Cast and Crew Members of first ever ‘BollyBrit’ film, Naachle London, attend Press Conference
Producer/ Director Neville Raschid was joined by cast members Raj Ghatak, Jake Canuso, Fagun Thakrar and Alyssa Sharma, who discussed the entirely UK-based, Bollywood-inspired project, marking an exciting new genre in British filmmaking, presented by Asian family business-driven, UK-based production and distribution company, Aviary Films.
Adopting the classic, Bollywood narrative structure and influence, Naachle London intelligently retells the rich girl-poor boy love story in a contemporary British setting, while dealing with issues that face British society today such as the recession, interracial relationships, the stigma attached to divorcees among Asian communities and self-esteem and acceptance issues facing teenagers in modern Britain.
Naachle London seamlessly blends Bollywood with international film stylistics and techniques. The Bollywood genre inspires six, catchy song-and-dance numbers and traditional themes such as family respect and honour, while international cinema, most notably Hollywood, inspires multi-layered characterisations, nuanced themes and fast-paced editing.
Producer/ Director Neville Raschid whose earlier credits include indie Brit flicks, Ealing Comedy and Lost Dogs, said, “Making a film is the closest thing a male filmmaker can come to creating a child. You ‘carry’ the film for many months; then comes the ‘labour’ period when you shoot and edit the film; and finally it is ready to leave home on the film’s release and you can’t do anything more about it anymore. ‘Naachle London’ has been a marathon over an obstacle course with the finish line over a bed of hot coals. But it’s a film I am immensely proud of. During the shoot we had the August riots and the rain to contend with but all that slog will be worth it if the film is warmly received and does solid business at the box office. Aviary is set to shoot its second BollyBrit film in May 2012.”
Naachle London’s male lead, Raj Ghatak (‘Vijay’), said, “Where this film has its USP is in its Britishness. There have been British Asian movies before like Bend it like Beckham and Four Lions, but this film has been written, directed, produced, financed, acted, composed, and choreographed by British Asians, which makes it unique and why I wanted to come on board.”
British screen heartthrob, Jake Canuso (‘Alan’), said, “Neville gave me a call when he was doing Naachle London and he thought of me for the part of Alan. He told me I was going to do a wet shirt scene with Fagun, so I said yes straightaway! It reminded me very much of the sort of dreamy, happy, 1950s musicals which are basically made to take you away from realities. I had to learn Hindi as I played the “gora” in the film. I love the challenge of doing something that I haven’t done before.”
Model/ actress Fagun Thakrar (‘Pooja’), said, “This role was light and fun, but my character Pooja has tension with her family and her dad. Thanks to Neville for casting me opposite Jake, a very talented dancer. This wave of BollyBrit movies will be very appealing to those who are British and have Indian heritage.”
Screen debutante Alyssa Sharma (‘Krishna), said, “This whole process, as a debut actor in the film, has been such a learning curve for me and working with experienced actors has taught me a lot about performing and how I should conduct myself. More than that I had a lot of fun working with them. It was an excellent opportunity and has changed me as a person. I am essentially a dancer and the whole role expects a lot of dancing from me.”
Departing from the archetypal, poster pin-up male and female leads adopted in most Bollywood film products, Raschid purposefully showcases Naachle London’s lead stars in more true-to-life, boy and girl-next-door type avatars, presenting Raj Ghatak (BAFTA nominated for Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage musical, Bombay Dreams) and the inimitable Sofia Hayat in lead roles that articulately demonstrate their respective acting prowess.
Joining Raj and Sofia on screen is an ensemble cast of seasoned British acting talent including Kulvinder Ghir (Goodness Gracious Me, Rita, Sue and Bob Too), Harvey Virdi (Bend it like Beckham), Fagun Thakrar (Bhopal – A Prayer for Rain) and heartthrob Jake Canuso (TV’s Benidorm, Shameless and City Rats, and films including Rob Marshall’s Nine).
Naachle London also launches the screen debut of a host of impressive junior artists such as Alyssa Sharma, Gursimran Deu, Aaron Pandher and Shiv Datta.
The vibrant mise en scene of Naachle London is complimented by an infectious soundtrack courtesy of acclaimed Music Director, Jayanta Pathak, who has skilfully crafted six, hypnotic songs for the film including the addictively captivating title track.
Naachle London releases in UK through Aviary Films on 24th February 2012.