Fresh from impressing audiences with the debut of its trailer at Cannes Film Festival, the award-winning historical biopic, THE BLACK PRINCE, will be opening the 8th edition of The Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival, at the BFI London Southbank on 22 June 2017 and 3rd edition of The Bagri Foundation Birmingham Indian Film Festival at Cineworld Birmingham on 23 June 2017, Europe’s largest Indian film festival.
Releasing worldwide in cinemas on 21 July 2017, THE BLACK PRINCE tells the little known, yet powerful story of the Last King of Punjab, Maharajah Duleep Singh. The film cornerstones his relationship with Queen Victoria and the long and often difficult battle he faced to regain his identity, faith and the Kingdom taken from his grasp as a child.
Sponsored by the Bagri Foundation with support from Grange Hotels, Sun Mark Ltd, and funded by the BFI’s National Lottery Film Festivals Fund, The Bagri Foundation London & Birmingham Indian Film Festivals boast a ground-breaking selection of exciting and innovative films across leading cinemas in London and Birmingham – including the BFI Southbank to Midlands Arts Centre. Known as the ‘punk-rock of Indian cinema’, the festival showcases the best films at the cutting edge of the industry; the Birmingham programme takes place in partnership with the citywide USTAV Festival of South Asian culture.
The Black Prince is at the heart of a line-up that celebrates the thriving relationship between UK-India Year of Culture, which incidentally celebrates its 70th year this term, and complements the BFI’s own lndia on Film programme.
Produced by Brillstein Entertainment Partners, and written and directed by Los Angeles-based filmmaker Kavi Raz, acclaimed singer-poet Satinder Sartaaj marks his acting debut in THE BLACK PRINCE, playing the role of Maharajah Duleep Singh with eloquence. He is joined by an esteemed cast of acting stalwarts including Jason Flemyng (Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Snatch) as Dr. Login, the foster parent for the Maharajah; English stage, screen actress Amanda Root (The Iron Lady), who boldly portrays the role of Queen Victoria; and veteran actress Shabana Azmi (City of Joy) as Rani Jindan, the exiled King’s mother. The film also features Keith Duffy, David Essex OBE, Canadian actor Rup Magon and Sophie Stevens in supporting roles.
Speaking about the film opening the festival, Satinder Sartaaj said: “It has been a great honour to play the role of Maharajah Duleep Singh and I am glad to share this film with audiences in London – home to the royals. The response to the film thus far has been outstanding and I am proud to have played a role in the historic year of culture between India and the UK. I hope the audiences at London Indian Film Festival will appreciate the film.”
The film’s producer Jasjeet Singh says: “It’s a privilege to be able to open the London Indian Film Festival with The Black Prince. It’s a fantastic opportunity to introduce London’s audience to the truly fascinating story of Maharajah Duleep Singh. It’s a story that should be told and has not been told until this point, and we hope those who watch the film will be moved.”
Cary Rajinder Sawhney, LIFF Director, says: “We are delighted to have the sublime film The Black Prince open the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival. The film perfectly showcases the long-standing relationship between the UK and India and brings a fresh perspective to the Victorian era. We hope that London audiences enjoy the film alongside a truly diverse selection of new comedies, gripping thrillers, shocking horror and insightful true-life documentaries that will be premiering at the film festival.
Having been deprived of his throne by those closest to him, The Black Prince spotlights Queen Victoria’s cordial relationship with Maharajah Duleep Singh, as he begins adjusting and embracing the English culture he was drawn to at the age of 15. The film also sheds light into his upbringing as an aristocrat in the UK and his subsequent conversion to Christianity under the influence of his foster parents. The Prince’s world is turned upside-down when he begins to long for a return to his Kingdom, mother and roots. His character, as it evolves, is torn between two contrasting cultures – his royal ancestry from the Kingdom of Punjab as its last King, set against his upbringing in the UK as he embarks in a new journey of exile, away from his mother.
In anticipation of its worldwide release, THE BLACK PRINCE has already won several awards including Best Drama Feature at the LA Film Awards, the Special Jury Remi Award at the 50th Annual WorldFest International Film Festival in Houston, and the Best Male Debut Award for lead actor Satinder Sartaaj at the London Independent Film Festival.
The film’s European premiere at The Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival will only further add to the excitement surrounding the official release of the film in July.
The Black Prince premieres at the Bagri Foundation London Indian Film Festival (22 June) and the Bagri Foundation Birmingham Indian Film Festival (23 June) and releases internationally in cinemas on 21 July 2017.
Watch the trailer here: