Stars of television and the silver screen are among the cast line-up in a major new feature film set to begin shooting in London this week. The ensemble cast, featuring some of the British Asian community’s most recognised celebrities alongside talented newcomers and familiar home-grown talent, will collaborate on the film, which celebrates multiculturalism within the UK.
Amar Akbar & Tony, is an independent production by writer and first-time film director Atul Malhotra, which embodies and celebrates the unique and vibrant landscape of the UK. A comedy drama with a highly original plotline and cleverly developed script, Amar, Akbar & Tony is scheduled for release later this year.
The title alludes to the 1970s Bollywood classic (Amar Akbar and Anthony) and revolves around the strong bond of friendship akin to brotherhood between the three main characters. But that is where the similarities with the Bollywood film ends. Amar, Akbar & Tony is a real coming of age drama that wholly embraces the vibrancy of British Asian culture.
The cast line-up includes Rez Kempton, Sam Vincenti and Martin Delaney who play the three main protagonists – Amar, Akbar and Tony. All three artists have previously appeared in award-winning productions: Kempton in the 2009 film Life Goes On and Spooks, Vincenti in Waking the Dead and Delaney in Katherine Bigelow’s Oscar-winning Zero Dark Thirty. Their characters will provide the audience with a genuine reason to laugh, cry and shout and as we follow their lives, the question remains – will their friendship survive the emotional roller coaster that we call life?
The film also stars the multi-talented actress and singer-songwriter Karen David – famous for her starring roles in the hit BBC drama Waterloo Road and the Hollywood blockbuster, The Scorpion King 2–Rise of a Warrior. Karen plays Meera, an attractive young woman who arrives from India as a new bride.
On the surface things seem fine but her marriage is far from happy and despite the odds, Meera struggles on, resulting in a surprising turn of events. Karen, who will be getting married in between filming says: “I found the script so endearing and really appreciated the fresh depiction of South Asians. Meera’s character is so different from anything I’ve played, and it will be a wonderful challenge to play her. There are a lot of complex layers in her character. She is mysterious at first, and a lot is going on behind those eyes that you don’t find out until later on in the story. The characters, and the story lines, are definitely going to get people talking!”
Also starring Laura Aikman as Samantha – an attractive jobbing actress who has visions of hitting the big time but settles for small theatre roles in the meantime. Unlike her character, Laura is a familiar face on the big and small screen, and has been appearing in TV and films since childhood, she became a well-known face on the BBC hospital drama Casualty until she left the cast in 2010. Laura is currently starring alongside Leigh Francis‘s alter ego Keith Lemon in his hilarious spoof reality-show Lemon la Vida Loca, in which she plays the role of his Geordie girlfriend, Rosie.
Goldy Notay who is best known for her work in It’s A Wonderful Afterlife and Sex And The City 2, plays Sonia – Amar’s flirtatious and wayward sister. Her reputation precedes her, but deep down Sonia is the family-orientated girl next door with a heart of gold.
Malhotra’s vision is to represent British Asian culture and explore all its complexities from a male perspective. Malhotra comments: “My vision is to portray on film, the self-assuredness and determination of the multicultural youth of today. There have been so many portrayals of Asian people wanting to escape from their cultural heritage, but I wanted to explore the contrasting angle. The film will embrace the vibrancy and distinctiveness of this influential culture and will wear its Asian heart proudly on its sleeve. My film is a celebration of the bonds that tie us together through friendship, love, loss and ultimately redemption.”
An electrifying supporting cast, featuring special cameo appearances by favourites – Meera Syal (Nigel Cole’s All In Good Time, Goodness Gracious Me), Ace Bhatti (The charismatic Dr. Khan from EastEnders) and Nina Wadia (EastEnders, Doctor Who), will certainly add colour to the film. The eclectic line-up also includes; Amrita Acharia who has most recently been seen in the epic fantasy drama Game Of Thrones and Shide Boss – the British Asian singer / songwriter who turned professional after winning Channel 4’s Hollyoaks Unsigned Music Show.
Filmed on location in and around London and in particular on the famous streets of Southall, home to a thriving and successful Asian community, the film aims to appeal to a wide audience attracting the forward-thinking, modern generation of British Asians – who are proud to celebrate their culture and all the trials and tribulations that comes with it.
Filming of Amar, Akbar & Tony commenced on Saturday 4th May 2013.