Watch out Jenna Coleman – Dame Judi Dench is going to give your Victoria a run for her money. Dame Judi is reprising her role as the monarch in later life in a new film about Victoria’s friendship with a young Indian man.
Victoria and Abdul is based on the real-life friendship that developed between the Queen and Abdul Karim, a handsome young Indian who had worked as a ledger clerk at a jail in Agra, in the shadow of the Taj Mahal.
Abdul was sent to London to help present a ceremonial coin during Victoria’s Golden Jubilee in 1887. She liked him, and soon he was preparing curry for her, and instructing her in Urdu and Indian affairs, adopting the role of ‘munshi’ (teacher).
The film, directed by Stephen Frears, begins production in September.
Of course Dame Judi has played Victoria before, in 1997’s Mrs Brown, for which she was Oscar nominated.
“It’s a magnificent role for Judi, and we’re very excited to be working with her,” Eric Fellner, of Working Title Films, told Baz Bamigboye.