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A fine romance, with no kisses.

A fine romance, with no kisses. (photo)

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When making a romantic movie, you traditionally have to include, at the very least, either some lip-locking or use of the word “love.” Which could be a problem for “Atonement” director Joe Wright, whose next project is an adaptation of “Indian Summer: The Secret History of the End of an Empire” by Alex von Tunzelmann.

Though it sounds like one of those books about how the discovery of a spice or the invention of the toaster oven changed the world, it’s actually a history of the affair between Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first prime minister, and Edwina Mountbatten, the wife of the country’s last English viceroy. Hugh Grant and Cate Blanchett will play the British leads, while Bollywood (and “Slumdog Millionaire”) star Irrfan Khan will play Nehru.

And now reports are coming in that Nehru’s Congress Party — currently the leading political party — will only approve filming in India if neither kissing nor “love” mentioning happen; scenes of Nehru and Mountbatten in bed are, obviously, not in the realm of discussion.

Officially, according to the Indian government, the affair never happened; no matter if Mountbatten died with letters from Nehru scattered across her bed. They want a notice slapped on the film saying it’s fiction even after all the platonic changes are shoehorned in. Nehru’s niece — author Nayantara Sahgal — claims any portrayal of the relationship as sexual is pure speculation and goes one better: “What they had was a long-lasting relationship of love and friendship. And I think it was a very rare relationship based on a meeting of minds and a genuine respect and admiration for each other.” Which sounds nice for all involved, but, filmwise, even more starched-up than the work of Jane Austen, which provided the source material for “Pride & Prejudice,” Wright’s first movie.

Of course, given that India has in the last decade seen movie-induced rioting over lesbians on screen, the term “slumdog” and straightforward ticket shortages, maybe the government is just as interested in preventing destruction as in keeping the relationship hidden. It’s easy enough to imagine what would happen if a film was released showing India’s first prime minister in even the most fifth-grade-style relationship. Either way, I look forward to Hugh Grant’s chastest romance yet. Or, even better, Toronto standing in for Delhi.

[Photo: “Pride and Prejudice,” Focus, 2005]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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