Viceroy's House (2017) - full transcript

New Dehli in March 1947. The huge and stately Viceroy's Palace is like a beehive. Its five hundred employees are busy preparing the coming of Lord Louis Mountbatten, who has just been appointed new (and last) viceroy of India by prime minister Clement Attlee. Mountbatten, whose difficult task consists in overseeing the transition of British India to independence, arrives at the Palace, accompanied by his Edwina, his liberal-minded wife and by his eighteen-year-old daughter Pamela. Meanwhile, in the staff quarters, a love story is born between Jeet, a Hindu, and Aalia, a Muslim beauty. Things will prove difficult - not to say very difficult - both on the geopolitical and personal level.

Oi! Jeet! What took you so long?

This is what I imagine
England looks like.

England is all slums
and bombsites.

- You know why they're letting this go?
- No.

The war has exhausted them.
They can't afford to keep us.

Careful, she'll hear you.

Queen Victoria, Empress of India.
She never even set a foot here.

Now Mountbatten sahib

can finally take his great-grandmother
back home.

This is the new recruit, Jeet Kumar.
He's Punjabi, like me.

From my village near Lahore.
I have known him since he was a boy.

Very good, sir, very capable.

It is a great honour
to be in Viceroy's House.

I spoke with your last employer
on the telephone this morning.

The Governor of Punjab expressed
his regret at losing you.

You'll be working with Mr Gupta
in the inner circle.

We are responsible for the personal
care of the Viceroy.

It is a position of great trust,
you understand?

Yes, sir.

A privilege.

Mountbatten sahib is a heroic man.
He freed Burma.


Now he has come to free India.

You think you Indians are ready
to run your own civil service?

Courts of law?

Your own armed forces?

We've learnt from the best, sir.

I have chosen you, not because of
your vast experience,

but because The Honourable
Pamela Mountbatten is 18

and might appreciate your youth.

But what about my duties here?

This is an honour I am giving you.

Yes, ma'am.

The men translate for statesmen while
we translate chitchat for English child.

I hear she's friends with
Princess Elizabeth.

Protocol - stand to attention
when they pass.

Then she'll be looking down
her long Mountbatten nose at...

Oi, sala, move.

Stop staring at them.


Sorry, miss. My friend is new.

He doesn't know the protocol yet.

Aalia, we're late.

Wait, sala. Who is she?

A Hindu boy like you
and a Muslim girl?

I knew her father when he was in jail
in Lahore.

You started out as a policeman?

Yes, sir. I have been under-valet
for two years.

Why did you leave your job?

I was working in a jail, sir.

Many of our leaders
were in prison there.

I found myself unable to turn keys, sir.

And yet...

you'd work for the British Viceroy?

He will not be Viceroy for long, sir.

Freedom is coming.

Better to be close to power and watch

than to agitate against it.

How else will we step in
when our time comes?

What's that? Look, Mizzy.

What can you see?
What can you see?

That's more like it.

Stop hogging the mirror, Daddy.

You know, the Aussies called him
a beaut.

And who can deny it?

Churchill called this
the worst job in the world.

Well, he's wrong.
Burma was the worst job in the world.

You're giving a nation back to its people.
How bad can it be?

Churchill was wrong about Gandhi too.

- What did he call him?
- A half-naked fakir.

That's really rather rude.

Yes, British Empire brought to
its knees by a man in a loin cloth.

Poor Winston.

He's walking around like a chap
who's swallowed a wasp.

Well, he is part of the past, darling.

You're bringing the future.

We are.


Then let's not make a mess of it.


Your Excellency.

Not for much longer.

Welcome. You know Lord Ismay,
Chief of Staff.

- Pug, good to see you.
- Glad to be on the team.

Welcome to the infernal heat, my dear.

- Lady Wavell.
- Dickie.

I must say, I think it's a little shabby,
the way Whitehall's ousted you.

- Sir? One photo, sir?
- I was always Churchill's man

and now Atlee's Labour government
has swept the board.

Lord Louis, what do you hope
to achieve?

I have been given a very specific task.

I am to be the last Viceroy of India

and I shall carry out the role
with great pride.


Oh, this is quite something.


This is the indoor staff.

Good heavens!

Fifty and something, I believe.

On behalf of you all...

I'd like to welcome the incoming
Viceroy and his family.

I am sure that you will give them
the same good service

that you have always given us.


Who is he?

My father was jailed for marching
with Gandhiji.

My mother and I were not allowed
to visit him,

but there was this young
Hindu policeman who helped us.

He took letters, food, medicine
for my father.

But your face when you saw him.

I was... I was only surprised
to see him.

- Stop making mischief.
- This solves a mystery, Aalia.

Sunita, there's nothing between us.

Nothing for you, maybe.

I don't envy you, Dickie.

I tried to solve it, but it's operation
madhouse, if you ask me.

Thousands dead already.

Thirty million Hindus and Sikhs
want a united India

but many of the 100 million
Muslims do not.

The Muslim minority don't want to be
part of India.

They want their own country, Pakistan.

There's such rancour between
the leaders now,

it's nigh on impossible to get them
in the same room.

Well, whatever their differences are,
all Indians have one thing in common.

- What's that?
- They can't wait to get rid of us.

- Mr Nehru, sir.
- Hm.

Mr Nehru and some of the other
leaders were kind enough

to come and meet my plane.
I asked them all to eat with us.

It seemed the least I could do.
I hope it's not inconvenient.

- Excellency.
- Good afternoon.

- Lord Ismay.
- Hello.

My dear, dear Dickie.

Panditji, thank you for joining us.

It is always a pleasure to be in
the Viceroy's house and not in his jails.

You would not have needed
to be jailed

had you not been trying to undermine
us as we fought the Nazis.

We promised you help in return
for independence.

How could we fight Hitler

when our own country was already
under foreign occupation?

2.5 million of your fellow countrymen
found a way.

- Those Indians volunteered.
- Indeed.

You would not have won
without their sacrifice.

You owe India a great debt.

And Panditji owes Cambridge
a great debt

for honing his debating skills.

There are 34
reception rooms, 34 state rooms,

ten private dining rooms, a cinema.

