Shabana Azmi On Scoring Big At The  Houston Film International

An American  production  Kavi Raz’s  The Black Prince was awarded the Special Jury Remi Award at the 50th annual Worldfest-Houston International Film Festival.

The film has also won Shabana Azmi the best actress award at the same Festival.

Shabana who is shooting for a British television serial in London is over the moon, “This is the second  Best Actress Award that I’ve got for The Black Prince. The first one was in Los Angeles. I play RaniJindan, wife of Ranjit Singh, a feisty historical figure who wrested her son Dalip Singh from Queen Victoria.”

Shabana  is super-excited about the film. “ I’ve yet to watch the complete film but I have a lovely role in it as Rani Jindal the wife ofMaharaja Ranjit Singha powerful woman who exhorts her son DaleepSingh to return to India and reclaim the Sikh empire.”

For many decades now, Sikh historians have regarded Duleep Singh’s story to be emblematic of  Colonial arrogance and  intolerance.

The  film is  directed by  the US-based  Indian actor-director KaviRaz in Northamptonshire in England.

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.”

Speaking about the idyllic spot  where the  film was shot  Shabanasays,  “There was no phone connectivity where we shoot. We had  to travel 20 miles for network.I thoroughly enjoyed my time off. I did my own cooking and learning on the job, mixing and matching different dishes to suit my own palate.It’s great fun. But I missed my mother.”

Speaking on the project Shabana says, “Satinder Sartaj is a very famous punjabi Sufi singer and lyricist . He is playing Duleep singh. I play his mother  Maharani Jindan. David Essex , Jason Fleming, Amanda Peat all very well-known British actors are in the film too.”

Shabana is all praise for the director.  “Kavi Raz  is an LA-based  director. Aaron Smith is  the cinematographer. He is very good  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.”

Speaking of the panoramic location  Shabana sighs, “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.”

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