Republic day special : Ashdoc's movie review---The last viceroy

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Republic day special : Ashdoc's movie review---The last viceroy

Post by ashdoc on Thu Jan 26, 2012 6:38 am

The last viceroy tells the story of the last but momentous chapter in the history of British rule over India---of the end of the empire in a bloodbath of epic proportions .

Lord Louis Mountbatten arrives in India with his wife Edwina to close the 175 year old rule of Great Britain over the Indian subcontinent---the jewel in the King's crown .

He arrives just as a sea of violence is about to erupt in India---for led by the ambitious and powerhungry Muhammad Ali Jinnah , the muslims in the subcontinent are not only demanding the carving out of the nation of Pakistan , but they are also baying for the hindus' blood.....
......For the nation of Pakistan has to live upto its name---pak means pure in urdu , and what better way to make it pure than to ethnically cleanse it of all the infidels who dared inhabit it......

The hindus on the other hand , are led by the apostle of nonviolence---the ' great soul ' mahatma Gandhi who has made himself great by teaching a pacifist ideology and taught the hindus to bow and acceed to the muslims' every demand , including the creation of Pakistan .
But Gandhi has such a hold over the mind of the hindus due to his saintly behaviour that it is said that the capital of India is not at Delhi , but at wherever Gandhi is camping !!

......And this Gandhi is not there to greet Mountbatten as he alights from his plane ,for he has gone to bihar in one of his hopeless attempts to create communal amity between hindus and muslims---a fact which erks Edwina Mountbatten .

On the other hand , she is mightily pleased with the reception given to her by the future prime minister of India Nehru , and this leads to not only mutual attraction between them but a fullscale affair.....
All this happens under the watchful eye of Louis Mountbatten , who not only takes it all in his stride , but also develops a liking for Nehru himself !!

On the other hand , Mountbatten is not impressed by the personality of Jinnah , whom he grows to detest....
While Nehru is all charm , Jinnah is cold and forbidding , and the viceroy finds him quite extravagant in his demands for his new nation .

But first things first , and Mountbatten has to make a tour of the north west frontier . Here on landing , he is confronted by savage pathans in the thousands , all well armed and screaming for being given the Pakistan they want.
Mountbatten is well prepared for this , as he disarmingly waves at the barbaric horde wearing a muslimtype green dress , making them think he has acceeded to their demands and they are appeased without violence !

As everywhere Mountbatten tours he sees scenes of muslims butchering hindus , he not only concludes that Pakistan must be given , but also feels that the British must pull out of India before mayhem is unleashed and thereby makes a fatal mistake---he brings forward the date of declaration of independence from june 1948 to august 1947 , leaving the state machinery no time to cope with the mammoth task of partition .
......For not only is the nation to be partitioned , but govt property has to be divided ; but above all no proper arrangements are made to garrison the state of punjab , where post partition violence is expected .

Mountbatten does make a last attempt to convince Jinnah of the cabinet mission plan of a united by loosely federated India , but Jinnah is unrelenting.....
The ' great soul ' Gandhi goes one step forward by offering Jinnah the prime ministership of undivided India , but Sardar Patel simply refuses to entertain this idea ( thank god !! imagine Jinnah as India's PM..... )

The friendship between the Mountbatten couple and Nehru increases in the cool climes of Shimla , the summer capital of the British raj , where Nehru and Edwina find time to romance......
But Nehru's temper explodes when Mountbatten shows him the future plan of India---it envisages total balkanisation of the subcontinent as the princely states are left to choose to remain independent . Mountbatten has to sooth Nehru by removing that option , leaving them to join either India or Pakistan .

Jinnah is another matter altogether---he is unwavering and says that the Pakistan given to him by Mountbatten is divided into two wings with no link to east Pakistan---he calls it motheaten.....
But Mountbatten proves a tough negotiater and forces Jinnah to accept his partition plan at the meeting of representatives of all religions by forcing him to nod slightly in acceptance of the plan .

The die is cast , and Sir Cyril Radcliffe is given 5 weeks to draw the map diving the nation , giving precious little time for minorities on both sides to shift to the nation where their community is in majority .

