Review of ‘Victoria and Abdul’
September 30, 2017
The movie ‘Victoria and Abdul’ is set in the early 20th Century during the British Raj in India.
It begins with Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal) running to his place for work as a Munshi (clerk) in the Indian city of Agra (where the Taj Mahal is located) encountering the typically snobbish British officers.
In honour of Queen Victoria’s Jubilee, Abdul Karim, with another Indian man Mohammad (Adeel Akhtar) are told that they are targeted to travel to England and present the Queen with a gift called Muhr (an Indian coin).
Although Abdul Karim seems excited, Mohammad is a reluctant companion who does not feel very comfortable with anything British considering them occupying foreigners and barbarians.
Source of laughter
Muhammad is a great source for laughter even when he is in his melancholy mood.
Abdul, tall, youthful and quite attractive, cannot help but gaze upon and smile at the queen while presenting the gift and suddenly, against the drilled protocol, he bends down and kisses her foot.
Suddenly, mutual affection passes between the Queen and the stranger, a beautiful relationship is created and he becomes her closest companion during the waning years of her life.
Victoria and her household
Judi Dench does a wonderful performance as Queen Victoria especially when she went from a bitter old woman to a joyful pupil of Abdul and regards him as a teacher.
The Queen is fascinated by Abdul’s eloquence, poetry, eastern culture and language and starts learning Urdu as well as wishes to study Quran since Abdul is also a Hafiz, having memorised the full Quran by heart.
Ali Fazal did a brilliant Job as Abdul Karim, a gentle innocent person who had kindness and friendship in his heart for the Queen of England with 1 billion subjects the world over.
The movie gave a spectacular display of the detailed running’s of the Queen’s household, bitterness and all as well as subtly showing Abul Karim’s Indian and Islamic knowledge.
It is supposed to be a ‘mostly’ true story and the film is a must watch movie especially for people of Indian Muslim heritage.
The above article, which appeared in the October 2017 issue of the Sydney based ‘Australasian Muslim Times’, has been reproduced here with the permission of its Editor-in-Chief Zia Ahmad.
Judie Dench as Queen Victoria and Ali Fazal as Abdul Karim in ‘Victoria and Abdul’
(Picture Courtesy: Australasian Muslim Times)