Indian film star visits the region ahead of cultural festival launch
- Credit: Ian Burt
An Indian singer, songwriter and actor has visited the region ahead of the launch of a cultural festival of which he is a patron.
The Festival of Thetford and Punjab kicks-off at the weekend and will see numerous events held to explore the cultural links between Thetford and the Punjab.
Known as the last King of the Punjab, the Maharajah owned and lived at the Elveden Estate.
Satinder Sartaaj, who played Duleep Singh in the 2017 film The Black Prince, visited a farm at Undley, near Lakenheath, where they hand pick saag - a traditional Indian leaf.
“Thetford is very near India in my heart as it is interlinked with the Maharaja,” said Dr Sartaaj, who said there are many similarities with agriculture with Norfolk and Suffolk and the Punjab.
“There are a huge lot of similarities of the fields and the fragrance and the weather. Even the butterflies are flying here.
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“It is so nostalgic and so overwhelming to be here and it feels like you are on homeland.
“The Maharajah lived in this area during the 18th century and for me it is very important.”
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Contributors to the festival, which will take place at venues throughout Thetford and Elveden, include Sathnam Sanghera, author of The Boy with the Top Knot, and comedian and presenter Hardeep Singh Kohli.
On July 21 the festival will link with Thetford Town Council’s River Festival.
There will be a procession through the town centre with a collaboration between Bhangra and Morris dancers, Bhangra Dhol Drummers, Punjabi food stall, Sikh martial arts Gatka, henna hand painting, storytelling activities along the River.
Indi Sandhu, festival director, said: “The festival of Thetford and Punjab will hopefully be an annual event we can celebrate every July.
“The long-term plan is to have more cultural events relating to Maharaja Duleep Singh over the years to come.”