The day the Indians have been waiting for a thousand years arrives as the nation awakes to life and freedom at midnight when the world is asleep---in Nehru's words , at least .
Mountbatten invites the press to take photos as the Indians blow conches of triumph , and to his surprise Future president Rajendra Prasad toasts King George with a glass of wine on this august occasion.....

But independence unleashes a torrent of violence as trains carrying dead hindus and sikhs come to India---and hindus and sikhs unleash bloody revenge . Mountbatten's mistake of bringing the independence date forward has produced terrible results......
Gandhi's attempt to save muslims in India only makes them spit on him....

But Nehru sees no choice but to ask Mountbatten to continue as governor general . This is opposed by Edwina who feels she might get too deeply involved with Nehru if this sojourn in India continues .

But Mountbatten's continuance proves lucky for India as he answers Nehru's desperate plea to save his home state of Kashmir from pathan irregulars sent by Pakistan to invade it by sending the Indian army after the maharaja signs the instrument of accsession .

When Mountbatten confronts Jinnah over the rape of scottish nuns by his pathans in Kashmir , Jinnah candidly admits to his hold over them by offering to pull the pathans back if India pulls back its forces .

Back in India , Gandhi has paid for his appeasement of Pakistan by his death at the hands of an assassin---sending Nehru into grief . Mountbatten consoles Nehru and asks him to speak to the Indian people on radio that very night . Nehru responds by making one of the finest speeches in his life .

And its time now for Mountbatten to leave India---his work is over.....
This time Edwina asks him to stay on---as Mountbatten himself admits , she has found love here......

But time and tide wait for none , and the time of the British is over.....
As they leave , the Indian public crowds the last viceroy's motorcade in a moment of brief nostalgia for the raj......

Most nostalgic of them all is Nehru , who gifts a rose to Edwina to cherish the bygone days of love before she ascends into the aircaft that will take her away....

An era has passed......
The halycon days of empire are over.....

And so is the movie....

Verdict----good , if you are a history buff .

ashdoc

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Re: Republic day special : Ashdoc's movie review---The last viceroy

Post by Maria S on Thu Jan 26, 2012 9:28 am

Hello Doc,

Your reviews are easy and nice reads. And they remind one of the era..when movie reviewers - were indeed reviewers, made a sincere effort and not merely "critics" as in this era- who often have a superiority complex-making some glib comments ..which come across as empty and bitterly cynical- not to mention misleading!

Anyways..lately have been reading a lot about the Nehrus and the Mountbattens..so this movie does kindle some interest!

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Re: Republic day special : Ashdoc's movie review---The last viceroy

Post by artood2 on Thu Jan 26, 2012 2:34 pm

Ashdoc, that was a good one. Sounds like a decent movie.

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Re: Republic day special : Ashdoc's movie review---The last viceroy

Post by ashdoc on Thu Jan 26, 2012 3:13 pm

thank you artood and maria s Smile

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Re: Republic day special : Ashdoc's movie review---The last viceroy

Post by chameli on Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:14 pm

It may be history and has happened come to pass yet whenever i watch India and Indians under foreign rule be it the british or the mughals i am uneasy

watching independent bharat is more satisfying and pride giving even if it is riddled with poverty ,corruption and over population

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Re: Republic day special : Ashdoc's movie review---The last viceroy

Post by artood2 on Thu Jan 26, 2012 4:37 pm

chameli wrote:It may be history and has happened come to pass yet whenever i watch India and Indians under foreign rule be it the british or the mughals i am uneasy

watching independent bharat is more satisfying and pride giving even if it is riddled with poverty ,corruption and over population

The massacre during partition was horrendous. People who trivialize it have no idea what happened.

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Re: Republic day special : Ashdoc's movie review---The last viceroy

Post by chameli on Thu Jan 26, 2012 5:10 pm

oh im sure it was horrendous with both sides feeling the loss of dear ones

but many years after the partition it is the Hindus who have suffered cast out of muslim dominated Pakisan wheres India has treated its Muslim population with kid gloves allowing them a special place in society

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Re: Republic day special : Ashdoc's movie review---The last viceroy

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