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VICTORIA & ABDUL
True-life drama. In 1887 a lowly but handsome young Indian clerk, Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), is chosen as one of two manservants to present Queen Victoria (Golden Globe nominee Judi Dench) – Empress of India – with a priceless coin at her Golden Jubilee banquet celebrating her 50-year reign. The bored and lonely monarch, already impressed by Abdul’s striking presence, is quite swept away when he greets her in the respectful Hindu tradition in front of aghast onlookers.
Fascinated, she asks him to teach her his language, and ignorant of royal protocols he blurs the lines between servant, teacher and friend, much to the queen’s delight. She finds comfort in his company but their close connection disturbs the English and a tug of war begins between 62 | 19 APRIL 2018 you.co.za Abdul, Victoria and the powers that be.
This charming film is based on the nonfiction book of the same name by Shrabani Basu, who used Abdul’s diary as basis because almost all evidence of the unlikely friendship was destroyed by Victoria’s son King Edward VII after her death. Although underlying themes of colonialism, racism and religious war are whitewashed, the movie brings to life Victoria as a woman burdened with the weight of the crown and in desperate need of genuine love and companionship.
With great cinematography and lavish attention to detail – it received Oscar nominations for make-up and costume design – this enjoyable movie is a must-see. – CHEZ POOL 2017. 110 MIN. 13LPV. ALSO OUT ON DVD.