ALI FAZAL

Empire (Australasia) - - Preview - WORDS DAN JOLIN POR­TRAIT VIBHOR YADAV VIC­TO­RIA & AB­DUL IS IN CIN­E­MAS NOW

Age __ 30

Plays __ Ab­dul Karim in Stephen Frears’ base­don-fact pe­riod drama Vic­to­ria & Ab­dul. Karim was an In­dian clerk who be­friended Queen Vic­to­ria (Judi Dench — again) and con­tro­ver­sially be­came her teacher, or ‘Mun­shi’. “It was his con­fi­dence and in­no­cence that re­ally at­tracted me,” says Fazal.

Back­story __ “I broke my arm dur­ing a bas­ket­ball match at board­ing school and thought my life was over. Then a friend said, ‘Your English isn’t bad. They’re put­ting on The Tem­pest and there’s a cute girl play­ing Mi­randa. Why don’t you try out?’ That was the be­gin­ning of this dis­ease.”

Early Roles __ “I started in Bol­ly­wood with a cameo in a movie called 3 Id­iots [2009], which was a hit. I did have a stint on Fast & Fu­ri­ous [as Sa­far in Fu­ri­ous 7], but it was a come-and-go thing.”

The Big Break __ “It was brave of them to come to In­dia to [cast] some­one. But it was a long, trau­ma­tis­ing process. I mean, I love him to death now — he’s my guru — but dur­ing my au­di­tion Stephen Frears had the Delhi belly. He was sprawled across this couch barely look­ing at me [laughs]. But I got the part a few weeks later.”

Hob­bies __ “I still love play­ing bas­ket­ball, but I also like to keep up with cur­rent af­fairs and po­lit­i­cal stuff — con­sid­er­ing what’s hap­pen­ing in the world to­day and es­pe­cially in my coun­try.”

act­ing heroes __ “I grew up with Brando. He’s some­one I al­most think I might have hal­lu­ci­nated.”

Next up __ “There’s some­thing I might be do­ing with Ama­zon, but I’m not al­lowed to say much on that, and I have two films lined up in In­dia. As for Fast & Fu­ri­ous, you never know. I might re­turn...”

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