The first trailer of Victoria & Abdul, an upcoming British biographical film, is finally out. The Judi Dench and Ali Fazal starrer is based on ‘history’s most unlikely friendship’ between Queen Victoria of England and Abdul Karim, an Indian peasant.
The film is based on a book that goes by the same name by author Shrabani Basu. The book talks about the unusual relationship between the monarch of the largest empire in the world and a peasant from one of her colonies thousands of miles away.
The trailer highlights in detail this extraordinary bond between the Queen and Abdul that leave the Queen’s royal court baffled and jealous of Abdul. The trailer opens with a glimpse of the life of the then 81-year-old Queen Victoria who is an assertive and stubborn monarch but at the same time has an apparent dislike towards the pompous court and all that she has to deal with as the Queen of England. Meanwhile, an Indian clerk named Abdul Karim from Agra is on his way to England to serve the Queen. The Queen is also depicted to have a rather dark sense of humour.
Abdul Karim, played by Ali Fazal, is a very honest and loyal character. It barely takes the Queen any time to see that in him and soon grows quite fond of him. Perhaps the Queen is impressed by Abdul’s honesty and innocence in contrast with the shallow flattery of the royal court. We shall, however, have to wait for the movie to know that. It is seen in the trailer that over time, the Queen opens up to Abdul about what she feels about being an empress, being old and life in general.
Slowly, Abdul’s character gets recognition and we see his transformation from a dutiful servant to a wise teacher. The Queen expresses her desire to learn Urdu and teachings of the Quran from Abdul. Not to forget, she wants a mango all the way from India. All of this soon faces bitter resentment by the rest of the royalty but the Queen strongly defends Abdul and calls him her friend.
By the looks of the trailer, the film should be quite engaging. After all, it is Judi Dench’s second time playing queen after 1997 film Mrs Brown. On the other hand, Ali Fazal, as Abdul, plays quite a charming role and it is pleasing to watch him help the Queen rediscover life.
The film is directed by British director Stephen Frears and is set to release on 22 September 2017.
By Aman Sahil