Talent: Nicci Topping, Casting Director & Mario Vincent Mooney, Sound Mixer
We are very proud to have had two clients working on the film The Black Prince which releases in the UK over July.
It was equally wonderful when Writer/ Director/Producer Kavi Raz kindly made time in his busy schedule to talk to me about the film:
What drew you to this story and why was you compelled to make this film?
It’s a fascinating story. Journey of a man struggling to find and then redeem himself. History and circumstances had done him wrong. He fought to correct that wrong and put on a valiant fight against all odds. That’s a compelling story that had all the elements of a Shakespearian tragedy. I had to make this film. I wanted to take Maharaja Duleep Singh’s journey.
How did you approach your story, script?
I went looking for the man, Duleep Singh and not just the Maharaja and historical anecdotes. I wanted to know him, how he felt, what made him laugh and cry. I searched for his life’s journey and found his heart and soul. That’s what I presented on the screen.
How long did it take you to gather your cast and who backed the movie?
I did spend a fair amount of time assembling our cast. The time spent was well worth it, as I feel we got some of the best talent in the industry telling this amazing story through their brilliant performances. They all loved my script and took it to another level with their contribution.
Brillstein Entertainment Partners are the main company behind the project. But some of the funding came from individuals such as Jasjeet Singh, Jasvir Gill and Sharry Hundal.
What was it like working with casting director Nicci Topping?
Nicci was awesome. She went the extra mile and found me some amazing young talent such as Sophie Stevens and Leane Joyce. Nicci is also a great human being and fun to be around.
Did your actors undertake arduous preparation? Did they deliver the performances you wanted and what makes them special to you?
I am very pleased with every actor’s performance. Satinder Sartaaj was new to acting. This was his first film and that too in a major role. I did put him through a pretty rigorous preparation course and even hired an on-set dialogue coach for him.
What challenges did you face during prep?
Most challenging part of the process was really finding the right cast. Locations appropriate for our story was another factor that took a lot of time. I always felt that locations were important characters in our story and had to fit our requirements. The film has an amazing feel and look. And that’s not accidental. It was carefully planned and executed.
Was it a long shoot tell us about your process?
It was a short shoot for a period film. I shoot fast. I don’t waste any time on the set. I am quick with my thought process and decision making, I know what I want and just go for it. We shot for 44 days in the UK and 6 days In India.
What were your standout memories of the shoot?
Working with an amazing crew and group of actors. Everyone was so dedicated to the making of this film. Besides dealing with the cold, wet and muddy locations for some of the shoot days, it was a very pleasant shoot. Then again, not much bothers me other than people who don’t live up to their responsibilities on the set. On our shoot, everyone did.
What was it like working with sound mixer Mario Vincent Mooney?
Mario was an absolute delight. A thorough professional. Having him on the set helped take our bar few notches higher. The vast experience that he brought to the set each day helped in every department and not just sound.
How long was you in post?
Post took us a while. About 18 months. I had to manage my time with another project I was shooting. It has been a very busy few years and it’s going to get even busier with my next project.
Tell us a little about the premiere of the movie and is the film screening to audiences as you hoped?
We had premiers in California, London, Birmingham and Toronto. The response has been phenomenal. I am very pleased with how the audience is connecting to the story. Particularly those who have no historical connection or reference to Maharaja Duleep Singh. The non-Indian audience is appreciating this film with overwhelming approval.
What are your future plans as a filmmaker?
I have several projects in the works. My main focus right now is on a trilogy about India’s independence movement. Three films that all connect in one way or another, where the interplay of characters tell the epic story of Indian independence movement on foreign soils. I will be making a major announcement on this soon and hope to start shooting before the end of the year.
Epic is the word I walked away with when talking with Mr. Raz, the stories he tells and wants to continue telling warrant that scale!
Edited by Tariq Wahr