AT the time it was one of the most famous and glamorous marriages in the country.
But Hollywood producers have found telling the story of Romsey’s Lord and Lady Mountbatten’s relationship too controversial and have pulled out of making a movie based on the Hampshire couple’s time during the last days of the British Empire in India.
The film Indian Summer had been due to star Oscar-winning actress Cate Blanchett as Lady Edwina Mountbatten, wife of Lord Louis Mountbatten of Burma.
The movie, set during Britain’s handover of India in 1947, became too hot for India’s government who reportedly voiced concerns at the script, which focused on an alleged affair between Lady Mountbatten and the country’s first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru.
The relationship has often been described as an “intimate friendship”
between the two. Books written over the past 50 years by people close to the Indian prime minster show that the personal interests of the single Nehru and socialite Lady Mountbatten did nothing to diminish the rumours.
Now studio bosses at Universal have shelved the movie, originally scheduled for release in 2011, after additional problems over the film’s budget saw the cost of making it spiral to an estimated £26m. It is believed that Indian officials had eventually given the film, based on the non-fiction book Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire, by Alex von Tunzelmann, the go-ahead.
But in an interview with trade magazine Variety, director Joe Wright admitted the wrangling with the country’s officials sealed the movie’s fate.
“We were in between a rock and a hard place.
The Indian government wanted us to make less of the love story while the studio wanted us to make more of the love story,” he said.
Appointed Last Viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten faced the impossible task of uniting Muslim and Hindu factions of the country when he arrived in Delhi in March 1947.
Civil war raged shortly after the Union flag was lowered on August 15 the same year but it was here that Mountbatten and his wife came into their own.
She organised relief work and medical supplies while he chaired an emergency committee – each spending 15 months in the country playing an integral part in its history.
Their union was far from conventional but they remained together until Lady Mountbatten’s death in 1960, after almost 40 years of marriage.
Lord Mountbatten, who was great uncle to Prince Charles, died in 1979 after an IRA bomb attack on his fishing vessel off the north west coast of Sligo in Ireland. He was killed along with three others including 14- year-old grandson Nicholas who was twin brother to the current Lord Brabourne.
Oscar winning Australian born actress Blanchett and Atonement director Wright are still reportedly committed to the film if it ever goes ahead.