Stephen Frears sets next feature film
Stephen Frears is at the helm to direct Victoria & Abdul, a period feature about Queen Victoria’s friendship with her young Indian servant.
The feature comes from UK powerhouse producers Working Title Films, and centres on the monarch’s close friendship with Abdul Karim, a 24 year-old clerk from Agra, northern India who arrived in England in 1887, one of two Indians selected as servants to the Queen.
Karim soon gained the affection of Victoria, becoming a trusted friend, confidant and teacher as he gave her lessons in Urdu and Indian culture, invaluable to her role as Empress of India at the time. She appointed him her Indian Secretary, and arranged an estate for him in India where he eventually died aged just 46.
The friendship caused much discomfort and resentment within the Royal Household and, on Victoria’s death, King Edward VII sent Karim back to India while ordering the destruction of all correspondence between the two. But some of Karim's 'lost' diaries remained and form the focus of the book Victoria & Abdul, by Shrabani Basu.
Pre-production and shoot dates have yet to be locked down on Victoria & Abdul, but PI subscribers can log in for details on the four producers and the casting director, with updates to follow over the coming months.
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