Makes Buckingham Palace
look like a bungalow.

I'm so hot, I think I might actually die.

Ma'am, here's the food for the dog.

Would you take them onto the terrace?
It was such a long journey.

It's just terribly, terribly hot.

Ah, just there, please.

What do we have here?

I haven't seen chicken like this
since before rationing.

Lady Sahib, if the food is incorrect,
we are very sorry. We will take it away.

No, please, leave it.

You don't think...

Why not?


The Order of the Garter,
worn singularly

or together with the Order of the Star
of India, depending on the occasion.

If I want to push the boat out,
then I will wear all four.

Now to dressing.

We're going to get this down to
a fine art.

I never want to spend more than
two minutes dressing.

Yes, Excellency.

Not "Excellency" till after
the ceremony. "Sir" will do.

Right. Socks, no suspenders.

Braces, leave on the trousers.

Have you seen that before?

- Hm?
- No, sir.

How much time do we waste
buttoning trousers?

One just steps into these and...
The whole of the Navy uses them now.

This morning I'd say we're pulling out
all the stops.


Duleep Singh, isn't it?

Yes, sir.

Lord Wavell speaks very highly of you.

- Thank you, sir. Honour to serve.
- And...?

Jeet Kumar, sir. From Punjab.

He's the new boy.

Well, Kumar, we have something
in common there.


Are we ready?

Thirteen minutes.


We'll do better next time.

I, Louis Francis Albert Victor Nicholas,
Viscount Mountbatten of Burma,

do swear true allegiance to our
Sovereign Lord, King George VI,

Defender of the Faith,
Emperor of India,

and I will faithfully fill the office
of Viceroy of India

according to law.

May God be my guide.

Oi! Have you never seen gories
in fine dresses before?

You may be new but you must know
your place.

Oi, Mohsin bhai. Leave him be.
He's my friend.

You Punjabis always look after
your own.

- You Bengalis...
- Hey! Don't talk like that.

Get back to your places.

This is not a normal
Viceroyalty on which I am embarking.

I am under no illusion about
the difficulty of my task.

I shall need the greatest goodwill
of the greatest possible number

and I am asking India today
for that goodwill.

Why don't you listen
to what he has to say?

Because I've heard it all before.

Ubba, maybe the Mountbattens
will be different.

He is the King's cousin.

He has empire in his blood.

My husband's study
is the first priority.

It has to be refurbished.
It needs light and brightness.

He says it reeks of failed negotiations.

Consider it done, ma'am.

I'll continue my tour after breakfast,
Miss Reading,

but in the meantime,

would you put your heads together
with the ADCs

and rethink the guest lists?

From now on almost half of all guests
at all occasions must be Indian.

- Yes, ma'am.
- Also, I want to meet Indian women.

Thank you.

Sarojini Naidu, Pandit Nehru's sister,

Mrs Aruna Ali Asif,
Rajkumari Amrit Kaur.

- Have you got that, Miss Noor?
- Yes, ma'am.

Here are the riders.

I have a feeling, Pammy,

that might be the only hour of the day
I get to spend with you.

Each day is so crammed.

Two poached eggs, tomatoes,
sausages, tea.

Lots to do.

Darling, did you know that 92%
of the population is illiterate?

Good morning.

And that one in five babies dies
before they're four months old?

Edwina, I could not be blessed
with a more active, able wife,

- but sometimes we have to accept...
- I know.

what we cannot change.

But we can change a lot, Dickie.

We really can,
and we absolutely have to.

India's problems are not just political.
They are social and economic.

Almost half the babies born here
die before they're five.

That cannot be the legacy the British
leave India after three centuries.

We have enough time
to improve the infrastructure

- so that when we leave...
- That is not why we're here.

- Yes.
- You'll wear yourself out.

You mean I'll wear you out.


Edwina, I have the governors
arriving from the provinces.

I know. I'm entertaining their wives.

And I'm very grateful
for everything you do.

Miss Hudson, is there something
the matter?

Nothing at all, ma'am, only I do wish
they wouldn't come so close.

Perhaps your very able gifts
would be better used in Surrey.

I beg your pardon, ma'am?

Would you please pack your bags
and go home?

Have you got the papers? I'll need
them for the meeting after this one.

Yes, ma'am.

Miss Noor?

I have a message for you, from home.

Go on.

I had to see you.

How is your father?

Jeet, what are you doing?
Nothing has changed.

I see you are still unmarried.

I am still promised to another.

I have tried every day for the past
two years to forget you.

Then try harder.

The violence is escalating
day by day.

This hatred between Hindu, Sikh
and Muslim

is poisoning everything we've built.

In Bengal the violence is
compounded by a famine

which the people think we are doing
precious little to relieve.

The sooner we can hand over
to an Indian government...

the better.

But what government?

These wretched Indian leaders
won't agree.

If the Muslims are denied their Pakistan

my province will have all-out civil war.

The same in the Punjab.

The Hindus won't tolerate a Pakistan
they haven't voted for.

Oh, God! Gentlemen...

Our saviour is here.

He walks among us.

Off the record, Pug,

we're not sure Dickie Mountbatten's
the man for this job.

Look, he has amazing ability
to get along with people.

But these Indians are as slippery
as eels.

The Indians have to believe

that whatever the future of India is,

it is their idea.

And trust me,

if anyone can get them to agree,

it's Dickie.

He could charm a vulture off a corpse.

Nothing will stop the violence now, Pug.

It's already far too late.

And if Mountbatten thinks charm
alone can do it, then he's a fool.

Thank you for your candour.

- Your Excellency...
- I know how grave the situation is.

I'm meeting the leaders
and all the maharajas,

who of course have their own fears

about what a transfer of power
will bring.

There is a great deal to do.

I want to hear from all of you.

The growing conflict between Muslim
and Hindu

has left 40,000 dead.

The new Viceroy arrives in India

amid scenes of terrible death
and destruction.

It would be a disgrace

and an everlasting slur on Britain's
standing in the world

if we were to abandon 400 million
primitive Indians to their fate.

Do it nicely.

You have to cut neatly.
It has to be neat.

They all have to be the same size.

This is most irregular.
The staff will not understand.

