Frida Pinto

Spy Princess: the amazing true story behind Freida Pinto’s new series

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Freida Pinto has just been cast as war hero Noor Inayat Khan in a brand new series. Here’s everything we know about Spy Princess.

We’re always very interested in book-to-screen adaptations, especially when the book is based on a real story. That’s why we’re very excited about Freida Pinto’s latest role, which has just been confirmed by Deadline.

The actor will play war hero Noor Inayat Khan in an upcoming adaptation of her biography, Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan. Pinto will also executive produce the limited series. 

So who was Noor? Prepare to read an incredible story. 

Noor was a descendent of the Indian prince Tipu Sultan, and was born in Moscow. She and her family lived in London and then France, where Noor studied music and began writing poetry and children’s stories.

But when the Second World War broke out and Noor’s family moved back to England, she joined the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, before being recruited to the Special Operations Executive. While working as a spy in occupied France – the first female wireless operator sent there in 1943 – Noor was captured by the Germans and tortured. She was kept imprisoned for 10 months, never once betraying the British, before she was taken to Dachau concentration camp, where she was shot on 13 September 1944.

Spy Princess by Shrabani Bas.
Noor Inayat Khan's story in Spy Princess by Shrabani Basu is being adapted for the screen.

Noor became one of only three women SOE agents awarded the George Cross, posthumously in 1949. There is also a sculpture of her in London, which was unveiled in 2012. 

In Spy Princess: The Life of Noor Inayat Khan, the book which Pinto’s series is based on, author Shrabani Basu tells the story of Noor’s extraordinary life, courage and spirit.

Speaking about her attraction to the role Pinto said: “She was a fierce and amazing woman, the most unlikely heroine of World War Two. Sending women to the front line is controversial even now. Then it was unthinkable.

“Sending a Sufi mystic, who won’t use a gun, daughter of a long-haired Indian Guru who preaches love and peace – ridiculous! 

“But Noor thrives, not in spite of her differences, but because of them. Her struggle to reconcile her values with the desire to find her own path and with her complex sense of duty is something I am so excited to explore and to recreate.”

Pinto continued: “Noor has a quiet strength that she’s not entirely aware of. Alone in Paris, she lives and loves more intensely in a few months than most of us do in a lifetime, helping establish the ‘Secret Armies’ of the Resistance who will rise up on D-Day, astonishing the men who said she should never have been sent to the front line.”

Although we might have a while to wait for this one, there’s at least plenty of time to read the book and learn everything we need to know about this remarkable woman. 

Images: Getty, The History Press

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Hollie Richardson

Hollie is a digital writer at Stylist.co.uk, mainly covering the daily news on women’s issues, politics, celebrities and entertainment. She also keeps an ear out for the best podcast episodes to share with readers. Oh, and don’t even get her started on Outlander…