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'Tiger' tells story of trailblazing Sikh boxer Pardeep Singh Nagra and his battles for religious beliefs

“This film isn’t just about racism, but also identity, and standing up for who you are,” said Singh.

A new film inspired by the life of a Canadian boxer who fought battles in and out of the ring to pursue his dream — while maintaining his religion and honouring his heritage — will open this weekend in Mississauga.

Tiger is the story of Pardeep Singh Nagra, who grew up in Mississauga and is the executive director of the Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada.

Back in 1999, Nagra was Ontario’s light flyweight amateur champion and was headed to the nationals. However, the Canadian Amateur Boxing Association prohibited him from competing at them due to his beard, which wasn’t allowed under the rules. As a Sikh, maintaining a beard is part of his faith...

...“I had a wish list of roles I would love to play, and Pardeep was at the top of the list,” said Singh.

Singh and Pugliese met several years ago while taking acting classes, and began collaborating on the project.

They worked closely with Nagra, including watching tape of his past fights. Although the movie is set in the United States instead of Canada, the co-writers say that Tiger was a fairly faithful retelling of his story and struggle...

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