I want them to know who we are.

Lady Mountbatten.

Your Excellency.

Aap door!

Get the chickens from the oven now!

Our head English chef left us rather
unexpectedly with Lord Wavell.

We are awaiting his replacement
from England.

Meanwhile, may I present
our acting head chef,

Ram Lal Chandra,

He has been fully trained
in the finest European cuisine

and should meet your requirements

I do believe we can save the new
English chef the journey.

Mr Chandra will do
a perfectly good job.

That wonderful dinner you served last
night put Claridges to shame.

Lady Sahib, the credit must also
go to my staff

and my sous-chef, Jinnah Abdul Malik.

He prepares a most excellent
Lamb Wellington

and bread and butter pudding
with the finest marmalade.

That's all well and good, but with
your agreement, Chef Chandra,

I'd like to make a few changes.

From now on there'll be more Indians
of all faiths round our table.

Their culinary needs must be waited for.

Many of them eat with their fingers,
Your Excellency.

If that is custom, then it's perfectly

Lady Sahib, many Indians are

No mutton, no chicken, no game.

Is there something wrong?

What he was saying...

Your Excellency.

It is so fine that you want
to be more inclusive.

We have waited a long time for this day.

I appreciate your understanding.

And your skill.

I need to meet with the governors' wives.

What kind of an example
are you setting, Abdul bir?


- Z for...?
- Zebra!

I wish I could communicate with them.

Why don't you try this?

Mera naam Pamela hai.

Er... Mera naam Pamela hai.

No Viceroy or members of his family

have ever visited the staff
compound before.

The houses look small
for an entire family.

Where do you live here, Aalia?

I live right there with my father.

Did you go to the school?

No, I grew up in Amritsar.

I went to a ladies' college.

And then events turned unfortunate.

My father lost his eyesight and...

and now I work.

That must be very hard.

Not at all. My work gives me

That's what my mother says.

She says she didn't know who she was
until she started working

and really she's tireless.

I hardly saw her during the war.
She was so busy.

Welcome, Jeet, to my son's
engagement party.

You know of course my son, Sanjit.

Of course. Welcome here.

Have you met this wonderful girl
who is going to be his wife, Sunita?

No, we have not formally met yet,
but I am delighted.

- Congratulations to you both.
- Thank you.

Hello, sir.

I hope you will remember me.
I am Jeet Kumar.

Ah, Jeet Kumar.

The little policeman.

Barely old enough to tie his shoes.

- Ha, ha! Yes, sir.
- Sit, sit.

It's good to meet you again,
Jeet Kumar.

Remember, you used to read me

Yes, sir. David Copperfield,

Bleak House.

What brings you to Delhi?

I have great expectations.

I am working for Mountbatten sahib.

Aalia, I thought you'd never get here.

I was with Lady Pamela.

- What's she like?
- Full of questions.

She's actually interested in us.

She wants to be involved
and improve the school.

Aren't you married yet?

That girl you used to talk to me about,
did she change her mind?

No, sir...

but I live in hope.


- Ubba.
- Ah, Aalia.

Do you remember Jeet Kumar?

Yes, Ubba.

My daughter too is still unmarried

but her young man, Asif,
will soon be back.

He has been in Europe all this time,
fighting in the British army.

As soon as he returns
we will have the wedding.

This is Aalia's poor mother's
dying wish.

She chose you a good man.

- Don't you think, Aalia?
- Yes, Ubba.

We must go now. It's late. Come.

Come, my friend. I'll walk you home.

You stay, celebrate with your friend.

- Good night, sir.
- Good night, Jeet Kumar.


That prison took away my sight.

It could have taken away my dignity too.

You made sure it did not.

I'm grateful.

I'll always be grateful
for your care for my father.

There you are! Come on.

Let's show them how we do things
in Punjab.

What harm is in a dance?

Oi, sala. She doesn't want to dance.

Watch what you're doing.

He wasn't doing anything. It's fine.

You dance with your own kind.

- My own kind?
- Calm down.

Have some respect.

Since when does a Mussalman
tell us what to do?

Come, come, come.

Shake now.

Musicians, please...

It's three o'clock in the morning.

Come to bed.

Your family tree can wait.

Edwina, I wasn't...

I'm reading the governors' reports.

Very unpleasant.

I fear a migraine looms.

- Did you take one of your pills?
- They are not working.

Nothing works. It's just...

Jenkins' report on Punjab is the worst.

The more I discover here, the more...

depressing it is.

The real lesson of the day is that
our time frame for exiting won't work.

We have to act more quickly
than I thought.


this needs time.

The longer we stay, the more we risk
further violence.

We haven't the means or the manpower
to keep the peace.

Don't rush.


This is why you're terrible at chess.

Pug believes that Pakistan is inevitable.

He thinks I should meet Jinnah first
to understand why.

Nehru has offered you
a very precious thing.


Why don't you talk with him first?

Now, we want to find
the best possible solution.

Congress will not contemplate
dividing our Mother India.

It would make a mockery of everything
that we have striven for

and it would break Gandhiji's heart.

Then how are we to keep the peace?

You want us to quit India,
but how can we leave

when you can't agree on what
your future should be?

Are you blaming us
for the situation here?

I'm not blaming anyone, but at all costs
we must avoid a civil war.

Forgive me, but this is the result of
British policy.

You have done everything

to foster hatred between
our different communities.

Separate schools, textbooks, elections.

That was always your policy,

divide and rule.

So now you have divided us,
you ask me for a solution.

"Without peace,

"all other dreams vanish

"and are reduced to ashes."

You went on to say

that the only alternative to co-existence
is co-destruction.

But I'm really only here to ask you
to pass on a message.

Your sister very kindly offered
to show me round Congress.

Please, would you tell her
I'd be honoured to accept?


Your wife is very well read.


The irony is, of course, that she's far
more of a political animal than I am.

She's an idealist,
tends to the left. I'm...

more of a military man.

What are your orders here?

To bring independence to India
as smoothly as is possible.

But what is that India?
What will it be?

India is her people,

individual men and women

held together by indivisible threads.

Our spirit can never be beaten.

Through all the years of your empire,
it has only grown stronger.

