The new movie Victoria & Abdul tells the true story of the amazing and unlikely friendship between Queen Victoria (Judi Dench) and a young clerk from Northern India, Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal). The duo had a unique and deep bond that began during the late 1800s. Karim became the queen’s teacher, spiritual advisor, and her devoted friend.
The unlikely relationship caused a deep rift within the royal household, pitting the queen against court and family. Directed by Stephen Frears, the film from Focus Features explores questions of race, religion and power through the lens of an unusual and moving friendship.
Without giving too much away, one particularly touching moment occurs when Karim brings Queen Victoria a treasured mango. The scene was enough to inspire Michelin star Chef Vikas Khanna, known for his fine Indian cuisine and owner of Junoon restaurant in New York City, to create a mango dessert at a luncheon which celebrated the film. “I had heard of the story that Queen Victoria wanted to taste a mango. But the way that story came about in the movie was truly beautiful,” says Chef Khanna of how mangos help guide his menu. “ I loved the scene and her curiosity of how mango tasted. I knew it right away that a mango would be a theme.”
Costars Judi Dench, Eddie Izzard and Ali Fazal attended the luncheon that was held at Bar Milano. “I love anything and everything by Judi Dench,” says Chef Khanna. “I see her as a connection between generations and nations. She has the power to communicate the strongest emotions without words. In Victoria & Abdul, she created a whole era by her presence and supported by brilliant Ali Fazal.”
See photos from the luncheon below along with a trailer from the movie.
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