Nagra was barred from competing in a Canadian boxing championship because of his beard, which is a mandatory article of his Sikh faith. He challenged the beard ban and in 2000, the Canadian courts ruled in his favor.
Production companies are R3M Productions, Running Tiger Films and Gold Pictures. Alister Grierson directed from a script by Prem Singh and Michael Pugliese. Producers are Rocco Pugliese, Jeff Maynard, Robert Kwartler and Howard Nash.
Prem Singh and Michael Pugliese both star in the film as Nagra and his adversary, respectively. They co-wrote the screenplay as a means of producing work they were passionate about after enduring frustration with the roles available to them. The duo raised $4 million to make the film and pitched the feature to Rourke directly while he was boxing at a gym.
Rourke portrays head coach and mentor Frank Donovan, while Janel Parrish plays Nagra’s attorney as he embarks on his journey of protecting his rights. The film will debut at select festivals in the early fall and hit theaters in New York, Los Angeles and Canada on Nov. 2. It will continue to expand in the following weeks.
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“It was great working with these two young guys on this film,” said Rourke. “I’m sure we’ll be seeing more of them around very soon.”