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Victoria & Abdul, a Period Film about an Unlikely Friendship

Victoria & Abdul is the extraordinary and unlikely true story of friendship between Queen Victoria of England and her clerk Abdul Karim.


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Victoria & Abdul is an upcoming British-American biographical movie, based on a book by Shrabani Basu of the same name. It delves into the unlikely friendship between Queen Victoria of England and her clerk. The Stephen Frears directed movie is produced by BBC Films and distributed by Focus Features.

In the movie, Dame Judi Dench stars as Queen Victoria who at the time begins to question the constrictions of her long held position. It is the year of the Golden Jubilee of the Queen’s reign and  Abdul Karim, a young clerk who has just begun working for the Queen develops an extraordinary and unlikely friendship with her. Victoria & Abdul handles the story delicately and shows us light hearted moments between the two as well as the contempt felt by the Queen’s inner circle and household help who then attempt to sabotage their friendship.

Judi Dench has earlier played Queen Victoria on the big screen for the movie, “Mrs. Brown,” for which she was nominated for an Oscar in the Best Actress in a Leading Role category. In the following year she won the Oscar for playing another queen, Elizabeth I, in “Shakespeare in Love.” Her acting prowess is much loved and admired for portraying the character M, the Head of the Secret Intelligence Service – also known as MI6, in Ian Fleming’s James Bond series of movies.                    

Actor Ali Fazal (who plays Abdul) was last seen in Fast & Furious 7, however, this would be his maiden Hollywood movie in terms of playing the lead. Another high for the actor was starring opposite veteran actor Judi Dench. Talking about the movie Ali is noticeably excited and believes Victoria & Abdul to be coming out at an opportune time as racial divide and terrorism seems to be cropping up the world over. He believes the movie would encourage people to think and could even bring about a change of heart for some.

Victoria & Abdul, was shot across locations in Scotland, India, and England. It is the first film production to be granted permission to use the interiors of Osborne House, the Queen’s seaside holiday home, on the Isle of Wight. The cast of the movie also includes the controversial actor-comedian Edward “Eddie” Izzard, Ruth McCabe, Julian Wadham, Adeel Akhtar, Tim Pigott-Smith and Fenella Woolgar.