We belong together, in a secular...

This is what our fathers fought for.

I'm so happy that we're here
to witness it.

What is the first thing
you'll do when India becomes free?

I'm going to climb to the top of
the dome of Viceroy's House

and scream for joy.

And you?

I'm going to marry you.

How can that ever happen?

You are so courageous.

You are the bravest woman I know.

Don't run from what is true.

What do you personally think?

To divide India would be a tragedy.

Then please, talk to Jinnah.

This is quite a new sensation.

What is?

Trusting the Viceroy.

I've spent nine years of my life
in British jails,

but I believe in your sincerity, Dickie,

and I believe that you love my country.

Don't let Jinnah persuade you
to tear it in two.


I have brought someone to see you.

Aalia, where have you been?

Ubba, here is Jeet Kumar.

- Hello, sir.
- Hello.

We have something important
to speak...

Later, later.

You will never guess who is here.


- Asif?
- As-Salaam-Alaikum.


I was so worried that you wouldn't
recognise me.

It's been too long.

I thought the British Army
would never let us leave.

We were the last regiment
to be demobbed.

Finally I feel the war is over.

Asif, this is Jeet Kumar,
my old friend from Lahore.

Aalia, can you believe, Asif's working
with Jinnah sahib?

Mohammad Ali Jinnah?

Only as his driver and aide.

I'm aiming to serve him however I can.

Asif, tell Mr Jinnah,

many Muslims also fought for India.

We don't want a separate country.

- Jinnah sahib is a visionary, sir.
- He is a troublemaker.

He's the only one
speaking for us.

- Mr Jinnah...
- Mr Jinnah...

Spokesman for a large group of
India's Mohammedans

is the leader of the All-India Muslim
League, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

In direct conflict with the Congress
party's request

for national independence...

Pakistan Zindabad!

he has demanded that Britain create
a separate and independent state

out of those provinces in which
Muslims predominate.

We are also looking
to the future.

I learned this when I visited
the ancient spires of Cambridge.

Oh, yes, a haven for historians.

Cambridge also creates visionaries.

Such as your old friend Mr Nehru.

A little after Mr Nehru's time, in 1933,
a group of Cambridge students

came up with a truly magnificent
original idea.

And what was that?


The land of the pure.

Muslims do not want to be reduced

to the unequal position of negroes
in America.

I assure you Muslims would never be
treated as second-class citizens.

But we are a minority of one to four.
How can you guarantee that?

If you engage with the other leaders,

constitutional protection for
Muslim citizens can be secured.

It is the other leaders who refuse
to engage with me.

I already have the solution.

The creation of an Islamic country,

Could you really see India cut in half?

Sometimes surgery can save
the patient.

Where do you propose
to make the incision?

Pakistan will include all the states
that have a Muslim majority.

But what about those states
where the numbers are equal?

The Punjab, Bengal,
what do we do there?

Include them in Pakistan.

The ideals of Islam have taught us
democracy and justice.

Our Hindu and Sikh citizens will be
able to worship

and to vote as they please,

but we Muslims will be protected.

We will be in a majority.

Perhaps there was a time when
I believed

our interests could be secured
within a united India,

but that was long ago.

Nehru and Gandhi have shown
no respect for me or my views,

so how can I trust them to respect
the views of my fellow Muslims?

Look at this branch of my family tree.

See how it withers with
no new shoots.

That's my Uncle Nicholas.

He was Tsar of Russia.

He and his entire family and staff
bayoneted, set on fire,

in order to create someone's utopia.

New nations are rarely born in peace.

But to yoke Hindus and Muslims
together in one unequal state

is a recipe for the very bloodshed
you want to avoid.


you are one fifth of
the world's population.

India would be the greatest power
in all Asia.

India has never been a true nation.

It only looks that way on a map.

The British divided Ireland
to maintain peace.

They are dividing Palestine.

They must do the same here.

I have heard with my own ears.

Jinnah sahib said he will cut India
in half.

- He will give us Pakistan.
- Yes.

No, no, no, no, no.
That cannot happen.

- Why can't it happen?
- Gandhiji said over his dead body.

He would not lie.

Pakistan Zindabad.

- Pakistan Zindabad.
- Stop! Stop!

Stop, brothers!

Stop, brothers! Stop!

The British have controlled India
this past 300 years

by making sure we fight amongst
ourselves just like this.


No, Mohsin, do not allow this poison
to enter our thoughts.

- Guptaji, Pakistan...
- Gentlemen!

Whatever is going on
in those rooms upstairs

is none of your business.

It's 5.45.

Dinner is now running late.

All of you, jaldi, jaldi.

Your family are from the Punjab,
aren't they?

Yes, sir, they are.

In my village, I have five sisters,
Thirteen nieces and nine nephews.

Duleep Singh, sir, his family
are our neighbours.

Do you have Muslim neighbours too?

Of course, sir.

All the children play together.

They celebrate Diwali with us,
we celebrate Eid with them.

Sometimes there is even
marriage between us.

Are you married?

No, sir.

I do not know if it is in my destiny.

My mother dreams of it.

And your father?

He died, sir.

When I was a child.

Killed by the British at
the Jallianwala Bagh massacre.

Namaste, Bapuji,

It is a great honour to meet you, Bapu.

- This way, sir.
- Over here, please, sir.

We Indians have
always marched, campaigned

and fasted together,
regardless of our creed or class.

For so long we have been united
in our opposition to one oppressor.

And now we are leaving.

It seems freedom, although
longed for... is a fearful thing.

And with fear comes violence.
It's contagious.

But courage is even more contagious.

Shall I tell you what the solution is?

Jinnah should be asked
to form the first government.

Of independent India?

Congress must be prepared to accept
the leadership of the Muslim League

if, by so doing, they ensure
the unity of our country.

You would give the Muslims the baby
rather than carving it up?

But that's...

That's splendidly bold.

Would Congress ever be induced
to accept it?

Would Jinnah?

We must rekindle the lamp
of neighbourliness

between Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs.

You give me hope that reason
will prevail.

What we need is not reason.

We need a far greater force.

A force that politicians
seldom care to mention.



