Gurinder Chaddha’s new movie ‘Viceroy’s House’ has had multiple reviews from different standpoints, like any periodic movie. Hence, I decided to not let myself read any reviews before I watch the movie.
One can say the story is good, bad, rightly, wrongly portrayed. But that is for any story based on true incidents that happen. One can talk facts of what actually happened and how far from reality it is, but who decides that? The people involved in the actual incident are not there to defend themselves or comment on it at all. So when people quote historical facts to review such movies, my mind wants to question where are we getting the facts from?
History is story telling. And it really depends on whose perspective is the story being told from? Because truth is they can do all the research they can, but they are not historians! They are story tellers. So why do we expect them to be 100% accurate when nothing really can be as everything is from someone’s mere perspective. And remove the question of accuracy and the only question I would ask watching a periodic movie is how is the movie maker contributing to today’s state of affairs by telling the story from this perspective?
Example is the classic Hindu scripture Ramayana. There are several versions and the most authentic one is written by Saint Tulsi Das ji and Saint Valmiki ji. Both versions are different. One looks at Ram as the Lord incarnation and the latter as Ram the man who was perfect. Historically if you look for evidence if Ram was there using the scriptures, you will find them to be accurate to a large extent. But is that the question we should even be asking? They were not historians, they were teachers, they were masters who are teaching valuable lessons on the deepest Truths of existence through this. The question we should be asking ourselves is are we learning that lesson? (paraphrased from Swami Chinmayananda’s DVD : FAQs)
So come back to Viceroy’s house, and lets ask the same question. As a movie maker, is the movie contributing to the society? Why did she make the movie? And I wanted to know from the horse’s mouth (Click here to read Gurinder Chaddha’s review on what made her make the movie, what she wanted to convey) Well, from what I read on why she made the movie, I understand that she simply wanted her (& her family’s) perspective, and that is what she was looking to convey – The impact of the actions of many on families like her’s. And although the love story between the 2 was way too cheesy and cringeworthy for my personal taste and almost felt too distracting from the original plot, I would like to think she did a pretty good job telling her story to not just Bharat but to an international audience, who may have never known the details of this happening.