Next year will see the release of a landmark piece of cinema, with Gurinder Chadha’s Viceroy’s House hitting UK cinemas on March 3. The date will mark the 70th anniversary of India’s independence and the subsequent formation of Pakistan, with the movie depicting the last six months of the British Raj.
Pathe launched the first trailer and poster for the film yesterday, in order to promote this much-anticipated release.
Chadha will be familiar to many as the filmmaker who brought us 2002’s Bend It Like Beckham. As well as directing Viceroy’s House, she co-wrote the screenplay and had a hand in producing, aided by her Beckham colleague Deepak Naar.
But it’s the cast, and in particular the British cast, that really catches the eye. The main characters of the piece, Lord and Lady Mountbatten, are played by Downton Abbey‘s Hugh Bonneville and The X Files‘ Gillian Anderson. Strong support comes in the form of seasoned veterans Sir Michael Gambon and Simon Callow.
The real star of the show, the ‘Viceroys House’ itself, was home to the British Raj in Delhi. Lord Mountbatten, who was Queen Victoria’s great grandson, turned out to be the very last Viceroy and so was heavily-involved in the conclusion of 300 years of British rule in India, in 1947. The other key event that the film examines is the decision – precipitated by India’s three political heavyweights Gandhi, Nehru and Jinnah – to divide the country and create a new Muslim state in Pakistan. We know, of course, that this began a spell of turmoil and tragedy, and Chadha’s own family were in fact caught up in the crossfire.
So not only is this a piece of filmmaking that marks a tumultuous chapter in a country’s history, but it is also a deeply personal project. To view the trailer, you can either download here or watch it on YouTube.