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GURINDER CHADHA · UK/India · 2017 · 106 mins · NOT RATED
IMDBRotten Tomatoes

In 1947, Lord Mountbatten’s vice-regal residence in India had 34 reception rooms, 10 dining rooms, a private cinema and acres of marble. Where better, then, to set an upstairs-downstairs tale of diplomats and their 500 servants during the last decadent days of the British Empire? To seal the Downton-Abbey-goes-to-Delhi conceit, director Gurinder Chadha (“Bend It Like Beckham”) has cast Hugh Bonneville as Mountbatten and Gillian Anderson as his wife, Edwina, in a drama that observes the politicking in the run-up to the partition of the Indian subcontinent into separate Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority Pakistan.

However, while the Mountbattens take tea on the lawn, a romance is brewing in the servants’ quarters between secretary Aalia (Huma Qureshi), a Muslim, and valet Jeet (Manish Dayal), who is Hindu. The course of true love is in peril, however, because Aalia’s father plans for her to marry the chauffeur of Pakistani leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Chadha’s intention is to bring understanding of the devastating effect of Partition to a wider audience, with an easy ‘Upstairs, Downstairs’ entry point.

The carnage after Partition, with mass killings and 14 million refugees on the road, is shown in fiction and newsreel fact. And in a poignant moment in the end credits we realize that Chadha’s family were among those fleeing. --The Times

The most profound accomplishment of this haunting film is Chadha's ability to manage the multi-protagonist elements and the multi-layered story, forging a cohesive and satisfying epic. Urban Cinefile
Cast Gillian Anderson, Michael Gambon, Hugh Bonneville
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