I hope you will honour me
with sharing my food.

This is goat's curd, my favourite.

- Is it?
- You must try this.

- No...
- I insist.

May I have a spoon, please?

You must try this.
This is not cow's milk.

Wish me luck.

Delicious, isn't it?

Would you like to try yourself?

I think it's what you'd call
an acquired taste...

Did you tell Asif it was too late for him?

How could I?

It's the truth.

My father has lost everything.

His wife, his sight.

He's a proud man,

unable to work, dependent on me.

Before Asif arrived, I'd forgotten what
it was like to see him really smile.

I have always made your father smile.

And you too.

Aalia? Are you all right?

Yes, ma'am.

The Viceroy certainly knows
how to throw a party.

Your Excellency.

Mr Jinnah, welcome.

May I present Mr Henry F Grady,
the American ambassador.

Your Excellencies.

Welcome, Mr Ambassador.

Ambassador to one country or to two?
The world can't wait to find out.

The answer may be in the hands
of Mr Jinnah.

It must feel pretty galling for you
to be giving all of this back.

Not at all.

Well, it is high time.


imagine life in Pakistan.

No prejudice, no tension.

It's a nation our children
will be proud of.

We were born in India.

And our parents and all our ancestors
are buried here.

- How can we leave?
- We'll visit.

I'll drive my lovely wife
in Mr Jinnah's car.

Why should we not be happy?

We've both come through hard years
and I've kept you with me, always.

I'm just a schoolgirl here.

And I was just a boy.

But I knew.


I am not that girl any more.

I understand this distance
you're keeping.

You must have felt I abandoned you.

But I am here now.


Give me a chance.

I'll prove I can look after you.

Miss Jinnah, I've been longing
to meet you.

And I you.

Your Excellency... a word.

Please excuse me.

Just one moment.

That is not a conversation
I should leave.

This better be good, Pug.

Anything but good.

There's been a massacre in Punjab.

Half of Rawalpindi is on fire.

Muslims burned down
Sikh and Hindu houses.

Brutal reprisals have spread
through Muslim streets.

Order the Punjab police out in force.

- We have.
- If this is replicated...

With respect, there are
18,000 towns like this in Punjab.

We don't have the men.

Then call in the Army.

There are barely any
English soldiers left.

The Indians have divided loyalties.

How can we ask Sikhs to fire on
Sikhs, Muslims on Muslims?

I'm telling you, Dickie,
India is a ship on fire.

Daddy, guess what?

- A telegram has come...
- Pamela, do not interrupt!

- From the King.
- Get them round the table.

All the leaders.


I'm sorry.

Please tell me what it is.

Princess Lilibet is going to marry

But that's wonderful.

They want me for a bridesmaid.

That's splendid, Pammy.

Come on, now. Let's not have this.
Can't let the side down, not in public.

Following the bad news
of communal fighting in India,

with his wife and daughter, the
Viceroy has been paying a visit

to the north-west frontier and Punjab.

He visited many of the places where
the worst clashes had occurred

and saw for himself the serious extent
of the rioting

and the vast amount of damage done.

Let Jinnah be Prime Minister
of independent India.

Bapuji, it won't work.

Why not?

With the best will in the world,
Jinnah will never agree.

He wouldn't even come to this table.

He said the time for talking is over.

I think it's a very daring idea.

Daring, yes, but feasible?

Jinnah's not a fool, Dickie.

He knows that you can't place
300 million Hindus

under the rule of the Muslim League.
They won't have it.

But if you leaders give him
your support?

This is a democracy.

At the first opportunity,
the people will vote him out.

Which brings us back to square one:

- The Muslim minority and Pakistan.
- I agree.

Why do you all not see,
if we oppose partition,

India remains united.

How many towns
descending into slaughter?

We've tried too long to break
this deadlock.

Singh, Kumar.

The world moves on.

Not as we like it, but it moves.

We will have our independence.

Let Jinnah have his Pakistan.

In five years' time, he will be knocking
at our door

and begging to be part of India again.

It is not possible to divide the heart
and expect it to work.

Gandhiji, how can we reach
an agreement with Jinnah

if you can't agree with Jawahar?

Every moment we debate
brings more violence.

We can concede the provinces
with a clear Muslim majority,

but Jinnah cannot have Punjab
and Bengal.

They have large Hindu and
Sikh populations.

Then we must divide the two provinces
between the two countries.

Half of the Punjab and
Bengal to India,

the other half to Pakistan.


And which god among you
decides where the border falls?

You've spoken yourself about
the beauty of compromise.

This compromise will have
beauty, Bapu...

because it will bring peace.

The callouses on my feet,

the years in prison...

the hopes and dreams of our people

were for independence,

not partition.

No one is listening to Gandhiji.

Mountbatten sahib and Nehru
seem to agree.

Pakistan will come to be.

Ah, Allah be praised.

- Pakistan Zindabad.
- Our Pakistan.

Mohsin, our sisters are all in hiding
because of you animals.

You're the animals,
destroying the peace.

All religions are true.

We are brothers with one soul.

To divide us on religious grounds...

is against the will of God.

Division does not create peace.

It creates havoc.

Partition unleashes passions.

It does not dampen them.

We shall tear ourselves asunder

in the womb of the mother
who bears us.

The Viceroy's house is not
for the likes of this.

You are dismissed, both of you.

- Mohsin, no.
- Mohsin.

Get your things.

The guards will escort you
from your quarters.

We are guards.

Us leave? It is you who have
no place here.

One more word,
I'll have you both arrested.

Get them out of here!
Back to work!

Come, let's go, please. Jaldi!

Come on!

It's worse than Glasgow
on a Saturday night.

Thank you, my friend.

Thank you.

What happened with Ewart and the staff?
You were there, were you?

Yes, sir. It was terrible.

I've just seen Pug.

You're going to London with him?

We have to make the best possible
case to the government,

get it to endorse partition and shock
the leaders out of their intransigence

by accelerating the process.

Otherwise the bloodshed will

So when were you intending to tell me
you'd made your decision on partition?

It's the only way forward.

We've barely been here two months.

And the country is burning.

Dickie, there's no going back
on this decision.

