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The Black Prince:
A New Film on Duleep Singh,
The Last Emperor of Punjab

SANYUKTA IYER

 

 

 




Madhurima Tuli's next onscreen turn will be a grander affair than anything she‘s tackled before.

The actress has joined the ensemble cast of ‘The Black Prince‘, which includes names like Jason Flemyng, a regular fixture in Guy Ritchie films like Lock Stock And Two Smoking Barrels and RocknRolla, Boyzone singer Keith Duffy and Tony nominee Amanda Root.

The cast also has an impressive Punjabi presence, with Punjabi singer-actor Sartaaj Singh playing the titular character in the film which is based on the life of the last Sikh Emperor, Maharaja Duleep Singh.

Shabana Azmi plays Duleep's mother Rani Jindan in the film and Madhurima will portray the character's younger days.

Written and directed by Los Angeles based Sikh-American filmmaker Kavi Raz, the feature a film follows the tumultous rise and fall of of Duleep Singh, the son of the Lion of Punjab, Ranjit Singh.

Duleep Singh ascended to the Sikh throne at the age of 5. In 1849, Punjab was annexed to the Raj territories by the British and the young prince was removed from the throne and sent to exile in England. His attempts to return to Punjab and reclaim his kingdom were thwarted and the prince died a alone in a Parisian hotel in 1893.

"The film shows the emotional journey of Duleep Singh's mother. I play the part of a young Jind Kaur (Rani Jindan) -- played as an older character by Shabana Azmi -- in the film and appear in the flashback sequences," says Madhurima, who is currently shooting in Bikaner, Rajasthan for the film.

Though she is a Punjabi, Madhurima had to train to get the dialect right.

"I have very intense sequences and had to learn how to speak typical Punjabi and work on my accent. We've been shooting in the heat and dust in heavy costumes and jewellery at palaces in Rajasthan to keep the feel of the film as real as possible," says the actress.

Slated for a worldwide release this year, the film will be screened in both English and Hindi.

"The film has several sequences that have been retained in Punjabi to maintain the authenticity of that era. I did not have any dialogues in English," Madhurima says.

"The makers thought I looked like Shabana Azmi. Unfortunately, since we both play the same character, I did not get to film with her," says Madhurima.


[Courtesy: Mumbai Mirror. Edited for sikhchic.com]
March 28, 2015
 

Conversation about this article

1: Harinder Singh 1469 (New Delhi, India), March 28, 2015, 7:35 AM.

Sartaaj Singh has great potential. Punjab has, in recent decades, produced good artists, and he is certainly one of them. My hope is that he will stick to sufi / ghazal / rustic / vintage material in his music. Surjeet Singh Patar and Irshad Kamil, however, are of the opinion that he should concentrate on raag and roots. No matter, his journey is an interesting and colourful one -- and now as an actor! We wish him good luck in his endeavours!

2: Kaala Singh (Punjab), March 28, 2015, 11:33 AM.

It is time to make a film on Hari Singh Nalwa, one of the greatest warriors ever, and a man of impeccable character. Had this man been leading the Sikhs, the Sikh empire would not only have survived but emerged as a strong force in Asia.

3: G C Singh (New York, USA), March 29, 2015, 4:22 PM.

This movie has an impressive cast, but needs to be backed up by good story telling and direction. However there is another movie that is likely to be released next month which should cause concern to to all Sikhs. If the trailer is any guide, "Nanak Shah Fakir" is an intolerable and silly nonsense that will open up flood gates commercial cinema and enemies of the Sikhs with huge resource playing up with Sikh sentiments and history for the sake of commercial gains and distortions. Already the lies of the producer have been exposed when it was revealed that Harish Khanna had played the role of Guru Nanak in the film. Giani Gurbachan Singh - the cowardly, corrupt and double faced minion who has been appointed by Badal as Akal Takht Jathedar has played a very dubious role by blessing this film although now he is trying to backtrack from this. Unless the Sikh nation wakes up from its slumber, the Indian Government and its agents are bent upon wiping out Sikh identity, history and its precious heritage.

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A New Film on Duleep Singh,
The Last Emperor of Punjab"









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