It’s indeed an important day for actor Ali Fazal because Victoria & Abdul is his first ever Hollywood feature, which has arrived in theatres today. Victoria & Abdul is a 2017 biographical comedy-drama film, helmed by Stephen Frears and written by Lee Hall. The film is a fact-based drama about the elderly Queen Victoria’s (Judi Dench) unique relationship with Abdul Karim, a Muslim Indian man, who starts off as her servant until she elevates his status, scandalising her family and household staff. The story is based on the book of the same name by Shrabani Basu. Let’s take a look at how critics find this romantic drama – an extraordinary true story of an unexpected friendship in the later years.

Economic Times: The screenplay written by Frears and Lee Hall is dubiously wobbly as it shifts gears from moody to comedy to drama. While the premise is interesting, it is Frears’ light-hearted treatment of the narrative that disappoints. The disdainful manner in which the queen is initially presented, the cheap gags about the Queen’s bowel movements, the lack of medal-bearing trays at Windsor Castle all add to the disillusionment. ALSO READ: (Karan Johar And Kangana Ranaut’s Cold War Continues – Read Details)

Times Of India: Ali Fazal’s one-dimensional portrayal of the Munshi, leaves a lot to the imagination and thus unexplained. Why was an Indian so devoted to the Queen of England, who ruled his country? (He even happily kisses her feet). Was he naive or just an opportunist? What was he like as a person? The narrative reduces Abdul to being a mere spectator and that’s its biggest flaw. Also, the film falters as it abruptly changes gear and transforms into a tedious tragedy from a cross-cultural comedy. Despite an uneven narrative and historical inaccuracies, Victoria and Abdul is a delightful film that deserves to be watched for Judi Dench.

First post: In a tide of ‘passable’ movies, the films with the most potential but the least end value seem to hurt the most. Victoria and Abdul is, unfortunately, one of those passable movies which could probably have been better in a parallel universe, or at the very least in the hands of more capable filmmakers. It’s an elegant looking film, but safe and forgettable at best. This passable drama might have worked infinitely better had it not fallen so frequently between the facetious and the earnest, erring more on the side of the former. If there is one element in Victoria & Abdul that strikes a chord, it is its subliminal Sufi spirit, heightened by the citing of Jalaluddin Rumi when it is time for the final parting. The film slips up big time in the portrayal of the royal court officials – they are all strictly single-dimension caricatures who lose no opportunity to put Abdul in his place. Not that the actors fluff their lines. It is just that the lines are awkwardly shallow. And so is the film as a whole.