Gillian Anderson will always be attached to her most popular role, that of FBI agent Dana Scully in the long running TV show The X-Files. One little known fact is that she was in the most episodes (217 compared to 193 for David Duchovny). The other little know fact is that she has more than a few credits as an English lady than you might expect for a born and bred Chicago gal.


She once again revisits her British accent in Gurinder Chadha's ("Bend it Like Beckham") latest film, "Viceroy's House". Anderson takes the way-back machine to British Colonial India just as the Brits are returning India over to Indians and relenquishing British rule. It is 1947 and with Winston Chrurchill in charge, the Brits are licking there wounds from WWII and counting their assets.


One of those assets is the huge country if India which is fighting for independence, but also suffering from internal strife as Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims from Bengal, Punjab, and other parts fight for a controling piece of the pie. The only thing that is certain is that the Muslims will not co-exist with the Hindus and Sikhs. They want their own country and Britain must come up with a plan to partition India to form the independent state of Pakistan.

Put in charge to oversee the transition is the newly appointed Viceroy, Lord Louis Mountbatten (Hugh Bonneville) and his wife Lady Edwina Mountbatten (Anderson). They come to take over residency at the luxurious Viveroy's estate with a staff of over 500 Indians from various parts of the country; as well as various religions. Their job is to try to keep the calm inthe country duringt the transition as well as keep the peace in the house - which proves to be just as daunting.


One of their servants, Jeet Kumar (Manish Dayal) is a newly arrived Hindu with decent credentials as a former prison guard. However he immediately encounters the lovely daughter of a former prisoner whom he did favor and now has feels for. But she is considered of a different social standing than he and it is frowned upon that he engage with her. Besides, she is clinging to the excuse that she is promised to another.


As a docudrama, we get a pretty well interpretation of the goings-on during the Partitioning of India including the involvement of Gandhi (Neeraj Kabi) and Nehru (Tanveer Ghani) who fought for an independent India but wanted the country in whole, and Muhammad Ali Jinnah (Denzil Smith) who wanted a separate state of Pakistan.


We also get a clear interpretation of the divisiveness among the people and a loss of life tally that hovered in the millions. The divisions were felt into the house with the servants dyvvying eventhe books, housewares and linens into Muslim and Hindu stacks. this division ultimately takes a toll on Kumar and Noor.


Chada orchestrates a well developed film with wonderful cinematography and engaging storytelling. Anderson's British accent holds up fairly well and the cast

seems involved enough to be convincing and not too educationally boring.


"Viceroy's House" is a well done historic docudrama that describes a part of history that most are not familiar - the Partitioning of India. With the huge influential population who immigrated to the US from the Indian sub-continent, it is a great film to watch and understand why things are the way they are today.   -- GEOFF BURTON