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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.

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