Bollywood actor Ali Fazal stars alongside Academy Award winner Judi Dench in Stephen Frears’ “Victoria and Abdul,” which has been nominated in two categories at the 90th annual Academy Awards.
The film has been nominated in the ‘Best Costume Design,’ and in the ‘Best Makeup and Hairstyling’ categories.
The film, which is based on Shrabani Basu’s book of the same name, throws light on the real-life relationship between Queen Victoria and her Indian servant, Abdul Karim.
In the film, the Muslim clerk Karim is selected to travel from India to England to present Queen Victoria with a ceremonial coin in honor of her Golden Jubilee. The bored monarch is delighted by the lively young man and the two quickly become friends, much to the chagrin of Victoria’s family and advisors. (Read India-West’s review of the film here.)
Dench plays the role of Queen Victoria while “Fukrey” fame Fazal essays the role of her favored attendant, Karim.
“Victoria and Abdul” marks the first time Fazal is featured as a leading role in a Hollywood film. The Lucknow-born actor debuted in a minor role in the Indian American film, “The Other End of the Line,” and had a brief appearance in “Fast and Furious 7” before earning Bollywood stardom with “Fukrey.”
Terming the story of Queen Victoria and her relationship with Abdul as a “breath of fresh air,” Fazal had previously told India-West that “The (film’s narrative is about) love and hope, the sharing of culture seeing through costumes, and seeing the human story.”
“We went through centuries of colonialism. I think people ought to know (about this story and others like it),” Fazal told India-West. “You want to look back and say we’ve seen (something similar to what’s happening today) before.
“I don’t want people to wash away the memory. We’re still recovering (from colonialism). We’re still filling the void,” Fazal added.
This is the third Academy Award nomination for the costume designer of the film, Consolata Boyle. She was previously nominated for the 2016 film, “Florence Foster Jenkins,” and the 2006 film, “The Queen.”
Daniel Phillips and Lou Sheppard have been nominated for their makeup and hairstyling in the British biographical drama. These are the first Academy Award nominations for the duo.
The official Twitter account of the film celebrated the nomination with this tweet: “#VictoriaAndAbdul receives two #OscarNoms! We’re so proud of the team!”
The 90th Oscars will be telecast live March 4 at 8:00 p.m. EST/5:00 p.m. PST.