reads: "The partition of India led to the largest mass migration in human history. 14 million people were displaced. One million Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs died. This film is dedicated to all of those who died and to all those who survived partition."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Viceroy's House". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  2. ^ a b c "Programme - Viceroy's House". Berlinale. Retrieved 1 February 2017.
  3. ^ "Gurinder Chadha, the maker of 'Viceroy's House'". Financial Times. 22 March 2017. Retrieved 22 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Gurinder Chadha hopes Indians love 'Partition: 1947'". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 30 September 2017. Retrieved 13 October 2017.
  5. ^ "Review 'Viceroy's House' opens the door to a key era in India's past". Los Angeles Times. 31 August 2017.
  6. ^ a b "Press Releases Competition 67th Berlinale - Competition and Berlinale Special - Danny Boyle, Hong Sangsoo, Thomas Arslan, Volker Schlöndorff, Sabu, Álex de la Iglesia and Josef Hader's Directorial Debut in the Competition Programme". Berlinale. 10 January 2017. Retrieved 10 January 2017.
  7. ^ a b c "Viceroy's House clip: watch Gillian Anderson and Hugh Bonneville ponder Britain's legacy in India". The Telegraph. 11 January 2017. Retrieved 11 January 2017.
  8. ^ Rohit Vats (17 August 2017). "Partition-1947 movie review: If it wasn't Lord Mountbatten then who divided India?". Hindustan Times.
  9. ^ Disclaimer at beginning of film
  10. ^ a b c Wiseman, Andreas (30 April 2015). "Hugh Bonneville, Gillian Anderson topline partition drama 'Viceroy's House'". Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  11. ^ a b Mitchell, Robert (1 September 2015). "Gurinder Chadha's 'Viceroy's House' Starts Shoot in India". Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  12. ^ "On the Set for 9/4/15: Michael Fassbender Starts on Assassin's Creed, Margot Robbie Wraps on Suicide Squad". 4 September 2015. Archived from the original on 5 September 2015. Retrieved 5 September 2015.
  13. ^ "Partition: 1947 Movie Review". The Times of India. Retrieved 18 August 2017.
  14. ^ "Gurinder Chadha on Partition 1947: Didn't dwell on Nehru-Lady Mountbatten in film". 4 July 2017.
  15. ^ "'Partition 1947' new poster: Huma Qureshi starrer looks like a compelling watch". The Times of India.
  16. ^ Partition: 1947 Banned In Pakistan, Reveals Gurinder Chadha. Why, Asks Twitter
  17. ^ "Viceroy's House (2017)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  18. ^ Ben Kenigsberg (31 August 2017). "Review: In 'Viceroy's House,' the Birthing Pains of Two Nations". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  19. ^ Stephanie Merry (7 September 2017). "'Viceroy's House': An educational, if melodramatic refresher course on the partition of India". Washington Post. Retrieved 9 October 2017.
  20. ^ "Partition, Mohsin Hamid, Gurinder Chadha". BBC Radio 3. 3 March 2017. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  21. ^ Bhutto, Fatima (15 March 2017). "Fatima Bhutto on Indian partition film Viceroy's House: 'I watched this servile pantomime and wept'". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  22. ^ Chadha, Gurinder (15 March 2017). "Gurinder Chadha: My film has been willfully misrepresented as anti-Muslim". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 March 2017.
  23. ^ Ian Jack (18 March 2017). "The Viceroy's House version of India's partition brings fake history to screen". The Guardian. Retrieved 9 October 2017.

External links[edit]