Universal Studio Scraps Nehru-Edwina Film

New York
Universal Studio Scraps Nehru-Edwina Film
Indian Summer, the much-hyped Hollywood project about the alleged romance between Edwina Mountbatten and Jawaharlal Nehru, has been cancelled with the director blaming the wrangling between the Indian government and the studio as the reason.

Universal Pictures has put the film, which was to go on the floor in India early next year, on hold, Variety magazine online reported.

"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," said director Joe Wright.

Starring Hugh Grant and Kate Blanchett as Lord and Edwina Mountbatten, the film was troubled from the start after the Indian government voiced concerns over the plot, which focused on Edwina's romance with the country's first Prime Minister.

Officials demanded copy approval of the script and eventually gave the film the green light, but the project continued to be plagued by money problems, with bosses at Universal reportedly fretting over the estimated USD 30-40 million costs.

The film planned to lift the lid on one of the most sensitive chapters of the last days of the Raj--the alleged affair between Edwina and Nehru.

The Indian Government has demanded that some of its scenes be rewritten and depictions of physical intimacy be banned in exchange for granting permission to film.

Director Joe Wright, who had hoped to start filming on location in India next year, said the budget pressures in a difficult market had added to the already troublesome conditions of shooting a major film in India and forced the delay.

Joe Wright is said to have considered making the film for less than 30 million USD before deciding to wait for more favourable financial conditions.

There were also concerns over how intimate the portrayal of the relationship between the two characters based on Nehru and the Vicereine should be.

The nature of Nehru and Edwina Mountbatten's relationship is still hotly contested in India, where many prefer to believe the "lonely widower" and the adventurous Vicereine were devoted but platonic friends.

The film is based on Alex Von Tunzelmann's book Indian Summer, The Secret History of the End of Empire, which tells the story of Nehru and Lady Mountbatten's close friendship during the Mountbattens' return to India for the handover and partition in 1947.

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