Verdict: Duleep Singh's tragic tale doesn't do justice to the Maharaj.
We have heard a lot about the battle of 1857. The key players like Rani Lakshmibai and Mangal Pandey have been immortalized in our history books. But there was another rebellion decades after that which was squashed before it could reach its peak and that rebellion was of Maharaja Duleep Singh. A lot of Indians still believe that the King made no efforts to regain his rightful land. Kavi Raz's biographical movie on the King is set to change all that. Titled the Black Prince, the movie is based on Maharaj Duleep Singh and Rani Jindani. The English-Punjabi movie has received worldwide recognition after being screened at various film festivals.
Since it is an Indo-American movie, there isn't a lot of time wasted in setting the story. We know that Duleep Singh (Satinder Sartaj) soon after his crowning was taken by the English to London as a Royal subject and was baptized into Christianity soon after. It is not until he reaches of age does he express a wish to meet his mother. The wish is reluctantly granted by Queen Victoria (Amanda Root) and he promptly visits India to meet Rani Jindani (Shabana Azmi). Rani Jindani wastes no time in letting him know where his loyalties should lie and it takes a while for Duleep Singh to realize that. Once he does, the path to regaining his kingdom is certainly long and treacherous.
What shines in the movie was his struggle as he was trying to find himself as a man who hailed from two cultures. It is true there are many second-generation immigrants who still go through this struggle as they accept a new culture while trying to retain a semblance of what their parents teach them.
Satinder Sartaj's debut couldn't have been better. His accent is without a fault and he manages to hold the film on his shoulder. Shabana Azmi's appearance is brief but she leaves a lasting impact on us. Amanda Root is every bit of Queen Victoria as you would expect her to be. With a little more effort on the editing table, this movie could have been a lot better.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
Duleep Singh's story is virtually unknown and this is the closest to the true account you can get. Also, Satinder Sartaj truly impresses us with his debut performance and we would like to see more of him. If you love historical movies, you should not miss this one.