Assam's Shahnaab Alam and Aditi Rao Hydari collaborate for a UK-India film titled 'Lioness'

Assam's Shahnaab Alam and Aditi Rao Hydari collaborate for a UK-India film titled 'Lioness'

The first official UK-India co-production film, 'Lioness', has unveiled its first poster at the IFFI Film Bazaar. The film tells the tale of two women living a century apart.

Assam's Shahnaab Alam and Aditi Rao Hydari collaborate for a UK-India film titled 'Lioness' Assam's Shahnaab Alam and Aditi Rao Hydari collaborate for a UK-India film titled 'Lioness'
Story highlights
  • UK-India co-production film 'Lioness' unveils first poster at IFFI Film Bazaar
  • The film is produced by notable producers Shahnaab Alam and Vaishalli Paatil
  • 'Lioness' tells the tale of two women living a century apart, portrayed by Paige Sandhu and Aditi Rao Hydari

Assam-born film producer Shahnaab Alam based in Mumbai has joined forces with renowned Indian actress Aditi Rao Hydari for a UK-India film titled 'Lioness'.

'Lioness' is the first ever official UK-India Co-Production, written and directed by Kajri Babbar. The film is produced by Shahnaab Alam, an established Producer from Mumbai who is credited with several acclaimed films, along with the UK-based Producer, Vaishalli Paatil. The film has on board Clare Cahill and Peter Bance as Executive Producers.

'Lioness' narrates the story of two women who lived a century apart. The first chronicle revolves around the Suffragette Princess Sophia Duleep Singh, the granddaughter of Maharajah Ranjit Singh and the god-daughter of Queen Victoria. This role will be portrayed by the prominent British-Asian actress Paige Sandhu. The second story introduces a fictional character, Simranjeet Kaur, living in Southall in the early 1990s, to be played by renowned Indian actress Aditi Rao Hydari.

The first Poster of 'Lioness' was unveiled during the International Film Festival of India, at the Film Bazaar, Goa, in the presence of NFDC head and Joint Secretary, Ministry of I&B, Mr. Prithul Kumar, International Relations of the British Film Institute, Ms. Agnieszka Moody, Naman Ramachandran of Variety International and the Programming Head of the Film Bazaar, Jitin Hingorani, along with Director Kajri Babbar, Producer Shahnaab Alam and Lead Actress Aditi Rao Hydari.

Talking exclusively to IndiaTodayNE, the Guwahati-born movie producer Shahnaab Alam said, "It was heartwarming that the film fraternity loved the poster, and commented that it gave the feel of an international film".

'Lioness' will also mark the international debut of Khatija Rahman as the Music Director. Alam shared that Khatija Rahman is a brilliant talent, and is an accomplished composer and singer. "She compliments the director, Kajiri Babbar very nicely. They both have very strong, independent voices which they express through their art. In this film they are collaborating on a subject that is very dear to them, and yes, the result of this collaboration is going to be really powerful, with Kajri expressing through her visual narrative and Khatija through her music".

"Thrilled and honoured to be a part of 'Lioness.' I connected deeply with the film's values from the moment I heard its compelling story and the reason behind bringing her story to life. Our aspiration is to ensure that Princess Sophia's struggle receives the long-overdue recognition it truly deserves," said Khatija Rahman in a statement.
For the unversed, Khatija released her first independent single, 'Farishton' in 2020, a meditative and mesmerizing piece promoting solidarity, cultural harmony, and the acceptance of diversity. Her father, the renowned maestro A.R. Rahman, composed and produced this single. Khatija's past collaborations include featuring alongside various artists on Grammy Award-winning composer and environmentalist Ricky Kej's song 'Iltaja', conveying a sustainability message. Recently, she collaborated with Arivu on the widely circulated hit track 'Sagavaasi' for the Coke Studio Tamil 2023 edition. Currently, Khatija Rahman is working on scoring her Tamil feature film titled 'Minmini.'

The cast of 'Lioness' features an impressive lineup of established actors from both India and the UK including Aditi Rao Hydari and Paige Sandhu. Highly experienced professionals from both countries form a formidable team for the film.

When asked about choosing Aditi Rao Hydari for the part, Alam said, "She's one of the finest acting talents we have today, especially the effortless ease with which she manages to express in various languages and different cultural nuances. She's so fascinating and versatile. And she was always Kajri's ideal choice".

"The story of this film has a significant historical context, which is important to both India and the UK, and it has found support from both the countries", said the Producer, Shahnaab Alam. 

'Lioness' is actively backed by both NFDC from India and BFI from the UK.

Edited By: Puja Mahanta
Published On: Nov 23, 2023