After having started his Bollywood career with humble beginnings, the extremely talented and equally good looking Ali Fazal wasted no time in transforming himself into an actor par excellence. So much so that, today, he is one of the most sought after names, not just in Bollywood, but also in Hollywood as well.
The extremely soft spoken Ali Fazal is now all set to storm the west with his much-appreciated role in the upcoming Victoria And Abdul, which stars none other than the Oscar winning actress Judie Dench! Satish Sundaresan of KoiMoi met up with Ali Fazal for an exclusive interview. Here are the excerpts:
What was the first thing came to your mind when you heard the line “Ali, you are selected to play the lead of Victoria And Abdul”?
It was a huge surprise. I still remember when I got this call I was in a bar celebrating my friend’s birthday. Since there was too much of noise there, I went inside the washroom to receive the call (laughs). There were many people outside the bathroom and here I was sitting inside the washroom waiting to hear the producer’s confirmation about my role in the film!
How did you bag the film Victoria And Abdul?
I was a part of a lot of look tests and readings. I got a tip off from my friend, and she had mentioned that Victoria And Abdul is happening. The film’s makers had come down to India. A lot of people had been approached for this particular role and had also auditioned for the same. After my audition, it was more like a video game for me. I cleared one level after the other. After a certain point, the whole thing had become delusional for me.
While we grow up, we all have supreme fancies about wearing costumes like that of doctor, pilot, emperor etc… did you ever fancy to be in any such uniform/ costume?
Who hasn’t! Besides being in the costume of a Superman, I really used to like the legendary Charlie Chaplin a lot!
What was the feeling when you wore the costume for Victoria And Abdul?
Truly speaking, I felt VERY ROYAL! The costumes of the film are one of the most beautiful creations in the film.
In one word or a sentence, how was it to work with the Oscar award winning Judie Dench?
‘SUBLIME’ is the word!
How different is Judie Dench from the ‘quintessential’ Bollywood heroines, the age factor notwithstanding?
Oh! She is extremely beautiful. She is one of the most beautiful persons I have ever met in my lifetime. She is that loveable. She is chubby, hilarious and has a heart of a 16-year-old kid! She would be the funniest on the sets.
How different or difficult is it working in Hollywood as compared to Bollywood?
Hollywood is very democratic and very much organized.
Given a choice to work as a leading man with 10 topmost Bollywood heroines on one side and on the other side, there’s a film with Judie Dench, which side will you be on?
Are you kidding me! Dude, it has to be Judie Dench! (laughs). Now that I have done a film with her, and if she wants to do another film with me, then, why not!
How did you prepare for your role in Victoria And Abdul?
I have never read so much in my life! As a part of my research, I ended up reading a lot of literature and history books of that era.
Now that you have taken your first step in Hollywood, will we see you more in Hollywood now than Bollywood?
Exciting times are surely ahead. Some stuff is happening there (in the west), but, they are in very early stages. As of now, I am focussing on the two releases viz., Fukrey Returns and Victoria And Abdul.
Looking back, how would you sum up your career, right from playing 3 Idiots’ Joy Lobo till Victoria And Abdul’s Abdul Karim?
Hops, skips, triple jumps, and walks. Distractions, diversions and all of that. I still have a long way to go in my career! I want to give it more time to be able to look back.
What’s next on your plate?
Right now, I am having rotis and halwa! (laughs heartily).
Tell our readers about your forthcoming projects
Besides Fukrey Returns and Victoria And Abdul, there are a couple of stuff in the pipeline. I am working on Amazon and Excel. I am prepping for that now. But, it’s too early to talk about it. All that I can tell you is that I play the lead in it.
What’s your take on the controversial Baba Ram Rahim case?
I think it’s a brilliant decision by the judiciary. It’s a step forward for everyone.