Tue | Aug 11, 2020

'Victoria and Abdul' explores unlikely friendship

Published:Thursday | September 21, 2017 | 12:00 AM
Queen Victoria looks up to Abdul Karim in 'Victoria and Abdul'.
Dame Judi Dench (left) and Bollywood star Ali Faza in 'Victoria and Abdul'.

The astonishing story of the curious friendship between the most powerful empress on Earth and her Indian servant, to whom she bestowed a title of 'Munshi', plays out in the historical drama Victoria and Abdul. It stars Academy Award winner Dame Judi Dench and Bollywood star Ali Fazal.

It is based on the book of the same name by Shrabani Basu.

At the age of 68, Queen Victoria's life made an unexpected and drastic change. She was a figure of supremacy and much revered by her subjects, but her personal life was marked by tragedy and dilemma the moment she met Abdul Karim. Abdul was one of two Indians who arrived as gifts for Her Majesty's Indian Empire and was assigned a waiter's role in the royal household.

Victoria soon found that Abdul was a man of many talents and was impressed with his intelligence. As Empress of India, Queen Victoria was also fascinated with the Indian way of life and Adul satisfied her imaginative curiosity by bringing the Indian cultural practices to the royal court.

As the Queen's liking for Karim Abdul grew, so did the silent rage among her aristocratic household. Their prejudice caused them to plot ways of destroying Adbul's integrity and discredit his position.

While the royal house worked hard to conceal their friendship, author Shrabani Basu discovered the secret that had lain untold since Queen Victoria's death. In a project that spanned five years, and three countries, Basu slowly uncovered the story of Victoria and Abdul. Her research involved visiting Windsor Castle, looking at the Queen's Hindustani journals and reviewing the 13 volumes of the Queen's writing about her lessons at Balmoral.

Tickets are on sale at the box office - Palace Cineplex, and via the web at www.palaceamusement.com, with any major credit card.