Little English - Press Kit

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L ittle

English Press Pack


GENRE Romantic Comedy DURATION 98 minutes FILMING LOCATION Berkshire, UK DIRECTOR/WRITER Pravesh Kumar PRODUCERS Dominique Unsworth Lesley-Anne Macfarlane Andrew St. Maur

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Logline

Locked in her crazy in-laws’ house to uphold the family honour, imported bride, Simmy falls in love with wayward Harry, and must make a choice between love and duty to the family.

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Synopsis Simmy, a modern bride fresh from Punjab has been selected by her mother in law for an arranged marriage with her eldest son, Raj. When Raj does a runner after the marriage ceremony, Simmy has no choice but to preserve family honour and start a life with her new family without a husband in bleak Brexit Britain. Life certainly isn’t what Simmy had expected: a diabetic-obsessed- with-cola Grandad, a crazy gluten free sister-in-law, nosy neighbourhood-watch Indian aunties, and a mother-in-law who insists on creating a fortress with doors bolted. Simmy has little choice but to put her professional aspirations of being a nurse to one side and try her hand at being a dutiful daughter in law. As Simmy tries to make sense of this new world, Harry, Raj’s wayward younger brother turns up from prison for at home detention. Harry is condescending towards his new sister-in-law and adds another layer of chaos to the family drama by 2

his refusal to play by the rules. Simmy wonders if his anger and disdain for all things Indian, comes from past mistakes. Simmy and Harry are imprisoned in the old house, in desperate need of modernisation. Simmy has difficulty speaking English and Harry won’t speak Punjabi. Despite her efforts, nothing seems to bring this dysfunctional family together, so Simmy writes a letter home about her unhappiness. When Simmy’s distant Indian Glaswegian relatives turn up, unannounced, to check that everything is well, Simmy makes a silent bargain with her mother in law that things need to improve: in return for keeping up appearances, Simmy’s passport is returned and she picks up her nursing training. An enchanting moment breaks the ice between Harry and Simmy and an innocent love story unfolds crossing the boundaries of culture and language. As Gurbaksh, the mother-in-law, turns up the search for her absconding son, Raj, Harry breaks his curfew and takes Simmy out of the house on a romantic trip where Simmy sees beautiful England for the first time. Just as Harry finds the courage to tell Simmy how he feels, Raj returns home to uphold his promise and wedding vows. Must Simmy be the forgiving Indian wife that her community expects her to be and accept him?


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Writer & Director PRAVESH KUMAR

Pravesh Kumar is the Artistic Director and Chief Executive of award winning Rifco Theatre Company. He started the company in 2000 to make a different kind of theatre for a community that could not see themselves represented on English stages. He has been at the forefront of bringing new audiences into theatres in their thousands, often for the first time by telling untold, entertaining and authentic stories. Pravesh has a background in Film and worked in the commercial Indian film industry often called Bollywood for many years. He has gone on to achieve critical acclaim for Rifco’s productions and has created some ground breaking plays and musicals including Britain’s Got Bhangra, Miss Meena & the Masala Queens, Laila the Musical, The Deranged Marriage and most recently a rap musical based on the story of Mushy Asghar from Channel 4’s Educating Yorkshire, Mushy: Lyrically Speaking. His first short film, Gods on Mountains was nominated for the Satyajit Ray Short Film Award. In 2019 he worked with Resource Productions on his short film The Deranged Marriage. Pravesh is currently writing a new main stage musical and leads on the Rifco Associates programme finding new British South Asian voices of the future.