There is no time for indecision.
I must act.

You cannot change tack so hastily.
You are a statesman, not a sailor.

Edwina, people are dying every day!

Murders, rapes, reprisals,

from Calcutta to Bombay,
Amritsar to Kahuta.

Imagine that repeated in every city
and village across India.

How much longer
do you want me to wait?

How can it be getting worse
under us?

Precisely my point.

We have no control.

But a solution is in sight.

But partition?

It may seem a good solution now,
but in the long term...

It's hard enough negotiating
with them, Edwina.

You have my support.

But not your approval.

You don't need my approval.

I have to persuade the prime minister,
Churchill, and the opposition.

Heaven help me if I can't
persuade you.

We came to give India back
her freedom.

Not to tear her apart.

We have no choice.

If we don't transfer power soon,
there may be nothing left to transfer.

The Viceroy arrives in Britain by air,
having returned for consultations

of the utmost importance regarding
the British withdrawal from India.

He can only hope that the Viceroy will
find a solution.

With communal fighting increasing in
violence, especially in the Punjab,

the task of handing over is obviously
a tremendous problem.

Curfews have been imposed
in Lahore and Calcutta,

and large areas of Bengal
and the Punjab remain unsafe.

Rawalpindi and its surrounding
villages are in a critical state.

We know that some of you
have families in these areas.

They may come to you here.

Basic accommodation
will be found

and food will be rationed
to meet demand.

A hardship fund has been
made available.

- Pamela?
- I'm here, Aalia.

This child has a very high fever.

Yes, he's dehydrated.

In certain cases,
permission will be given

for you to go and bring
your people back.

I need to get back to our village.

The refugees have told me terrible
things. I need to get home.


The violence is caused by uncertainty.

If the British do what Mountbatten says,

he says the violence will stop.

And you believe him?

What country will our village be in?

What if it's Pakistan?

There is a madness taking hold here,
a hatred.

It's soldiers deserting the army,

men from other towns
forming into gangs and militias.

They want our land.

- Well, then, I must go with you.
- No.

I need you to stay here.

What if they've left already?

What if they arrive here and we are gone?
You stay, I'll go.

Have you seen this, sir?

- Ah.
- Welcome home, Daddy.

Thank you, darling.

- How was Westminster?
- Deliciously cool.

The cabinet passed the plan
in the blink of an eye.

We got the green light
to speed up independence.

What about Churchill?

He was quite sanguine.
Accepted the plan.

He was very complimentary.

He pointed out that Dickie has,
in a matter of weeks,

achieved what Wavell and
all the previous Viceroys

failed to achieve in years.

The government and the press
are calling it the Mountbatten Plan.

Well done.

The Mountbatten Plan?

Mr Jinnah, what is your solution
to end the violence?

- Is partition the only way?
- Is Pakistan the answer?

Mr Jinnah, what will you be doing
to stop the escalating violence?

Mr Nehru, a moment, please.

Mr Nehru, do you have the support
of the Indian National Congress?

What is your answer for freedom
in India, please, Mr Nehru?

Now... Why has Gandhi not attended?

He apologises but he cannot assent
to the Mountbatten Plan.

But will he go against it?

- Will he try to speak out, to sabotage...
- Bapuji has informed me

that today is his day of silence.

Why must everything now be rushed?

I wanted all of the Punjab and Bengal.

You expect me to accept
a moth-eaten Pakistan?

You should be grateful.

You've held us to ransom
for long enough.

- Mr Nehru, it is you...
- I am chairing this meeting

and I demand that we respect
one another.

The British cabinet has formally
approved the partition of India.

By the end of this meeting,
it is my intention

that all parties will accept the plan
and our new timeline.


We'll need a week at least

to get formal approval from
the Muslim League.

I can't hold this position for a week.

You've got your Pakistan,

which at one time no one in the world
thought you'd get.

If I don't have your agreement,
this plan will collapse,

and the country that you have conjured
out of thin air will disappear.

What about the borders?

Who decides?

And where exactly is this Pakistan
we are signing for?

The cabinet has appointed
Sir Cyril Radcliffe, a barrister,

to chair the border commission.

He will be assisted by members of
the Muslim League and by Congress.

It will be a wholly impartial process.

They say, don't they, that tea is
actually cooling in the hot weather?

- Would you like it cool, sir?
- No, no. No, thank you.

- Sir Cyril, welcome.
- Your Excellency.

Good to see you.

- You know Lord Ismay.
- Everyone knows Pug, sir.

You've come in the hottest summer
for 75 years,

114 degrees in the shade.

- I'll adjust, I'm sure.
- You don't mind if I...

Now, Atlee's told you of the task.

Yes, you want a fair decision
on a boundary line

dividing 90 million Muslims, Sikhs
and Hindus.

Quite so.
Tea with milk.

And you want it by August 15th.

Actually, that's one day shy.

I've agreed to move the date up to
midnight of August 14th

to satisfy the astrologers.

That's less than five weeks.

You'll have a small team working
with you.

They'll be representing
all the parties concerned.

We'll provide you with maps,
census figures, geographical data,

and any other information you require.

You're asking me to draw a line
through people's houses,

rice paddies, jute fields...

Look, I understand.
It's a daunting proposition, yes.

And we all accept that some anomalies
will be inevitable.

Radcliffe, how well do you know
Bengal and the Punjab?

I assumed Pug would have
told you, sir.

I've never set foot in India in my life.

What I don't understand is 15 August.

That's just a few weeks away.

Why so soon, huh? They were
supposed to leave next year.

They don't want to be accountable
for the carnage.

Mountbatten sahib is trying
to prevent carnage.

That is why he moved the date.

You listen to his faithful serving boy.

People need certainty.

That is his intention.

Jeet, intentions are one thing.
Actions another.

The British are like rats
leaving a sinking ship.

They say the gutters in Lahore
are flowing like rivers of blood.

People killing each other when
we've lived together for centuries.

- The army is deserting.
- Listen to me...

Soldiers keeping their weapons,
groups of militia running wild.

Listen to me, this is nothing
but a lawless land grab.

How is Mountbatten sahib
going to stop all the violence?

