hilda_doolittle (medeacaesura) wrote in ohnotheydidnt,

Gurinder Chadha's new movie whitewashes British colonialism

Gurinder Chadha (director of the classic movie Bend it like Beckham) has a new movie coming out called Viceroy's House. It is about the last few days of the British Raj in India and focuses on the Mountbattens (the last Viceroy of India) and ends with the Partition of British India into India and Pakistan.

According to writer Fatima Bhutto (yes, she is related to Benazir; Fatima is the niece of the late PM of Pakistan and granddaughter of former PM Zulfikar), the film glorifies and idealizes British rule in the subcontinent and has a benevolent attitude towards the British. The freedom struggle and Indian anti-colonialist leadership are entirely absent from the narrative, as is the exploitative nature of British rule. Ultimately, freedom is seen as a gift that the Brits granted to the residents of the subcontinent and not the result of a protracted struggle against imperialism. Apparently, the portrayals of famous leaders like Nehru, Jinnah and others are condescending. Most of the Indian characters in the movie are servants of the Mountbatten household and are seen as bickering and quarrelsome amongst themselves.

In particular, Chadha lays the blame of the Partition of the Subcontinent (and the bloody violence that would follow) at the feet of Muslims and Jinnah by downplaying both the British history of fomenting religious tension over the century, as well as the shoddy way in which the subcontinent was partitioned by the departing British (headed by Mountbatten). Even worse, the major riots shown in the movies are all perpetuated by Muslims when in fact every major religious group- Hindu, Muslim and Sikh- were active perpetrators of communal violence during the Partition. Ultimately, the movie is anti-Muslim.

The review also quotes a disgusting line by Chadha who said she was from Rawalpindi which ended up being on the wrong side after Partition (wtf).

Gillian Anderson and Hugh Boneville are the lead actors. Huma Qureishi and the late Om Puri are also in this.

Ultimately, "Viceroy’s House is the film of a deeply colonised imagination."

Chaddha is now claiming that her film is "wilfully represented as anti-Muslim". RME.


This August will be the 70th anniversary of the Partition and the largest migration in human history. Sad that this shit movie came out now....
Tags: bollywood, british celebrities, race / racism, south asian celebrities

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