British filmmaker of Punjabi origin, Gurinder Chadha, is all set to start shooting for a new film that will explore the politics that led to Partition. While most of the movies on the genre have concentrated on the human tragedy, particularly the riots that followed Partition in 1947, Chadha says her film, The Viceroy’s House, will focus on the roles played by the principal political actors — Lord Mountbatten, his wife Edwina Mountbatten, Jawaharlal Nehru, M K Gandhi and M A Jinnah.
Written by Chadha’s husband, American screenwriter and director Paul Mayeda Berges, the film is expected to release next year. “When we talk of Partition, what comes to our mind is communal riots and related perceptions. This film, however, is based on historical documents and will share a new story on what led to Partition. There are surprising facts of the event that are not in the public domain yet,” the British director, who was in Amritsar with her family on Thursday, said.
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Chadha, known for movies such as Bend it like Beckham and Bride and Prejudice, said The Viceroy’s House explores a subject close to her heart. “It is a very heavy subject. I found it very upsetting that even my family, which used to live in the areas of Jhelum and Rawalpindi, had also become refugees. It is a very personal movie. I feel people are still living with the scars of Partition and I am trying to provide a healing touch from the British-Indian perspective,” Chadha said. “The movie will present the phase of discussions and negotiations between British and Indian leaders that took place at the house of the last viceroy, Lord Mountbatten,,” the British director said. Asked if the alleged love affair between Nehru and Lady Edwina and its suspected influence on Partition would feature in the movie, Chadha said, “”For that you have to watch my movie”.
Munish Dyal, Huma Qureshi, Om Puri and English actors Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville and The X Files’ Gillian Anderson will feature in the film. Chadha said her husband Paul Mayeda read over 20 books about Partition before penning the script. “My wife is of Punjabi origin and she has many stories to tell, which is very important to her and the family. I have read many books about people who suffered from Partition,” Paul Mayeda said.