Filmmaker Gurinder Chadha has begun the two-month shoot for her next film which features a galaxy of international stars and tells the story of the man who oversaw the chaotic last days of British rule in India.
‘Viceroy’s House’ stars a stunning array of award-winning actors, including Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville, ‘X-Files’ actress Gilian Anderson, ‘The Hundred Foot Journey’ actor Manish Dayal, ‘Harry Potter’ legend Michael Gambon as well as Indian stars Om Puri and Huma Qureshi in pivotal roles.
The title of the film alludes to the magnificent, Edward Lutyens-designed building – now known as Rashtrapati Bhavan or President’s House – which was home to Lord and Lady Mountbatten.
Gilian Anderson and Hugh Bonneville play Lady and Lord Mountbatten.
Bonneville plays the well-intentioned but beleaguered Lord Louis Mountbatten, who was appointed in February 1947 by British Prime Minister Clement Attlee to oversee the transition of British India to independence.
Little did he know that the task would be the most difficult of his life as India was bifurcated along religious lines resulting in the deaths of millions.
Anderson stars as Lady Edwina Mountbatten who was widely praised for her efforts to help those affected by Partition, particularly in Delhi.
Chadha’s film – written by her husband Paul Mayeda Berges and Moira Buffini – reportedly focuses less on the wider political events and more on the turbulence inside Viceroy’s House in the six months leading up to Parition.
The residence played host to the major players in the Independence drama, including Gandhi, Nehru, Jinnah, Sardar Vallabhai Patel et al. Whilst the Mountabattens lived upstairs, their coterie of Hindi, Sikh and Muslim servants – numbering more than 500 – lived downstairs.
Actor Jaz Deol tweeted this picture from the sets of ‘Viceroy’s House’
Chadha is a master at capturing individual experiences in her films and what better place to explore the human experience in all its myriad glory than inside the house where the drama is certain to have mirrored the historic turbulence taking place outside.
The three roles of Gandhi, Nehru and Jinnah are played respectively by the Indian character actor Neeraj Kabi, British Asian actor Tanveer Ghani and the acclaimed theatre and film actor Denzil Smith.