Amazon Studios secured the exclusive rights to develop The New York Times’ and Ellen Barry’s acclaimed story and podcast, The Jungle Prince of Delhi, a 2020 Pulitzer Prize finalist, a mesmerizing story of the eccentric royal family of Oudh, deposed aristocrats living in a ruined palace in the Indian capital, claiming to be the heirs to a fallen kingdom. The show will be directed and produced by filmmaker Mira Nair.
The Jungle Prince of Delhi is slated to be an international series that tells the incredible personal story of this displaced family, set against the backdrop of the partition of India, and fits with Amazon Studios’ goals of developing and producing content for a global audience. The Jungle Prince is an expose of the fake descendants of the royal family of Oudh as claimed by Begum Wilayat Mahal and her children, Sakina Mahal and Ali Raza who came to Delhi in the 1970s. Ali Raza called himself Prince Cyrus.
Exciting news: The Jungle Prince, my piece about one of Delhi's great legends, a mysterious family who lived in a ruined palace in the forest, will be adapted for a series by the great @MiraPagliNair, Amazon & Sister Pictures, the producers of Chernobyl. https://t.co/2IM5QakpBP
— Ellen Barry (@EllenBarryNYT) July 9, 2020
The family relocated to a dilapidated palace in Delhi in the ‘80s and for 40 years they maintained the charade until Barry discovered their real identities of being Pakistanis who had returned to India. Prince Cyrus’ real name was Mickey Butt and he was the son of a Lucknow University registrar who had moved to Pakistan during the Partition. However, his wife, upset over the loss of her ancestral property returned to India and began claiming to be a member of the royal family of Awadh or Oudh. She had political connections and had patrons in high places due to which she managed to hoodwink everyone.
The in-demand project came together via collaboration among the producing team of Stacey Snider, Jane Featherstone and Kate Fenske/SISTER, Gary Foster and Russ Krasnoff’s Krasnoff/Foster Entertainment, and Christina Lurie’s Fourth and Twenty Eight Films who are joining forces to produce with Ms. Barry and Caitlin Roper of The New York Times.
Ms. Roper, head of scripted entertainment at The New York Times said in a statement, “Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Ellen Barry's beautifully written tale of the Oudh family revealed deeper truths rooted in the violence and trauma of the partition of India. The moving story, and the 3-part audio series for The Times's podcast, The Daily, were the result of years of reporting and investigation across continents. Since its publication, The Times has been searching for the right partners to expand the story’s reach and we are thrilled to work with the incomparable Mira Nair, and to be producing The Jungle Prince series with Amazon Studios alongside Krasnoff/Foster Entertainment, SISTER, and Fourth and Twenty Eight Films.”
(Source: Agencies/New York Times/Twitter)