Empire showcases tomorrow’s stars today
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 , 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...”
Ali Fazal, photographed exclusively for at the Ministry Of New in Mumbai, India, on 3 July 2017.