THE BLACK PRINCE is a period film, set in the 19th century (India’s pre-independence years). Director Kavi Raz’s film solely rests on Maharaja of Punjab Duleep Singh’s longing and liberation. It is a biographical film with a thing of fiction but is based on the true story of the last king of Punjab.
The protagonist (Satinder Sartaaj as Duleep Singh) has done justice to the role. He portrays the agonising tale of Maharaja Duleep Singh, who was robbed of his mother, Kingdom, faith and lineage by the British, who had established their kingdom in India.
Maharaja Duleep Singh was raised as a Christian ‘prince’ in England by Queen Victoria (Amanda Root). In spite of all the glory and might of British empire to force Maharaja Duleep to adopt and adapt Royal British ways. Maharaja was not convinced and was always yearning to embrace his own faith. He wanted to reclaim his identity and trace his roots but was directionless and rudderless in sailing through choppy waters.
The role of Maharaja Duleep Singh, Rani Jindan (Shabana Azmi) is very powerful and emotional. It is Maharaja’s mother who gives the purpose of direction to his life. The fearless mother ignites the flame of desire and ambition in Duleep Singh’s life. With the motivation from his mother, his patriotic struggles start and he wants to be united with his motherland.
The film highlights the void in the life of the Maharaja. Duleep Singh’s bringing up in royal British atmosphere creates anxiety in him, as he torn between his past and the present. He struggles to speak the language of the land, he barely knows about his religion, culture and traditions but still wants to go back to the roots.
The film is good in patches but fails to impress as a whole. The emotional sequences are very powerful but the snail paced story takes away the entertainment quotient and makes it dull and boring. The scenes between (Shabana Azmi) Rani Jindan and (Sartaaj) Maharaja are excellent, Amanda Root and Jason Flemyng do an excellent job in the film.
The period films are set in grandeur to have melancholic dialogues, fast pace and lot of action but this Kavi Raz’s film lacks most of it. The dimly-lit set, monotonously shot within the four walls of a room, ends up being a tedious watch, it lacks zeal and the sense of purpose gets lost in the end I would just like to say in Italian-Mille Grazie. Which is translated into English would mean thank you very much for producing this film and enriching the Punjabis with their forgotten past.
19 Feb 2019
20 Feb 2019