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'Victoria and Abdul' costumes go on display.

Summary: Exhibition, based on the film set during the British rule of India, is located in the Osborne House on the Isle of Wight


Costumes worn by Oscar-winning actress Judi Dench and Indian actor Ali Fazal in the movie Victoria and Abdul are currently on display at a heritage site in England.

Victoria and Abdul , to be released in the UAE on September 14, is based on a book by British Indian journalist and author Shrabani Basu.

It tells the tale of an unlikely friendship between the then Empress of India and one of her Indian subjects, Abdul Karim, during the 19th century.

The exhibition, which opened in July at Osborne House on the Isle of Wight in the English Channel where the duo spent much of their time, includes costumes from the period drama designed with attention to historical detail by Oscar-nominated costume designer Consolata Boyle.

"The thought that my costumes for Victoria and Abdul , through this exhibition, and our imaginations, will inhabit the same rooms and gardens where Queen Victoria walked and lingered, makes it a particular honour and joy for me," said Boyle.

The exhibition runs until September 30 and is located in the Queen's India-inspired Durbar Room, which also features in the film.

"Osborne was Queen Victoria's private family home which means visitors can step straight into Queen Victoria's world when they get here," said Michael Hunter, English Heritage curator at Osborne House. " Victoria and Abdul is the first film to ever use the interiors of Osborne as a location and these costumes add an extra layer to the rich experience of a visit here."

Karim was just 24 when he arrived in England from Agra to present Queen Victoria with a special gold coin to mark her Golden Jubilee in 1887. He grew close to the ageing monarch, a bond not appreciated by much of the royal household at the time.

Award-winning British filmmaker Stephen Frears has now transformed the tale for the big screen with Dench as Victoria and Fazal as Abdul.

"It is fantastic. As a writer, it is a lonely process of research. It took me four years to write the book. Now the film is taking it to a different level," said Basu, in reference to the worldwide attention being showered upon this little-known story.

She stumbled upon the curious friendship between Victoria and Abdul, who become the Queen's Urdu teacher during a visit to Osborne House many years ago.

Basu then followed it up with a visit to Windsor Castle and went through Queen Victoria's Hindustani journals - a collection of notebooks filled with the monarch's handwriting practicing Urdu with her teacher.

"I did know that Queen Victoria loved curries and had some Indian servants. It was when I went to Osborne House and saw the portraits of Abdul Karim in the Indian corridor that my curiosity was first aroused.

"He did not look like a servant. Walking through the Durbar Hall, I could feel Victoria's connection with India. That was the starting point," recalls the author of Victoria and Abdul: The Extraordinary True Story of the Queen's Closest Confidant .

The book is also getting a fresh launch in the run up to the film's release, both in Britain and in India, and Basu feels the timing could not be more appropriate with 2017 marking the UK India Year of Culture.

"Victoria was ahead of her time. She steeped herself in her later years in Indian culture. She learnt to read and write in Urdu, she had curries cooked in her Royal palaces. It is the perfect Indo-UK shared culture story," said Basu.

Gulf News

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Publication:Gulf News (United Arab Emirates)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Sep 9, 2017
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