Based on the true story of Maharajah Duleep Singh, King of Punjab, The Black Prince, directed by Kavi Raz, explores how the British planned to colonise India. As a result of these plans, the English took the King’s son away from his family. The son was a young child at the time and was exiled from India. He was then raised in England as a ‘black prince’, rather than a king in India. The film is about this role, this longing for something that was his but never really was because of unfortunate events which happened to him across his life time.
Flash forwards and backwards in time capture the essence and events on what the Prince (played by actor and traditional Indian singer Satinder Sartaaj) endured throughout his childhood. His struggle inspired Sikhs to continue the fight for freedom until India regained its independence from British Imperialism in 1947 and the Sikh Kingdom was divided into India and Pakistan. Indian costumes, ballroom dresses and suits for the wealthy people of England are displayed throughout the film. There are long camera shots of gardens, wealthy palaces, houses and stunning architectural buildings. Camera shots continue to capture the audience’s attention with multiple bird’s eye views of the palace to get an overall image of the rooms, patterns and textures inside.
The film represents that the bond between family is forever strong. The mother says in her fight to be reunited with her son, “I have not only lost a Kingdom, but a son too.” Although there are questions surrounding race within the film, one question which lingered was, if the prince was exiled then why was he treated so well in England?
Themes in the film include pride, courage, identity, strength and faith. A mix of traditional Indian music and also sorrowful contemporary music are displayed during the film as well as beautiful, picturesque images of cathedrals. The ending of the film includes facts about what happened to the Black Prince and his fight for his home country. Overall, a heart-wrenching film.
The Black Prince will screen in selected cinemas from 21st July.