Thursday, August 24, 2017

The painful division of colonial India

My wife and I enjoyed watching Viceroy's House. It chronicles the last days of British colonial rule in India and the events leading to the partition into two nations, India and Pakistan. It uses the powerful device of "upstairs downstairs", showing how the political negotiations and events happening with the Viceroy "upstairs" play out in the lives of the servants "downstairs". This effectively shows how the political decisions of the powerful bring pain and conflict to the everyday relationships of ordinary citizens.

One surprising thing, particularly given it the Indian screenwriter, was the very positive and sympathetic portrayal of Mountbatten and his wife. Others do not view them in such a way. Here is one critical review of the movie from my favourite Indian newspaper.

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