To Celebrate Indian Independence Day, Mom and I watched Viceroy’s House

It’s both happy and also tragic

Shefali O'Hara
3 min readAug 15, 2022


Photo by Tharun Thejus on Unsplash

The photograph above shows what used to be the Viceroy’s House and is now the Rashtrapati Bhavan or President’s House. It’s a huge and beautiful building located in New Delhi and is the gorgeous location for most of the movie, Viceroy’s House.

The movie was based on the book Freedom at Midnight by Larry Collins and Dominique Lapierre and published in 1975.

The movie makes it clear that Gandhi didn’t want to split India. He didn’t want partition. He wanted Hindus and Muslims, as well as other Indian groups such as Sikhs, to live together like brothers.

Would it have been better if India hadn’t split into India and Pakistan?

The movie shows scenes of tragedy — about a million people died and many millions were displaced. The director of the film’s mother experienced loss herself as one of her babies died during the migration.

Who was guilty?

Some blame the British, but perhaps they only exploited the underlying rifts in Indian society?

The movie provides some context, but I think I will need to read the book and talk to my mother and her brother and other older relatives for their perspective. After all, they were around during that time!

The movie also has a love story.

It’s a poignant story. Part of me would have preferred to do without it and see something more focused on the historical events, but it added a personal touch and it was well done. My Mom seemed to like it.

The shots of the Viceroy’s house were gorgeous, from the huge vaulted ceiling to the pomp and glory of the 500 employees who worked there. The acting was quite good.

Indians were overjoyed to be independent of the British Raj, but many people also faced great tragedy due to loss of loved ones and having to leave their ancestral homes for an uncertain future.

Mom and I enjoyed the movie. It reminded her of family history.

Mom was born before India achieved its independence from British rule. Her father left home to join Gandhi when he was 18. He marched to…



Shefali O'Hara

Cancer survivor, writer, engineer. BSEE from MIT, MSEE, and MA in history. Love nature, animals, books, art, and interesting discussions.