Sanjay Leela Bhansali may still be struggling with the shoot of his film Padmavati, what with vandalism by Rajput Karni Sena activists on the film’s sets, makers of another film, Ali Fazal’s British-American film Victoria and Abdul, have come up with a costly-but-novel alternative. They’ve decided to recreate parts of the city of Agra in London and finish shooting. This, after Bajrang Dal activists vandalised the film’s sets in Agra in November 2016.
The British-American biographical drama stars Judi Dench and is set to release later this year. Directed by Stephen Frears, the film is based on Shrabani Basu’s book by the same name.
The film was scheduled to be shot in Agra and London as it revolves around Queen Victoria and her confidante Abdul Karim, played by Judi and Ali respectively.
The last leg of the shoot in India at Agra was disrupted when Bajrang Dal activists attacked the sets for having installed a statue of Queen Victoria. The makers of the film panicked and left Agra in November 2016.
Sources close to the film’s crew now reveal that they plan to recreate Agra on the London sets to finish the final leg. “The team was planning to shoot in India and was even prepping for it.However, owing to the earlier circumstances and situation, they finally decided to not shoot here. Instead since the shoot left was that of market areas and houses, they planned to stick to recreating the sets in the outskirts of London which was more feasible for them. This would be the final schedule of the film before its release in September,” a source told Hindustan Times.
The character of Abdul Karim is based on the Indian clerk from Agra who forged an unlikely 19th century friendship with Queen Victoria. Abdul has been chronicled by writer Shrabani Basu in her 2010 book, Victoria & Abdul: The True Story of the Queen’s Closest Confidant.
Victoria and Abdul is directed by Stephen Frears with the screenplay by Lee Hall.
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