Partition: 1947 trailer - Gurinder Chadha throws light on Mountbatten's murky involvement in India's Partition
Gurinder Chadha, best known for directing Bend It Like Beckham and Bride and Prejudice, has an upcoming project titled Partition: 1947. This film, which has been alternatively titled Viceroy House, focuses on the events in the final pre-Independence days when Lord Mountbatten was in office.
The trailer of the film gives us glimpses of Lord Mountbatten's swearing in, his conversations with imminent leaders like Jawaharlal Nehru, Gandhi and Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the romance between two Indians who work closely with the British, and the building tensions in India as the slogan "Hindustan-Pakistan" is repeated.
Speaking at the launch of the trailer, Gurinder Chadha said, "We were always taught that Partition was because of infighting. But my research shows that it was a calculated political move... I had access to top secret documents in the British library. Their agenda behind the Partition was to eliminate India as a formidable rival to their global supremacy. I am sad that India only thought of itself rather than imagined itself as a global superpower."
"Huma auditioned for the role. She was as feisty as Parminder Nagra, the lead actor of Bend It like Beckham," added Chadha. Huma Qureshi also mentioned that her family was one of the many who were forced to migrate during Partition. "Women hold a strong place in Gurinder's films. So I am glad that I was chosen," said Qureshi.
This film will see late veteran actor Om Puri in the role of a blind man. Apart from Qureshi and Puri, the film also stars Downton Abbey actor Hugh Bonneville as Lord Mountbatten, Gillian Anderson as his wife, and Manish Dayal.
Speaking about how the film has two titles, Chadha said, "I identify myself both as a British and Indian. So it will release in UK as Viceroy's House and we went ahead with Partion: 1947, which was the working title for the Indian audience."
When audiences at the Berlin Film Fest watched the film, they felt that it was very contemporary, as it addressed the issue of how politicians divide us, said Chadha. "Trump and Brexit had not happened when we started making the film. So though it is set in India, it is a global film," she explained.
Commenting on Fatima Bhutto's allegation that her film depicts history in a skewed manner, the director said, "She is speaking from a privileged Pakistani position. I understand that she is coming from a position of anger, as young countries find it tough to grow in the competitive world. But the British Pakistanis loved the film and told me they did not know their history."
Will the film bear resemblance to other films about the subject? Chadha says that it won't be like Ben Kingsley's Gandhi, because it it addresses an alternate historical account of the Partition.
This directorial venture, a historical drama, is vastly different from her previous films, which were light-hearted and focused on the culture of the Indian diaspora. Partition: 1947 releases on 18 August.
Watch the trailer here: