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Know which Indian actor will play Judi Dench's confidant?

The unheralded Ali Fazal is set for a big break playing Abdul in the film Victoria And Abdul.

Photo: Shutterbugs Images

Mayur Lookhar

Say Ali Fazal and most may react with Ali who? But that will change soon. The unheralded Indian actor has bagged the biggest break of his career. And he is bound to shake up Hollywood.

Fazal has been chosen to star alongside the veteran Dame Judi Dench, famous for, among many other things, her role as M, chief of MI6, in the James Bond series, for a film based on the friendship of Queen Victoria and her Indian confidant Abdul Karim. Directed by the British filmmaker Stephen Frears, the film is titled Victoria and Abdul.

Expectedly, Fazal couldn’t hide his excitement. "I can't wait to take on Judi. She is the cherry on this wonderful pudding, the most loved woman of Britain and probably the world," he said in a statement.

"It was a process of endless auditions and readings and conversations and today I am so glad that they grilled fully into it to a point of no return. I am ecstatic and I guess it hasn't really sunk in. So I will take a bow when I finish my work on the film. The fun has just begun," he said.

The film is based on Shrabani Basu's book Victoria & Abdul: The True Story of the Queen's Closet Confidant, telling the extraordinary true story of an unexpected friendship in the later years of Queen Victoria's long reign.

"It doesn't get better. I have known about this beautiful story for ages and never thought I would be destined to play out this character," Fazal said. "Stephen Frears is one of my all-time favourite directors."

The film is being produced by Working Title Films and will be distributed worldwide by Focus Entertainment, which is a division of NBC Universal.

Victoria And Abdul won’t mark Fazal’s Hollywood début though. He had played a minor role in the 2015 blockbuster Furious 7. Fazal will next be seen in the Aanand L Rai-produced Happy Bhag Jayegi.