Shabana Azmi, one of Bollywood’s internationally acclaimed stars who has worked with the likes of Shirley MacLaine in ‘Madame Sousatzka’ and PatrickSwayze in ‘The City Of Joy’ is now working on the most controversial international project of her career. Shabana stars in ‘The Black Prince’, the bio-pic on the life of Maharaja Duleep Singh, who was wrenched away from his mother at age of 15 during the British Raj and forcibly brought to Britain where he was converted to Christianity. For many decades Sikh historians have regarded Duleep Singh’s story to be emblematic of Colonial intolerance. The film is now being helmed by US-based Indian actor-director Kavi Raz in Northamptonshire in England.
Speaking about her role Shabana says, “Maharani Jinda is the driving-force behind Duleep to return to Punjab and take back his land. He was taken away to England by Queen Victoria and turned into a Christian.” She goes on to add, “There is no phone connectivity where we shoot. We have to travel 20 miles for network. I am thoroughly enjoying my time off. I am doing my own cooking and learning on the job, mixing and matching different dishes to suit my own palate.It’s great fun. But I’m missing my mother.”
Am shooting 4The Black Prince at Althorp Spencer family estate where Lady Diana grew up. She fascinates me pic.twitter.com/En3CdcAOzI
— Azmi Shabana (@AzmiShabana) November 7, 2014
Duleep Singh’s role is essayed by Satinder Sartaj, a popular punjabi Sufi singer and lyricist. “I play Duleep Singh’s mother – Maharani Jindan. David Essex , Jason Fleming, Amanda Peat all very well-known British actors are also in the film, ” elaborates the senior actress. Shabana Azmi who has worked with the best film-makers in the industry is all praise for The Black Prince’s director. “Kavi Raz is an LA-based director. Aaron Smith is the cinematographer. Both are extremely good at their craft. It’s a truly international crew. There are American, French, Turkish, Indian, British and Polish crew members. This trend of a multi-cultural crew is gradually catching on. I love the feeling of being in the midst of such diverse talent. It’s a very exciting place to be in for any actor.”
The location is a dream for most actors to work at. “We’re shooting at Althorp Spencer Estate where Lady Diana grew up and is now buried. This place has to be seen to be believed. It is paradise,” says the actor excitedly. She took to twitter to share a picture of the beautiful palace.