Vast mobs have been out
in the streets of Bombay

during six days of violence that have
included murder,

as well as wrecking, burning
and looting,

a question of state boundaries.

Curfew was one of the methods
adopted in Delhi

in an attempt to get the communal
fighting under control.

So one part of the picture shows
empty streets and locked doors.

The other picture of Delhi shows
mob violence, the looting of shops,

and the consequent loss of life
and destruction of property.



Aalia! Wait, wait, wait.

What happened? Where is Ubba?

Where are you, sir? Aalia?


Don't you know me?

Don't you know my father?

Where's Ubba?

No violence will be
tolerated in Viceroy's House.

Perpetrators will be dismissed and
jailed, their families told to leave.

Ubba? Ubba!

The harshest measures will be taken.
There will be no riot here!

It's time for us
to come together now.

What we face is the most significant

in the history of this sub-continent.

Our children and our grandchildren

may one day ask us how we served.

We must ensure we can be proud
of what we say.

In less than 30 days now,
India will be divided.

The partition council has agreed
that the national assets and debt

will be apportioned 80% to India
and 20% to Pakistan.

We will be following that same
formula in this great house.


and I am sorry to say this...

each one of you must choose which
country will have your allegiance,


or Pakistan.

Suhara Kapur, India.


I, too. Pakistan.


Sanjit Gupta.



Mr Ali.

Sir, I want to go to Pakistan.

I wish you well.

Jeet, what's going to happen to us?


- I'm so scared.
- Come.

Soup spoons, Fifteen cases for India,
three cases for Pakistan.

Teaspoons, Forty cases for India,
ten cases for Pakistan.

Butter knives, Twenty cases for India,
five cases for Pakistan.

Tuba, India.

French horn, Pakistan.

Right, what do the latest reports say?

Ah, well, that we know about.

India. Pakistan.

- India.
- Next!


India. Pakistan.

India. Pakistan.

I don't know what to do.

Your father's a good man.

He'll understand.


We belong together.

Take this kara.

It shows our unity.

I'm scared.

Wuthering Heights must come to

Then Jane Eyre stays here
and all of the Jane Austen.

India. Pakistan.

But we can't break the encyclopaedias.
That would be a crime.

No, 20% comes to Pakistan.
A to E or S to Z?

- Give me A to E.
- This is absurd.

Where communities are so mixed

it is of course impossible to draw

which will segregate Hindus on
the one hand, Muslims on the other.

Fires raged unchecked in many

while pitched battles continued
between Muslims and Hindus.

Casualties totalled 3,000 killed
and 8,000 injured.

Very well. Thank you. Where?

Ubba, are you comfortable?


I have to take my father to Lahore.

Asif has very kindly agreed
to take us to the station.

My father is my first
responsibility, Jeet.

- I have to do what's best for him.
- Running away isn't best for him.

I'm trying to keep him alive.

It's all changed now.

When people see us, they don't see
Indians any more. We're Muslims.

Aalia, you are as Indian as I am.

- India is what we make it.
- Don't make it any harder, please.

Aalia, please, I am begging you,
don't do this.

Aalia, are you ready, beta?

- Just a minute, Abba.
- Who's there?

Jeet Kumar, sir.

We have to go.
Our train leaves at midnight.

I hear you helped Aalia and Ubba
when the house was set on fire.

I thank you for everything that you did.

My mother and brother will be at
the station in Lahore to receive you.

My home will be your home
just as soon as we're married.

- Tell him. Tell him, Aalia.
- Tell me what?

I know right now
it's the hardest thing to stay,

but you are brave.

- And your father...
- He has to be safe.

My father must be safe.

Goodbye, Jeet.

- We have to go now.
- Kumar?

I never thought this would
happen to my country.

But I must, for my daughter's sake.

Is your future still clouded, my friend?

Have you spoken yet
to your young woman?

Yes, sir.

It won't happen.

Why not?

Because she is leaving...

on a train for Pakistan.

It's been an honour knowing you, sir.

We have to go.

We'll be safe in Pakistan, Ubba.

Well, this really is splendid!

Mr Nehru, we in America are
well aware

of your admiration for
the Soviet Union.

I admire America too, Mr Grady.

Good, I'm glad to hear that.

There is a lot that America can do here.

After freeing ourselves from
one empire,

we'll not get too close to another.

India must go her own way.

Excuse me, sir.

Mr Radcliffe would like to speak
with you.

With your permission, sir, I'll go.

I strongly think we need more time.

Sit down.

Pug, I don't know if you really

but the commission is in deadlock
with every city we come to,

and I'm most concerned about
the fairness of the thing.

I wonder if we might not involve
some other body.

What other body?

The United Nations, for example.

And admit that we British
can't see to our own affairs?

With respect, it's a monstrous
responsibility for just one man.

I'm going to go and see Mountbatten.

Dickie has to stay impartial.
You know that.

If he comes down on either side,
the whole thing will blow up.

It's got to be a clean cut.

It's a bloody axe, Pug, cleaving
right through people's lives.

This might be everything you need.

It's a policy document drawn up by
Churchill when he was Prime Minister.

Two years ago.

It sets out the future of India.

It should make your task easier.

What's this map?

It was drawn up by Viceroy Wavell
last year.

I don't understand. There's already
a boundary line there.

I've been asked to pass it on to you.

By whom? Mountbatten?

No. He knows nothing of it.

This comes right from the top, Radcliffe.

We didn't beat the Nazis and the Japs
to give away the shop to the Soviets.

As you can see, there are no
straight lines in India.

Good heavens!

There are hundreds coming every day.

Thousands in the city.

The stories they tell...

This isn't part of Daddy's plan, is it?

This way, this way.
Please, keep moving. Keep moving.


What happened?

Are any of our family here?


Then I was... I was too late.

It was destroyed.

- What?
- Our village. They're all gone.

Men came from miles around,

Our families are gone.

My mother? My sisters?

I couldn't find them.

I hope to God they are in
a refugee camp somewhere.

This girl I found in a barn.

The only one left.

All the way back, the dead lying
by the road.

Women jumped in the well
rather than be raped.

Sir, the boundary line is drawn.

We shan't announce this until after
the independence celebrations.

