Amazon is developing the 2019 New York Times article,The Jungle Prince of Delhi as a series. Mira Nair (The Namesake, the upcoming A Suitable Boy adaptation) will serve as director and executive producer.
The Jungle Prince of Delhi is an expose of the fake descendants of the royal family of Awadh. The article by Ellen Barry examines Begum Wilayat Mahal and her children, Sakina Mahal and Ali Raza, who appeared in Delhi in the 1970s and claimed to have descended from Awadhi royalty. Ali Raza called himself Prince Cyrus.
The trio relocated to a rundown palace in Delhi in the ’80s. For 40 years, they maintained the charade, communicating only with international reporters, until Barry’ discovered their real identities.
Prince Cyrus was actually Mickey Butt, the son of a Lucknow University registrar who moved to Pakistan during the Partition. Butt’s wife, peeved with having lost their ancestral property, returned to India and began claiming to be a member of the royal family of Awadh. The article was a Pulitzer Prize finalist in 2020.
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