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Director’s Vision

This is a story from the inside of the British South Asian community that has not be told before. I want to tell it in a way that is truly authentic and accessible to the very audience that I am talking about, I’m not saying its only for them but they are the under-served and the unrepresented. Too often I have seen stories like this made into issue-based dramas that appeal to a white audience and my peers, but I want to make a film that we want to see. This a comedy with heart and tragedy and does not shy away from being entertaining as well as challenging. The world I have created is slightly larger than life, it’s a microcosm of where I have lived most of my life, Slough, a small concrete town surrounded by the M25. I have taken a magnifying glass to the characters, so they are always emotionally truthful but they make you smile because you recognise them. I have not gone for concrete coloured reality but a slight uplift in tone in the production and costume design, where even the place and house are a character in the film. Low lying airplanes fly over the house, the multicoloured gods’ statues smile in the Indian temple on the side board. All the main characters in my story are imprisoned, some physically and others by honour. We see much of

Act 1 of the story through Simmy’s eyes, the bride, a ‘foreigner’. I want to use the camera to show how she is seeing this new world, she is locked into the house and is the only colour against the drab backdrop. As the protagonist starts to find her confidence and the love story grows, the house will start to fill with colour and light. The use of light in the house will form part of the narrative, as the main character changes so does the house, eventually opening the doors and letting light flood into their world. Literally getting rid of the darkness. The use of language is an important part of the script, the protagonist is in a new world and as she learns about the country and she discovers that speaking English may give her a journey to freedom. The fusions of Punjabi and English in the script make this world feel authentic and will open the film up to a huge new audience too.

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Simmy RAMEET RAULI

Rameet is best known for her role as Anya Patel in Nickelodeon’s popular teen series Ride (2018), she has also appeared in Warren (2019), Call the Midwife (2017) and most recently performed in Find Me in Paris (2019).

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Harry

VIRAJ JUNEJA

Viraj is best known for his role in the independent British comedy feature film Get Duked! (2019). Alongside featuring short films FUDDU (2019) and Londonstani (2019), he has also appeared in TV Series Pandora (2020) and Vera (2020).

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Gurbaksh SEEMA BOWRI

Well known for playing PC Leela Kapoor in ITV’s drama The Bill (2004-7). Seema has worked in theatre, TV, film, radio and as a voice over artist for over 20 years. Most recently, she has featured on TV in Flatmates (Series2), Emmerdale and Doctors as well as in stage productions Dishoom! for Rifco Theatre and My Country for the National Theatre.

Bauji

MADHAV SHARMA

Best known for his roles in Doctor Who (1963), Entrapment (1999) and East Is East (1999), Madhav also played Siddique in Calcutta Kosher (2002) and had ongoing roles in both Coronation Street and EastEnders. Most recently he appeared in acclaimed Channel 4 comedy ‘We Are Lady Parts’.

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Mindy GOLDY NOTAY

Born in the Punjab, Goldy is British-Canadian and featured in the 6 part ITV series Beecham House, directed by Gurinder Chadha, after playing the lead ‘Roopi’ in Gurinder’s It’s A Wonderful Afterlife. She has appeared as Shireen in the Mike Bartlett drama The Town and Amar Akbar & Tony a comedy Brit flick on Netflix as well as having appeared in Sex in the City.

Bobby AMEET CHANA

Ameet is best known for playing Adi Ferreira in the BBC soap ‘Eastenders’ and Tony in worldwide box office smash ‘Bend It Like Beckham’. As well as his extensive credits in theatre, film and TV spanning over 30 years Ameet is also Associate Director for Rifco Theatre Company where he leads on developing new writing talent and in 2019 made his directorial debut for the stage with ‘Mushy, Lyrically Speaking’ - an award winning rap musical based on the story of Mushy Asghar from Educating Yorkshire. Ameet also hosts the Weekend Breakfast show on the multiple award winning national radio station Sunrise Radio. 9


Raj

SIMON RIVERS

After graduating from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in 2007, Simon worked with several prodigious stage companies, appearing at the Globe, the West Yorkshire Playhouse and the Theatre Royal, Stratford. In 2011 he took on a recurring role in the BBC daytime soap Doctors and most recently appeared in ITV drama A Confession.

