Bollywood actress Aditi Rao Hydari and Indian origin British actress Paige Sandhu will soon be seen sharing the screen in the upcoming film ‘Lioness’. The film, an official Indo-UK co-production being made under the bilateral treaty signed by both countries in 2008, was announced recently at the India Pavilion at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival.
Written and directed by Kajri Babbar, the film will tell the story of princess Sophia Duleep Singh, the granddaughter of the great Maharaja Ranjit Singh, and the Goddaughter of Queen Victoria. She was one of the key leaders of the suffragette movement in the UK and also advocated for the rights of women and children.
Sophia’s character will be essayed by Paige Sandhu. The actress said in a statement, “It’s an honor and a dream come true to be playing Princess Sophia Duleep Singh. I am very humbled to be portraying someone with a legacy such as hers, the work that she did, the lives she helped and the family she came from. I truly hope to do justice to her incredible story.”
While Sophia’s story is rooted in history, the second story is a fictional tale of Mehak Kaur an educated, married immigrant woman living in 1990’s Southall. Mehak uncovers a fascinating story of women’s emancipation and empathy in contemporary times. The two stories play out in different eras, highlighting grit, determination and compassion.
Aditi Rao Hydari will portray the character of Mehak Kaur in the film. She said, “I was instantly drawn to the story that brings to the screen, the life and legacy of an extraordinary woman; a story lost in history. While Princess Sophia is a heroine in the true sense of the word, Mehak is an equally strong character whose journey parallels the Lioness’s in the present.”
The film, inspired by the research of Peter Bance, the historian who discovered the story of Princess Sophia Duleep, will be produced by Vivek Rangachari, Vaishalli Paatil, Faraz Ahsan, Clare Cahill and Ajit Pal Singh (Executive Producer), and has been certified by the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC) and the British Film Institute (BFI).