Renowned theater practitioner Pravesh Kumar’s feature film directorial debut “Little English” will release in U.K. cinemas and go on a tour across the country from March 17.
The film is set amidst a dysfunctional Punjabi family in the pressure cooker life of a terraced suburban home in Slough. Newly arrived from India, naive Simmy has come to marry the family’s eldest son Raj, who runs away, leaving Simmy locked in the house by her domineering mother-in-law. Simmy is smarter than she appears and enlists the support of the family’s disgruntled in-laws, including a sugar crazed, diabetic grandpa and a brother-in-law fresh out of jail.
The film stars emerging talent Rameet Rauli and Viraj Juneja, supported by Seema Bowri, Madhav Sharma, Goldy Notay, Ameet Chana and Nikki Patel.
Dominique Unsworth, Lesley-Anne Macfarlane and Andrew St. Maur are the producers.
The film had sold out screenings at the London Indian Film Festival and the Tasveer South Asian Film Festival in Seattle in 2022.
Produced through Resource Productions CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise, “Little English” formed part of a wider Kickstart Into Film project funded by Rothschild Foundation and the Inclusive Recovery
Fund – a partnership between UnLtd, the foundation for social entrepreneurs and Comic Relief. The film was developed and shot during the pandemic, through the support of partners including HOME Slough and Rifco Theatre Company (Arts Council England).
The project enabled 10 unemployed young people to secure their first paid roles within the industry as trainees. In addition, more than 100 under-represented creatives, craftspeople and technicians of all ages, were able to step-up to a new role and/or gain their first credit on a feature film. Industry partners including executive producer, ZXRecords and post-production company Digital Orchard provided in-kind support alongside help from Pinewood Studios, VMI, Salamandra Animation Studio and lighting provider MBSE U.K. The film was completed thanks to crowdfunding and its U.K. release is supported by the BFI, awarding funds from the National Lottery.
“The fact that this little independent film, which we almost sold our organs to make, is going to British cinemas is just wonderful,” Kumar said. “Without the support of BFI Audience Fund, this would not have been possible. Much like the play, this film is for an audience and I want to authentically represent a community that rarely see themselves on screen.”
Unsworth added: “Sitting in the sold out BFI NFT1 screen for the U.K. festival premiere, the reaction from the very lively, vocal and seriously under-served audience, confirmed my belief that there was a massive audience out there for the right kind of independent British film. This belief extended to a potential massive global majority diaspora audience when we won the audience award at Tasveer.”
Meanwhile, Kumar continues to make theater at his Rifco Theatre Company and projects include a new British musical. He is also writing his next film, which is in the LGBTQ space, and there are also plans to adapt one of his plays for the screen with Unsworth.