'Viceroy's House' follows the life of the last Viceroy of India who was the figurehead of relinquishing British rule on the Indian subcontinent in 1947. Lord Mountbatten and his wife Lady Edwina Mountbatten were charged with overseeing India's newfound independence, wanting the nation to stay united as one. However, India was already divided by religion, with Muslim leader Muhammed Ali Jinnah wishing to establish a separate country in the form of Pakistan. The Partition of India was not a desirable option for the British rule, but as the civil unrest grew amongst the people and people began to divide themselves anyway, it became the only option for minimal damage to all nations.
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The widowed Mrs Sethi (Azmi) is worried that her slightly overweight daughter Roopi (Notay) will never find a husband. Every match she arranges turns Roopi down, which leads Mrs Sethi to react murderously. But now the ghosts (Khan, Bkaskar, Ross and Varrez) of her victims are offering to help in order to improve their chances of reincarnation. Fortunately, Roopi's childhood friend Murthy (Ramamurthy) is back in town and hugely eligible. Unfortunately, he's a detective looking for the killer.
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Project overseers Emmanuel Benbihy and Tristan Carné wanted to create a cinematic map of Paris, with each short film representing one of the city's 20 arrondissements (neighborhoods). They ended up with 18 films, none of them more than a few minutes long and directed by a glittering, international roster of filmmakers. While none of the films here are anything approaching masterpieces, hardly a one is in any way a chore to sit through, which has to be some sort of an accomplishment.
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The film follows Jesminder (Parminder K. Nagra), the child of Punjabi émigrés living in suburban London -- and one of Beckham's biggest fans. Posters of the footballer's exploits cover her walls, she wears his jersey when she plays soccer with the boys in the park, and she studies his moves during games on TV. But it's Jess's soccer skills that catch the eye of Juliette (Keira Knightley), who plays for a local women's soccer club. Jess finds herself recruited and suddenly realizes that soccer dreams of her own are not farfetched.
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The film's families consist of African-American, Asian, Jewish, and Hispanic protagonists, all exaggerated characters who weave in and out of hackneyed plots. From the Jewish perspective, there's the tongue-tied matriarch Seelig (Lainie Kazan) who has an annoyingly cute way of enunciating certain words. Ma Seelig is somewhat speechless when she eventually gets to meet her daughter Rachel's (Kyra Sedgwick) lesbian lover Carla (Julianna Margulies, late of television's ER). Then there's the Spanish viewpoint where an estranged couple, the Avilas (Mercedes Ruehl and Victor Rivers), are forced to reunite upon the insistence of their adult children. There's also obvious tension when Vietnamese Jimmy Nguyen (Will Yun Lee) dares to play footsies with Hispanic Gina Avilas (Isidra Vega). And the black family the Williamses (headed up by Alfre Woodard and Dennis Haysbert) has issues as well.
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The premise is similar to Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Here the setting is moved to India, where the not-so-wealthy (but still rich enough to hire servants) Bakshi family resides in a less-than-touristy district. Mrs. Bakshi (Nadira Babbar) is desperate to marry off her daughters. They include Jaya (Namrata Shirodkar), who has eyes for lawyer Balraj (Lost's Naveen Andrews), and Lalita (Aishwarya Rai) who is interested in Balraj's American friend Will Darcy (Martin Henderson), until she actually bothers to talk to him.
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