Sweetie NIKKI PATEL

Nikki is perhaps best known for her long-running role as Dev’s daughter Amber Kalirai in ITV’s Coronation Street. Since leaving Corrie, Nikki has carried out a number of roles on screen and stage including appearances in Branagh Theatre Live: Romeo and Juliet and Waterloo Road as well as recently appearing in Pravesh’s short The Deranged Marriage. 10


Arun Sr SHIN PARWANA

Interested in music from a young age, Shin learned to play the harmonium at the age of 12. His signature style has been influenced by the greats: Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar and composer SD Burman. He is a much loved British-Asian Music star who both sings and acts in the film.

Ranjeet

SANJEEV KOHLI

Actor, comedian, and writer, Sanjeev is best known for his role as shopkeeper Navid Harrid in the BBC sitcom Still Game (2002–2007, 2016–2019), Ramesh Majhu in the radio sitcom Fags, Mags and Bags (2007–present), and A.J. Jandhu in the BBC Scotland soap opera River City (2015–present). Since 2019, Kohli has hosted his own television talk show Sanjeev Kohli’s Big Talk, on the BBC Scotland channel. 11


The Shoot

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Producers

DOMINIQUE UNSWORTH MBE RESOURCE PRODUCTIONS CIC

As founder of Resource Productions CIC, Dom has been producing short films whilst finding and developing diverse British talent for more than 22 years through Resource’s in-house talent development programme. She has overseen the production of in excess of 50 acclaimed shorts and has produced and Executive Produced 100+ funded films. These include ‘Us and In between’ by Katia Shannon, currently in development with the BFI Film Fund, a Creative England iShort ‘Shamas’ by Myriam Raja, Wellcome Trust drama ‘Abdullah and Leilah’ by Ashtar Al Khirsan, Heritage Lottery Fund drama ‘Amukta’ by Tarun Thind and more than 15 Channel 4 Random Acts and BBC New Creative commissions. Resource Productions’ films have been nominated for awards at festivals ranging from Underwire, LFF, LSFF and Edinburgh to BUFF, Bolton and Iria. Having trained-up the next generation of under-represented young talent, Dom is now focused on her own feature and developing her own film slate, spurred on by her selection for the Guiding Lights feature film programme and the support of her Mentor Tim Bevan, one half of Working Title. 14


LESLEY-ANNE MACFARLANE Lesley-Anne is a Producer with a range of experience from commercials to independent film. Broadcast credits include Line Producer on feature films Play the Devil and HERO Inspired by the Extraordinary Life & Times of Mr. Ulric Cross, which have both opened for the Trinidad and Tobago Film Festival. She is currently screening her short Immune at various festivals and working on her first feature. With a BA in Visual Art and an MA in Culture, Policy and Management, she has been involved in several NGOs and arts organisations and is especially interested in projects that can make a positive impact. In 2017, with a group of filmmakers, she cofounded a social enterprise dedicated to creating a sustainable ecosystem for film and television producers and directors in Trinidad & Tobago and the wider Caribbean called the Filmmakers Collaborative of Trinidad and Tobago.

ANDREW ST MAUR Andrew is a graduate of the National Film and Television School and has subsequently set up his own production company St Maur Pictures Ltd. He was the recipient of a full scholarship to attend the NFTS from the prestigious Pinewood Studios. Andrew has background in producing shorts for television broadcast for Channel 4, BBC and Creative England. Alongside this Andrew has produced a number of independent short films, which have gone on to screen at BAFTA accredited festivals including; London Short Film Festival, Austin International Film Festival, Nashville Film Festival, Norwich Film Festival, Aesthetica Film Festival and Bolton Film Festival. 15


Production & Costume Designer

ANDY KUMAR

VJ Andy aka Andy Kumar is an Indian Public figure and has worked in Theatre, TV and Film for the past 10 years. Andy has been a core member of the Rifco Arts creative team for over a decade and has choreographed and designed costumes for many of their shows. His credits include Brand Face and VJ Channel V 2008-2011. He has hosted shows like Dare to Date, Style Junkie, Get Gorgeous, India’s Got Talent, Box Cricket League (Sony Ent. TV), “What’s with Indian Women?!”” (Fox Life). Andy became a household name for his participation in reality shows like Bigg Boss (India’s Big Brother), Jhalak Dikhlaa Jaa (Dancing with the Stars), I Can Do That, Mehmannawazi (Come Dine with me Celebrity) & Killer Karaoke..

