Viceroy’s House: Take-One.TV video discussion starter

Viceroy’s House tells the true story of the partition of India into (mainly Muslim) Pakistan and (mainly Hindu) India, which led to one of the biggest mass migrations in history as some 14 million people found that their homes were suddenly on the ‘wrong’ side of the border.

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Discussion questions:

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  1. Hugh Bonneville (who plays Lord Mountbatten) describes the film as ‘a huge story that still has resonance today.’ In what ways do you think that the consequences of separating people according to their faith resonates with issues in the world today?
  2. In today’s society what might it mean to ‘dance with your own kind’? What do you think are the consequences of such an approach to life?
  3. Manish Dayal (who plays Jeet) says that the Hindu, Muslim and political perspectives ‘don’t know each other’s perspectives, but the audience does.’ How important is it to see other people’s perspectives? What unique contribution can movies bring to this process?
  4. Hugh Bonneville (who plays Lord Mountbatten) says that the personal family history of Gurinder Chadha, the film’s director, brings a ‘level of passion and authenticity’. Do you agree? What do you consider to be the relative merits of personal experience and objectivity in art? And in politics?
  5. Huma Qureshi (who plays Aalia) says ‘it’s about two people believing in a common dream.’ What do you believe is, or could be, a common dream for all of humanity? What is the source and basis of that commonality?

Additional resource for churches and RE teachers:

This Bible Brief explores a biblical perspective on the issues raised in this discussion starter video. 

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    “So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them.” (Genesis 1:27)

For many years, philosophers and theologians have debated what is meant by ‘in the image of God’ (technically called ‘Imago Dei’). But there is broad agreement on two features. First, people are relational. That is, we have an essential capacity for love, because ‘God is love’. Second, people are communal. That is, the image of God applies to every person, regardless of any other differences between us. This text highlights male/female, the most obvious difference between people, to illustrate that all are made in God’s image.

‘We belong together’ Jeet (played by Manish Dayal)

  • “One day Cain suggested to his brother, “Let’s go out into the fields.” And while they were in the field, Cain attacked his brother, Abel, and killed him.” (Genesis 4:8)

Because people disobey God (begun by Adam and Eve, but continued by all of us) relationships and community have broken down (starting with Adam & Eve’s sons Cain and Abel, but continued by all of us). Our love tends to be turned inwards to ourselves, instead of outwards to others.

‘Dance with your own kind’ Engagement party guest

  • “Through your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed, all because you have obeyed me.” (Genesis 22:18)
    “This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away, all who have been called by the Lord our God.” (Acts 2:39)

But God wants to restore us to his original creation plan in which people have an outward looking love, and live in an inclusive community (starting with Abraham, but continued through all of us who respond to God’s call).

‘My grandfather spent 18 months searching the refugee camps for my grandmother, he eventually found her and the two were reunited’ Gurinder Chadha (Director)

  • “After this I saw a vast crowd, too great to count, from every nation and tribe and people and language, standing in front of the throne and before the Lamb. They were clothed in white robes and held palm branches in their hands.” (Revelation 7:9)

The last book in the Bible describes the coming fulfilment of God’s promise. People from all over the world, regardless of their differences, are restored and united, with white robes symbolising purity and palm branches symbolising joy.

‘It’s about two people believing in a common dream’ Huma Qureshi (who plays Aalia)

See also: Movie Moments article on this film