The movie interrogates the status quo of our society when the friendship of Queen Victoria and the servant is beautifully portrayed on screen. Judi Dench appears on screen for the second time and echoes 19997’s Mrs.Brown. What strangely beautiful is the offbeat plot and the ubiquitous presence of colonial fantasies. Colonial hangover can also be noticed amongst the audience when you see the eyes rolling out.
Stephen Frears’s ‘Victoria & Abdul’, written by Lee Hall displays the intricate emotions of the isolated Queen, it is shown from her perspective but allows the audience to attach and at the same time look from a distant altitude. The woman has been suffering and witnessed many deaths of her loved ones since sixty decades. Her heart desires for a loyal friendship so that she can come out of despair and share some of her sweet memories. The Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and the Empress of India finds resort in an Indian man, who is a Muslim and much younger to him. The film is based on real life incidents, mostly. Queen Victoria first encounters this handsome man named Abdul Karim who later became his munshi (teacher). The munshi came as a servant to present the mohar i.e. a ceremonial coin to the Queen, the scene is shown in a very humorous manner.
As the film progresses, the tone of the film shifts from comedy to drama and the Queen finds the servant attractive, later we see that relationship is based on friendship and loyalty. Though, she was betrayed by the servant but later we see that the old lady survives the breach of trust and once again regains the companionship. The narrative is strong and shows you how cross-cultural relationship is observed in our society. This story is definitely a blend of empathy, wisdom, loneliness and affection. The munshi not only teaches her Urdu but also the philosophy of life which gets missed on a daily chore.