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Cinematographer LEIGH ALNER

After graduating from the prestigious National Film and Television School as a Kodak Scholar, gaining a Masters in Cinematography, Leigh has worked on numerous music videos, short films and feature films, as Cinematographer, Operator and Gaffer. His credits include feature-length romantic comedy Across the River by Warren B Malone and the short The Deranged Marriage by Pravesh Kumar, which has been selected for BAFTA-accredited BUFF.

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Script Editor

ADEELA SHARIF-ANTUNES

Adeela began her career at Intermedia Films, in distribution and script development, working on titles including Sliding Doors, The Quiet American, Hilary and Jackie, Iris and The Wedding Planner. She later joined Icon Entertainment working on The Passion of the Christ, Apocolypto, Whalerider and Eagle vs Shark. With training from the Binger Filmlab and Sources2, she has worked as a script editor, advising, consulting and speaking on character and narrative.

Editor

KAM PARMAR A creative TV and Film editor with a passion to create great visuals. Kam is highly resourceful and has a good eye for storytelling. He has worked across many different genres including short film, documentary, factual entertainment, promos and comedy. He is a current BAFTA Crew member and previous BFE member. Most recently Kam edited the drama A Mind At War by Jazz Bhalla. 18


Music Composer NIRAJ CHAG

Niraj is a UK-based composer and artist whose work spans a wide range from albums, to film scores, theatre and live events. Niraj’s documentary soundtracks have reached a worldwide audience, having composed for Emmy Award winning and BAFTA productions. After creating the score for feature film All in Good Time (Studio Canal), he went on to score BBC feature length drama Our Girl (BBC1).

Sound Editor PHILIP MOROZ

Philip has a holistic approach to quality audio, developed from his experience spanning the audio post-production process. His specialities in sound effects editing and dialogue editing have led him to work on popular multi-award winning television series and feature films such as Killing Eve, Downton Abbey and Cold Feet.

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Box Office

COMPARABLE BRITISH ASIAN FEATURE FILMS

Film Title

Year

Domestic Opening Domestic Gross TD

My Beautiful Laundrette

1985

UNKNOWN

$2.5M

Slumdog Millionaire

2008

$360,018

$141.3M

Blinded by the Light

2019

$4,333,305

$12M

COMPARABLE GENRE CULTURALLY SPECIFIC FILMS

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Film Title

Year

Domestic Opening Domestic Gross TD

Get Out

2017

$33,377,060

$255.4

Crazy Rich Asians

2018

$26,510,140

$174.5

Blue Story

2019

UNKNOWN

$5.8


Audience The current South Asian diaspora across Europe and North America are the generation who have the freedom and resources to do what we want, BUT have no precedents to follow - no path to copy and barely a generation of integration to build on or reference.

Today, Indians comprise about 1.4 million people in the UK (not including those of mixed Indian and other ancestry), making them the single largest visible ethnic minority population in the country. They make up the largest subgroup of British Asians, and are one of the largest Indian communities in the Indian diaspora – they and their North American counterparts are our eager and under-served loyal, primary audience. We’ve seen hundreds of films where the issue of ‘honour’ is dealt with in an overtly negative and depressing way. Traditions, honour and cultural identity can be confusing, challenging and oppressive, but they can also be enlightening, exciting and beautiful and this audience is keen to see an upbeat film like this. 21


Sales & Distribution Sought CLICK HERE FOR TEASER CLIP

LESLEY-ANNE MACFARLANE lesley@resourceproductions.co.uk

DOMINIQUE UNSWORTH dom@resourceproductions.co.uk 01753 553374 www.resource-productions.co.uk

ANDREW ST MAUR andrew@resourceproductions.co.uk