Punjabi Sufi singer-poet Satinder Sartaj, who is turning actor with Hollywood project “The Black Prince” in which he will share screen with Shabana Azmi, says the veteran actress is nothing less than a “living legend”.
The upcoming movie, which also stars Jason Flemyng and Amanda Root, is based on the life of Duleep Singh, the last Maharaja of the Sikh Empire.
The 33-year-old Sufi singer, who plays Duleep Singh in the movie, said he is very lucky to work with Azmi in his debut project and credited the “Arth” actress for teaching him the do’s and dont’s of acting.
“Shabana Azmi is a living legend. It was a learning experience to work with her. She taught me the intricacies of acting. Made me aware about how to face the camera and express without overdoing it. Everyone is praising my performance and I give her the credit to her,” Sartaj told PTI.
Azmi will play Duleep Singh’s mother Maharani Jind Kaur in the film.
The “Sai” singer said he was very nervous to work with Azmi initially, but over a period of time they became friendly and he taught her Punjabi. “Shabana ji had dialogues in Punjabi, which is my mother tongue, so I used to teach her and we used to speak in Punjabi over breakfast table,” he said.
Backed by Bristlles Entertainment, “The Black Prince” is a non-commercial project and the makers are in no mood to dub in Punjabi or any other Indian language.
“The film is 90 per cent in English and has very few Punjabi dialogues. We are not planning to dub it in Punjabi. Imagine Jason Flemyng and Amanda Root talking in Punjab, they will look weird and funny.
“It is not all a commercial project and is for a very fixed set of audience. We know that the movie will not work in Jalandhar or Bathinda,” said Sartaj, at the launch of his album “Humza: A Sufiana Ecstasy”.
The singer-turned-actor said he watched around 100 films during his preparation for the role. “I was asked to watch more than hundred films to understand my role in the film. Most of them were biographies including Shekhar Kapur’s ‘Elizabeth’. I had to adapt the mannerism and language of people during British Empire,” he said.
Sartaj is very popular in abroad for his Punjabi Sufi music and the singer has also composed few songs for the film as well.
“I have composed Punjabi songs for the movie. The tracks will be used as background score in the version made for India release,” he said.