When Steven Nijjar set out to tell the story of an event that took place in India 150 years ago, he was determined to finish the film no matter how long it took. Certainly, he never anticipated it taking fifteen years … but it did and Steven is very grateful to have it finished and in the can. It had its first premiere in Toronto last month.
Without Steven’s tenacity to finish making The Last King, the story may never have been told. The script was co-written by Steven and a life long friend, Frederic Ansaldo.
The film is about the British invading India and taking its greatest treasure, the Koh-I-Noor diamond. It belonged to the last king of Punjab. They also took the king’s son. The diamond was re-cut and placed into the Queen’s crown and the king’s son was stripped of his heritage and forced to adopt Britain as his new home.
In search of financing for the film, Steven kept getting turned away for similar reasons, “There’s not enough universal appeal. It’s for a target audience.” Once Steven had exhausted his financing efforts, he decided to save and fund it himself. Luckily for him, two generous friends believed in his film enough to finance the rest.
Steven also acts in the film and plays the lead character. I had an opportunity to view one of the trailers. It had a great musical score as well as being visually mesmerizing. A compelling story.