“This was a dream role”
Singer Satinder Sartaaj talks about playing the lead character in the international production The Dark Prince based on Maharaja Duleep Singh’s life
The Black Prince was more than a film for me. It was a five-year journey that exposed me not just to a different art form but also helped me evolve on many levels. I discovered many facets of myself. The entire journey of essaying a historical character was an internal voyage,” says singer Satinder Sartaaj, 37, who makes his debut as the lead character in the Hollywood production The
Black Prince directed by US-based Indian filmmaker Kavi Raz, that released in July this year. The movie brings to the forefront the relationship between Maharaja Duleep Singh, the last king of the Sikh empire and Queen Victoria. Made with a budget of five million dollars, the movie charts the story of Duleep Singh, who was put on the throne at the age of five and removed after the British annexed India. Forcefully sent to England, all his attempts to return to his country were thwarted by the British. The Maharaja died alone and penniless in a Paris hotel in 1893. For Sartaaj, transformation into the character was both emotional and exhaustive. “It involved a lot of research, acting classes, long sessions with the director and transporting myself into an era long gone past.” And the
biggest stumbling block for him was to master the English language considering it is his third language. “I put in a lot of hard work to master the Victorian accent. I can never forget the day when I had to deliver a full-page monologue in a single take,” he says. The first movie to be screened at the London Indian Film Festival held in June this year, the trailer of which was unveiled at the Cannes Film Festival, the film also stars Shabana Azmi, who plays the powerful character of Maharani Jindan Kaur, Duleep Singh’s mother. “Working with her was such a learning experience. Despite her seniority and acting prowess, she always makes everyone around her feel comfortable. Her attention to detail and what she brings to characters is mind-blowing,” says the actor who hails from Hoshiarpur in Punjab. Optimistic that the film would not just be restricted to ‘serious viewers’ but accepted by masses, the actor-singer says, “It's an interestingly told history of Punjab’s last kingdom, something not many people know about. I am sure the audiences will be impressed by the efforts put in by the entire production team. Moreover, I strongly believe that people are always looking for interesting and fresh subjects.”
Despite the fact that several film offers have come to him, he is in no hurry. “This was a dream role, and I have devoted several years to the movie. Frankly, I can’t wait to get back to music again. Very soon, I’ll announce a new album. Of course, I am open to films, but only those that move me at all levels,” says Sartaaj who has written and composed all the five songs in the film.
The Black Prince " is a very interestingly told history of Punjab’s last kingdom, something not many people know about SATINDER SARTAJ, ACTOR-SINGER.