Stephen Frears’ Ali Fazal-starrer ‘Victoria and Abdul’, which is in its last leg of shooting, recently faced the wrath of right-wing activists in Agra, where a statue of Queen Victoria had been erected in Mehtab Bagh for a particular scene. Despite having procured necessary permissions, local party workers attempted to vandalise the sets, claiming that the statue had been installed illegally.
Reacting to the incident, Ali says, “Our shoot was stalled for over three hours, as 50 angry men were running in all directions. The workers were adamant to break the statue, but the police intervened, just in time.”
The actor admits that the local administration was helpful, and claims that the incident that the crew had to brave does not reflect the true spirit of his city. “My hometown, Lucknow, is a beautiful blend of archaic and modern, and is attracting more visitors every year,” he asserts.
Ali’s co-star, Judi Dench, couldn’t make it to Agra for the shoot, but the actor insists she was not supposed to be part of the Indian schedule in the first place. “Unfortunately, the script was such that she didn’t need to shoot here,” Ali informs. The film is based on Shrabani Basu’s book by the same name.