Archipelago-townFrom the Viceroy’s house to the House of Mountbatten

The Mountbatten family is a European dynasty originating as a branch of the German princely Battenberg family. The name was adopted during World War I by family members residing in the United Kingd...

The Mountbatten family is a European dynasty originating as a branch of the German princely Battenberg family. The name was adopted during World War I by family members residing in the United Kingdom due to rising anti-German sentiment amongst the British public. The name is an Anglicisation of the German Battenberg, a small town in Hesse.

Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma, and his wife Edwina Cynthia Annette Ashley are the main characters of Viceroy’s House is British-Indian historical drama film directed by Gurinder Chadha to tell the story of 1947 India’s partition as governed by the last Viceroy of India, Mr Mountbatton himself.

At the press conference, the director revealed that the movie aimed to portrait the British in general, and the royal couple in particular, not as the villain but as a couple that was in fact less powerful that it has been historically assumed. She also reveled that it took her about 7 years to find the money to tell the story that was also a very personal story for her, given the impact that partition had on her family ancestry. she further revealed that the movie is a contemporary comment/reminder on the various layers wrapping the topic of the day: namely the conflicting issues revolving around refugees and dislocated people.

It is a pity that, coming to the issue after an extended time, and from such a personal angle, the movie fails to work with the great historical material at her disposal (like, the greatest tragedy the world has ever know, with 14 million people dislocated, or the political an personal intrigue revolving around the Mountbatton couple) to only be able produce a well done but ultimately useless Hollywood kind of comedy.

The Mountbattons had been in fact notorious in their sex life (Edwina and I spent all our married lives getting into other people’s beds, Mountabatton revealed) and in their scheming intrigues which royal British life to the point of even suggesting, to rename the house of Windsor as the House of Mountabatton (Louis Mountbatten was the uncle of the current Duke of Edinbugh, or Philip Mountbatten).

One of the most talked about couples of the day with direct links to the centre of powers, the Mountbatton were, during their Indian time, at a center of a number of political and social conflict involving key figures of the XX century as Gandhi, Nehru (with whom Edwina had a much talked about affair) and Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

It is a pity that Chadha, perhaps in an attempt to be more zealous versus the good name of the British than being critical, chose to portray them as a gullible couple trying to do some good when they were, in fact, in over their head with a job they were clearly not prepared for.

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