Viceroy's House (2017) Script

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!

500 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.

300 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?

13 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 sufficiently.

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 acceptable.

Lady Sahib, many Indians are vegetarians.

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 independence.

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 Dickens?

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.

Dickie... 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, Pakistan.

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.

United... 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, 13 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.

Aalia... 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 Philip.

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 continue.

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 moment 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, India... 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, 15 cases for India, three cases for Pakistan.

Teaspoons, 40 cases for India, ten cases for Pakistan.

Butter knives, 20 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 Pakistan.

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

Fires raged unchecked in many places 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 understand, 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, destroying.

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 overnight.

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!