This film is based on a book by Shrabani Basu. Abdul Karim and Mohammed arrive in the United Kingdom of 1887 from India. They have sailed across the ocean to honor Queen Victoria with a mohur. It is a special coin minted for her golden jubilee and a token of appreciation from British-ruled India. Victoria is in her 80’s and she has a feeling of being constricted by her role as the Queen. She has had a reign of over 63 years and she mourns for her husband Albert and also for John Brown. He was a Scottish personal attendant and a favorite of the Queen for many years. Abdul is like a breath of fresh air to her soul. He isn’t jockeying for position and stature in the household like all the other men and women including her son Bertie. Victoria and Abdul form an alliance and a true friendship. The members of the household become green with jealousy and envy. They are constantly on the lookout for a way to find out shameful information about Abdul in order to smear his reputation or background with the Queen. They are hoping this information or some other reason can be used to put Abdul back on any boat to India!!
This is good and interesting. I was surprised about the loneliness and lack of friendship suffered by Victoria. The Queen may be the monarch of the United Kingdom but she is still thinking of how many years she may have left on earth. She is not in the best of health with a variety of ailments due to old age. She was also stout, dowdy, only about five feet tall but she projected a grand image and she could be very stern when challenged. Victoria called Abdul “the Munshi” which means clerk or teacher and he was with her during the final fifteen years of her reign. I thought it was wonderful that he became a bright spot in her days. 3 ½* (I liked this movie)
111 min, Bio directed by Stephen Frears with Judi Dench, Ali Fazal, Tim Pigott-Smith, Eddie Izzard, Adeel Akhtar, Michael Gambon, Paul Higgins, Olivia Williams, Fenella Woolgar, Julian Wadham, Robin Soans, Ruth McCabe, Simon Callow.
Note: Imdb 6.8 out of 10, 66% critic 68% audience on Rotten Tomatoes, Roger Ebert 3*, Amazon 4.3* out of 5* with 736 reviews, Metacritic 58 out of 100 with 34 critics 5.8 out of 10 with 53 reviews.
Special Note: Filmed in Highland, Scotland; Isle of Wight, Leicestershire, Hertforshire, Surrey, North Yorkshire, Buckinghamshire, Kent, London, England, UK; Uttar Pradesh and Delhi, India. At the beginning of filming, Judi Dench was one month older than the age of Queen Victoria when she died in 1901. Jane Spencer, the Baroness Churchill died one month prior to Queen Victoria. She served as Lady of the Bedchamber from 1854 until her death and was the longest serving member of the queen’s personal household.