Punjabi singer-poet Satinder Sartaaj becomes first-ever turbaned Sikh to walk the red carpet at Cannes | Sikh Vogue

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He is the first turbaned Sikh to walk the red carpet at Cannes Film Festival. With the release of “The Black Prince” on July 21, the acclaimed singer-poet Satinder Sartaaj marks his acting debut in “The Black Prince”, essaying the character of Maharajah Duleep Singh.

Joined by a cast of stalwarts including — veteran actress Shabana Azmi as Rani Jindan, 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 portrays the bold role of Queen Victoria; , the exiled King’s Mother. The film also features Keith Duffy, David Essex OBE, Canadian actor Rup Magon and Sophie Stevens in supporting roles.

As the last King of Punjab, The Black Prince chronicles Maharajah Duleep Singh’s life long struggle and daring journey of self-discovery in order to reclaim his identity, his faith, and the Kingdom that was rightfully his. This ultimately leads him to meet his mother after 13 years of her being in exile. 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.

“History was distorted to gain the territorial rights. The film will shatter many misrepresentations about the last Maharaja of Punjab,” says Satinder Sartaj, who portrays the character of the Maharaja. “It addresses the issue of how Maharaja Ranjit Singh and his son, Maharaja Duleep Singh, have been misrepresented in history.”

The film has already evoked massive curiosity in the Punjabi diaspora overseas.

“After Ranjit Singh, Duleep Singh is mentioned very little in history. The film tells as to how he was exiled as a child, how he struggled to take back his kingdom, and how he sacrificed everything to regain what was rightfully his. Duleep’s existential struggle finds a place in the film,” he says.

“A lot of research was put into the film as a panel of 11 historians worked together on the project.”

As the last King of Punjab, The Black Prince chronicles Maharajah Duleep Singh’s life long struggle and daring journey of self-discovery in order to reclaim his identity, his faith, and the Kingdom that was rightfully his. This ultimately leads him to meet his mother after 13 years of her being in exile. 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 who converts to Christianity under the influence of his foster parents, but later longs to 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 on a new journey of exile, away from his mother.

It remains to be seen if the film would be able to create a wave of intrigue in India and the UK as the story touches upon the historically significant and priceless Kohinoor diamond, which was purportedly gifted by a young 13-year-old Maharajah Duleep Singh to Queen Victoria in a ceremony held in 1850, at Buckingham Palace, London.

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