The award-winning film ‘Tiger’ stars Mickey Rourke and was written by Canadians Prem Singh and Michael Pugliese. It is inspired by the true story of Pardeep Singh Nagra, a practicing Sikh who was banned from the sport of boxing due to his religious beliefs. The film follows Pardeep’s (Prem Singh) journey as he, with the support of his coach and mentor (Mickey Rourke), does what every strong person would do, fight back! The backlash is a result of racial profiling, stereotypical threats, and the daily pressure to change, even from his loved ones who are caught in the midst of the cross fire. It is within the course of these challenges, and at his weakest moment, that he discovers love (Janel Parrish). Consequently, his legacy will be forever tied to his two biggest battles; one in the courtroom, the other in the ring.
Prem Singh and Michael Pugliese who also star in the film talked to Can-India News about the experience. Here are excerpts of the interview.
What was the motivation for making the film?
Michael: It truly hit my heart. Pardeep’s story is really just about acceptance while trying to live a fulfilling life. It spoke to me in so many ways and felt it was much needed. His story inspired me to stand up for what I believe in and to allow others to do the same.
Prem: For me, it was growing up in a Sikh home and watching Pardeep speak back in 1999 when he was going through his battle. It was so interesting to me to know that Pardeep was fighting to be normal. As an actor I thought this would be a dream role.
What is the message you want to give viewers?
Michael: We want to educate the uneducated about a misunderstood religion while inspiring others to stand up for their own beliefs, no matter what they are. It could be your gender, your faith, your skin tone, sexuality, whatever it may be. If you believe in it, stand up for it because nothing but good will come from it.
Prem: We want people to stand up for what they believe in. Many people who watch this film will be able to relate to what Pardeep is battling with and what he is fighting for. Even though the character is a Sikh character, his struggle is universal and if Pardeep can stand up and fight anyone can.
What feedback have you received so far from those who’ve seen it and the community?
Michael: It’s been heart warming. We have received wonderful feedback. Inspiring all different walks of people. It’s a beautiful thing.
Prem: We received very positive from the festivals, we even won ‘Best Picture’ at the San Diego Film Festival.
As for the community, we hope they can be proud of this film, which is why supporting a film like ‘Tiger’ can snowball into telling more stories about other diverse cultures.
‘Tiger’ will open in Toronto (Cineplex Cinemas Yonge-Dundas) and Mississauga (Cineplex Odeon Courtney Park Cinemas), Vancouver and Surrey on Friday, November 30 and expand into other major Canadian cities thereafter. -CINEWS