Why on earth?

The pressure I've been under
to produce that by today.

Let them have the joy of
their independence days

and face the misery of
the situation afterwards.

There will be carnage, sir,
either way.

All the leaders believe that partition
will reduce the violence, not inflame it.

I've done a wholly inadequate job.

I'm sorry you think so.

In all conscience, I cannot accept my fee.

I believe...

that you rather love this country.

I think you deserve to know.

Our porter is ready to load.

Do you think we'll have enough?

There are too many people,
Lady Sahib.

If we work all night,
we would still not have enough.

Let me see what I can do.

Which train did Aalia take?

The night train, the last train.

It says there are no survivors.

- Dickie, the refugees...
- Not now.

Please leave us.

This is why Jinnah wouldn't budge.

He'd already been promised
his Pakistan!

Why the hell did no one tell me?

So you could better do your job.

My job? Double-dealing
with men I've come to revere?

What do you mean, double-dealing?

You were perfectly honest,
and they gave you their trust,

as we hoped they would.

So I could urge them
to your foregone conclusion?

We have to protect our interests here.

Churchill can see it.

See what?

The future.

Look at the map.
Look at where the power will lie.

The Gulf, oil.

We need to secure our access,
you see, to these huge reserves,

and block access by others.

We'll have that security,
courtesy of Pakistan.

You've divided India for oil?

For security.

There's a Soviet empire.

Stalin needs a warm-water
eastern port.

He's had his sights set on Karachi.

He won't get it now.

Pakistan will be easier to influence

than an unruly India with
its socialist leanings?

Is that what you imagine?

It's not my place to imagine.

You have used me and my family.

You came here to serve
your king and country

and you've done so admirably.

I hear they're promoting you
from Viscount to Earl.

What about the people whose lives
have been destroyed by this?

That is unfortunate.

- Nobody foresaw...
- Blood is on your hands for this.

But Dickie...

it's your name on the plan.

It will always be known
as the Mountbatten Plan.

Good evening, Your Excellency.

What the hell is this?

You said you would protect us.

You have torn India to pieces.

- Everyone I loved is dead.
- Kumar...

Is this the price that we pay
for our freedom?

I have seen many young men
lose loved ones in the war.

- And in time...
- You have lost no one, nothing!

In time, you will go back
to England, untouched.

You will forget what you have
done here.


I cannot serve you any more, sir.

I hope you never know
a moment's peace again.

We shan't go home.

After the transfer of power,
we'll stay on.

We must.

We'll do everything we can.

This tragedy was not of your making.

- Hindustan!
- Zindabad!

- Hindustan!
- Zindabad!

- Hindustan!
- Zindabad!

- Hindustan!
- Zindabad!

The gate of freedom is open in India

as thousands of Hindus in New Delhi
swarm the streets,

awaiting their hour of liberation.

In Karachi, capital of the newly
created Muslim state of Pakistan,

Lord Louis Mountbatten,
last Viceroy of India,

arrives to take part in the official end
of British rule.

I am pleased you can share
in the joyous birth of our nation.

The impossible dream is a reality.

It shouldn't be me standing here with
you. It should be Churchill.

He's the midwife who delivered you
your Pakistan.

I did what any leader would do
to realise his people's dreams.

The truth is we've both been used.

But you got what you wanted.

I got only half the country I wanted.

We will always fear for our existence.

The British, on the other hand,
got everything they were playing for.

You are the victors here.

Predicting the future is a dangerous game.

I fear there will be no victors here.

I have a letter

from President Harry S Truman
of the United States of America.

Congratulations to Pakistan

on its emergence among the family
of nations.

Long years ago we made a tryst
with destiny,

and now the time comes when
we shall redeem our pledge.

At the stroke of the midnight hour,
when the world sleeps,

India will wake to life and freedom.

Pakistan shall be a secular country,
where all shall be welcome,

and I assure you that
we shall not be wanting

in friendly spirit with our neighbours.

We have to build the noble mansion
of free India,

but our freedom is only possible

because millions have
suffered and sacrificed.

We pledge to them to build a free India

where all her children may flourish.

Shouldn't we wake Bapuji?

He's fine, he's sleeping.
He said there's nothing to celebrate.

One million people become refugees

Carrying their few possessions,
they flee from savagery and butchery

that has never been exceeded
even in India's stormy history.

Another two million are preparing
for their trek.

Many will never reach their new land.

The refugee problem is immense.

Smallpox and cholera are reported
from their camps.

Bibi Harmeet Kaur...

Jahlad Singh...

We ask for your patience, please.
There is enough food for everyone.

Please, move.

- Give to the children.
- Feed the children first.

Make sure the children...

Show me.

They haven't got enough food. Make
sure supplies are getting through.

Chandan Devi, Mandeep Singh,
Faishala Wad...



Bring back my family.

I want my family back.

Forgive me, forgive me.

Daddy? Daddy?

Let's not have this.

Can't let the side down.

Not in public.

Some help over here, please.

My daughter.
My daughter, she is very sick.

This one is very weak, half-starved.
Jeet, find a stretcher!

Father's name?

- My daughter, she is very sick.
- What is your family name?

Bibi Jind Kaur Bedi,
Machine Mala, one.

District Jhelum.

- And your daughter?
- I had a daughter like her.

A mob took her away.

I found this girl on the railway tracks.

He father pushed her off the train
before everyone was killed.

So she is a Muslim.

- She must go to other camp.
- No.

- She's my daughter now.
- These are rules you have to follow.

We all suffer the same way, no?
Please try to understand.

- I can't allow it!
- Please try.

Please try to understand, beta.
She's my daughter now.

Jeet? Jeet?

Sorry, sorry.

My daughter is very sick.


Jeet Kumar?



Hey, stop, please!


Sorry, no, ma'am.


- Narinder Singh...
- Aalia Noor? Aalia Noor?

- Go back to line.
- Noor, Aalia.

Sir, let me assure you,
we're doing all we can.

Yes, we will. It's coming.
Darling, water's coming.

- There's more water coming.
- There are more water vases coming.

Now, for the time being, I would like
all families to stick together.




- Aalia!
- Jeet!