Unveiling the raaz of Punjab’s last maharaja | Sikh Vogue

  • Edited by TOI
  • Jul 10, 2017

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Made by Kavi Raz, the first Punjabi to enter Hollywood, `The Black Prince’ set for a big-bang release
Punjab-born actor, director, and writer Kavi Raz, who was the first Punjabi to enter Holly wood, is all excited about the release of his epic film “The Black Prince“ on the last Maharaja of Punjab, Duleep Singh.

Produced by Hollywood’s Brillstein Entertainment Partners who were also behind the Oscar-winning 12 Years a Slave the film hits the screens worldwide on July 21. It’s dubbed versions in Punjabi and Hindi also release the same day.

Raz says it is his attempt to portray a character who was put through so much tragedy in his life of 55 years.

“Duleep Singh became the Maharaja at five. The British took over his empire and imprisoned his mother Maharani Jind Kaur when he was eight.

Then he was banished from his kingdom at the age of 11, converted to Christianity at the age of 15 and was exiled to Britain when he was 16,” says he Los Angeles-based filmmaker, who was born at Dhugga village near Hoshiarpur, and moved to the UK with his family when he was a little boy.

“My film is an attempt to do justice to a king wronged by the British empire. They did everything to make Maharaja Duleep p Singh forget his Sikh identity and his lost kingdom. When he regained his Sikh identity and wanted his kingdom back, they did everything to stop him going back to Lahore and he died a pauper in Paris,” says Raz who has appeared in more than 250 films and TV serials.

He says the audiences will be impressed by Punjabi singer Satinder Sartaaj in the role of the Maharaja.

“Sartaaj looks so much like Duleep Singh.

We put him through coaching in Mumbai and LA.” Interestingly, Shabana Azmi, who plays the role of Maharani Jind Kaur, is the only character in the film who speaks Punjabi. “We were in London looking for the cast when I met Shabana. She liked the script. When I told her that you will be the only actor in the film who will speak Punjabi, she said she didn’t know Punjabi.

But you will be amazed to see her speaking flawless Punjabi in the film.” “There is a lot of interest in the film in Pakistan because Duleep Singh’s early life revolved around Lahore. So we are planning a very big release there.” Excited as he is about the release, Raz feels this small film still won’t do full justice to Maharaja Duleep Singh.“So we have also shot a four-part serial which will be released after the film so that the audiences get the whole story of Duleep Singh.”

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