History’s most unlikely friendship was brought to the big screen in Stephen Frears latest film Victoria and Abdul.
Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal) is a humble servant who is brought to England to present Queen Victoria (Judie Dench) with a mohur, a gold coin and a symbolic gesture of the bond between the British Empire and her subjects.
What was only supposed to be a brief encounter between servant and queen marks the start of a beautiful friendship, much to the chagrin of the queen’s household, who don’t want any of those ‘Hindus,’ having such a prominent position.
Threatening to certify the queen insane after she announces she is going to bestow the knighthood on her newfound friend is a host of high-ranking officials including her son Bertie, played to perfection by none other than Eddie Izzard.
Unperturbed, the monarch ignores everyone’s comments and begins to enjoy the last few months of her life.
Judie Dench once again reprise’s her role as Queen Victoria, having played the iconic ruler in 1997’s Mrs Brown.
The Empress of India commands every scene, her strength is palpable but she brings to life the vulnerability and the fears she feels as she nears the end of her reign but, through the friendship she strikes up with Abdul does she truly live.
He becomes her constant companion, steadfast in his friendship even at the cost of his own life.
Inspired by true events, which were unearthed from a diary discovered in 2010, Victoria and Abdul is as poignant as it is comedic and definitely not to be missed.
Also starring Olivia Williams, Adeel Akhtar, and in his final role Tim Pigott-Smith.
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Distributor: Focus Features and Working Title Films
In cinemas September 14