Gurinder Chadha says her film Viceroy House seeks to 'celebrate the freedom struggle'
Gurinder Chadha defends the depiction of the freedom struggle in her new film.
The number of people who died in the violence following India’s independence struggle is still disputed, but most historians believe it was a million civilians or more. What is not in doubt is that they died in the most horrifying circumstances.
Arson, torture, mass rape, desecration of temples and indiscriminate murder was commonplace. This is the backdrop of Gurinder Chadha's next film, Viceroy House.
"The film is a timely reminder of what happens when politicians and leaders start using divide and rule," Gurinder Chadha told Reuters in an interview. "Eventually, it leads to violence and it leads to death, and that doesn't serve anyone."
The film focuses on the final pre-independence days in office of Lord Mountbatten, played by Downton Abbey star Hugh Bonneville.
Bonneville's co-star as Lady Mountbatten is The X-Files actress Gillian Anderson. The main protagonists among their staff are played by award-winning Indian actress Huma Qureshi and U.S. actor Manish Dayal. The film also stars veteran Indian actor Om Puri, who died in January.
However, Pakistani writer Fatima Bhutto launched a scathing attack on the film in The Guardian, calling it 'a deeply colonised imagination' and a 'servile pantomime of partition'.
Speaking to Scroll.in, Chadha addressed Bhutto's scathing attack. "My film has been misinterpreted by some. But I don’t mind criticism."
Chadha wrote a counter-piece to Bhutto's in The Gaurdian that said, "My film does not ignore the freedom struggle – it celebrates that struggle. It does not ignore the colonial policy of divide and rule, but challenges it. Above all, it does not show the Muslim community as sole perpetrators of violence."
Partition: 1947 banned in Pakistan; Gurinder Chadha expresses disappointment on Twitter
Gurinder Chadha said that she is disappointed that her film Partition: 1947 did not release in "the land of her ancestors".
Partition: 1947 - Gurinder Chadha's film is a pointless exercise where Lord Mountbatten is made the hero
The confusion in the way Gurinder Chadha handles scenes in Partition: 1947 leaves one unconvinced that the high (the British) and the low (the Indians) are not actually equals.
Partition:1947 music launch: Gurinder Chadha, AR Rahman, Huma Qureshi release OST
Gurinder Chadha launched the music of her film Partition:1947 in Mumbai on 4 July 2017