Viceroy’s House is a 2017 British-Indian historical drama film directed by Gurinder Chadha and written by Paul Mayeda Berges, Moira Buffini, and Chadha. The film stars Hugh Bonneville, Gillian Anderson, Manish Dayal, Huma Qureshi, and Michael Gambon. It was selected to be screened out of competition at the 67th Berlin International Film Festival.
The film was released in the United Kingdom on 3 March 2017, while the Hindi dubbed version titled Partition: 1947 was released in India on 18 August 2017, 3 days after its 70th Independence Day. It was released worldwide on 1 September 2017. 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.
Lord Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) arrives at Viceroy’s House in Delhi in 1947 with his strong-willed wife Edwina (Gillian Anderson) 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 (Manish Dayal) encounters the beautiful Alia (Huma Qureshi), 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 (Om Puri).
With riots erupting across India, the British decide to accelerate the independence process. 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 (Simon Callow). Jeet continues to pursue Alia, until it is revealed that she has been betrothed since childhood to another man. The servants at Viceroy’s House are forced to choose between staying in India or going to Pakistan.
Mountbatten is enraged to find that his Chief of Staff Lord Ismay (Michael Gambon), 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. 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.
Hugh Bonneville as Lord Mountbatten
Gillian Anderson as Lady Mountbatten
Manish Dayal as Jeet Kumar
Huma Qureshi as Aalia Noor
Michael Gambon as Lord Lionel ‘Pug’ Ismay
Om Puri as Ali Rahim Noor
David Hayman as Ewart
Simon Callow as Cyril Radcliffe
Denzil Smith as Muhammad Ali Jinnah
Neeraj Kabi as Mahatma Gandhi
Tanveer Ghani as Jawaharlal Nehru
Lily Travers as Pamela Mountbatten
Jaz Deol as Duleep Singh
Arunoday Singh as Asif
Roberta Taylor as Miss Reading
Darshan Jariwala as Guptaji
Trishaan as Farrukh
Raj Zutshi as Head Chef
Raja Samar Singh Sarila as ADC Sayed Ahsan
Sarah-Jane Dias as Sunita
Samrat Chakrabarti as Moshin
Hriiday Malhotra as Sanjit
Simon Williams as Archibald Wavell
Lucy Fleming as Lady Wavell
Noah Zeiler as Henry F. Grady
Robin Soans as Sir Evan Meredith Jenkins
Terence Harvey as Sir Fred Burrows
Nicholas Blane as Sir Olaf Kirkpatrick Caroe
Yusuf Khurram as Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel
Anil Bhagwat as Liaquat Ali Khan
Eran Bein as Sir Eric Miéville
Kamal Karamchandani as Maulana Azad
Majid Khan as Acharya Kripalani