Artistic Director Pravesh Kumar MBE’s romantic comedy Little English is coming to a cinema near you.
Starring an all-British South Asian cast, it marks the big screen debut for West London-based stars and romantic leads, Rameet Rauli and Viraj Juneja, who are supported by an established ensemble including Ameet Chana, Goldy Notay and Sanjeev Kohli.
Set in sunny Slough, Punjabi newlywed Simmy unexpectedly faces disappointment when her British Asian husband does a runner on their wedding night. With just a basic grasp of English, she is hounded by her kooky in-laws and unable to leave the house. She finds an unlikely ally in her wayward brother-in-law, Harry, and a secret romance blossoms. Will Simmy find the courage to follow her heart and pursue her dreams?
Produced by Resource Productions, the feel-good film is based on Kumar’s hit 2017 play There’s Something about Simmy, and features an original title track, Little English Boliyan, from the legendary singer and frontman of bhangra band DCS, Shin, and music by acclaimed composer and musician Niraj Chag.
Kumar, who has been producing plays and musicals about British South Asian communities for over 20 years in his role as Artistic Director and founder of Rifco Theatre Company, said:
“It is not often British South Asian life is authentically seen through our lens. I wanted to portray contemporary experiences that offer an alternative to the stereotypical representations about our family life, that we are often burdened by. There are no white saviours, and we are just as ordinary and dysfunctional as everyone else. We need more stories like this that truly reflect and represent our communities, so that we feel we too can take part.”
Rameet Rauli, said:
“What really appealed to me when reading this script was how refreshing it was. Simmy was no damsel in distress waiting to be rescued. She was strong, feisty and her own hero, who finds her own feet and paves her own way. Her journey was very interesting - going from a young girl whose decisions are always made for her by everyone else to slowly learning to stand her ground and make her own decisions about her life, she realises that it’s ok to be independent and free!”
Viraj Juneja said:
“I feel truly grateful to be a part of this film, as it’s the first British rom com with two South Asian leads, which is a seminal moment for British Cinema. Seeing our culture so authentically represented on screen without having to claw on to the stereotypes of old is what drew to me to this project, not to mention getting to play a romantic lead, as it’s not something I usually audition for! Harry is more than just that though, he’s a young man who feels alone in this world and struggles with his mental health. Exploring that side of the character challenged me as an actor, but it was one that I relished. His journey arch was a dream to be able to portray.”
The UK tour is supported by the British Film Institute, and funds from the National Lottery. It follows a successful run on the festival circuit, having premiered at the London Indian Film Festival and won the audience choice award for the Best Narrative Feature at the Tasveer South Asian Film Festival last year.
Other cast members include Seema Bowri, Madhav Sharma, Nikki Patel and Yasmeen Khan. The tour includes showings in London, Manchester, Leicester, Bradford, Sheffield. Some screenings will include a special Q&A and chance to meet the cast and crew.