Ali loved working with Judi Dench

Ali loved working with Judi Dench

A scene from ‘Victoria & Abdul’ starring Ali Fazal and Judi Dench.

Ali Fazal is one of those actors who has carved a niche for himself. From playing the depressed college boy to the hilarious one, he has done it all. That’s probably what gave him the recognition to work in international films. 

One such film, ‘Victoria & Abdul’, which premiered on Sony PIX and Sony Le PLEX HD, gave Ali a chance to play the character of Abdul Karim. He spoke to Anila 
Kurian about how the movie helped him. 

It’s been a year since ‘Victoria & Abdul’ released. How does it feel?

My life has flipped since last year and it feels so good. It feels like there is something more meaningful in my life now. I’m happy that I got the chance to work with some of the best people in show business. Working on this has been rewarding in so many ways.

Ali Fazal

What has been your best reward though? 

Becoming a member of the Academy. I love saying it over and over again because I think it’s really cool.

Do you miss shooting for the film?

Every bit of it. But I’m also glad that it’s over as it took a toll on me. I was way too invested in it. I was busy building a character, watching, learning, observing and reading a lot. I’ve never read so much in my life!

Did you read the book before the movie?

No, but everyone assumed that I did (laughs). I thought the screenplay was so good that I didn’t see a reason to read it; of course, I read it after the film. Having said that, Abdul was a character that we had to create as there are no pictures or records of him.

Has the film set a benchmark for you? Do you compare the greatness of ‘Victoria & Abdul’ to any other projects you do?

I wouldn’t call it comparing as much as it helped me set a tone and become disciplined.

What was it like working with Judi Dench?

Oh, she’s like a 16-year-old kid who is full of pranks. She’s one of the wittiest ladies I’ve met. There wasn’t a single scene where we didn’t crack up. In fact, the last death bed scene was shot on my birthday. Imagine this – an old lady lying down, dying, and I’m crying next to her. She suddenly wakes up from the bed and screams ‘Happy Birthday’ and arranged a cake-cutting ceremony in between the shot!

Did you find any common factors between the two of you?

Shopping – we love shopping!

What are the projects you’ve been busy with?

Í’m working on Prasthanam, a remake of a South Indian film under the same name. Milan Talkies and Mirzapur on Amazon Prime Video are the others I’m working on right now.