Sacha Dhawan to lead cast in Sathnam Sanghera’s The Boy With The Topknot

BBC Two today announces that Sacha Dhawan (Sherlock, Iron Fist) will play the title role of Sathnam Sanghera in The Boy With The Topknot, the critically acclaimed memoirs of his childhood in 1980’s Wolverhampton.

Adapted by Mick Ford, Joanna Vanderham (The Go-Between, Man In An Orange Shirt) will play the role of his girlfriend Laura.

Anupam Kher (Bend It Like Beckham, Silver Linings Playbook) and Deepti Naval (Lion) will star as Sathnam’s parents, with Kiran Sonia Sawar (Murdered By My Father) and Sam Otto (Three Girls) joining the cast as their younger selves. Further casting includes Jaz Deol (Viceroy’s House), Vineeta Rishi (Line Of Duty), Kriss Dosanjh (This Is England) and Manpreet Bambra (Wizards Vs. Aliens). The drama will be directed by Lynsey Miller.

Sacha Dhawan says: “After reading Sathnam's memoir; The Boy With The Topknot, I was so excited to hear that BBC, Kudos and Parti Productions were adapting it. Not only is it a beautiful story, but it's also funny and immensely moving. I feel incredibly proud to be playing Sathnam, and look forward to telling a story, which has already touched so many people.”

Nisha Parti, Parti Productions Executive Producer, says: “After a long and tough journey I am so grateful of the support from Kudos and to the BBC for greenlighting this film and taking the risk in allowing me to tell this difficult, emotional and relevant story. I hope it will speak to many second generation Asians who grew up without access to films like this, but hope it will resonate more widely. I am so thrilled to have assembled such a talented cast with both new and exciting British Asian talent working alongside such established actors that I grew up admiring.”

Diederick Santer, Executive Producer for Kudos, says: “Sathnam’s candid memoir is hilarious and heart-rending in equal measure. Mick's emotional adaptation paints an authentic portrait of an everyday family, capturing how they work, love and fight like any other, and how they learn how to live with mental illness. With our brilliant cast and crew in place, I believe we're all set to deliver something truly fresh and uproariously life-affirming for BBC audiences to enjoy.”

Piers Wenger, Controller of BBC Drama, says: “This powerful BBC Two drama tells Sathnam Sanghera’s personal story about growing up as a second-generation Indian in the West Midlands and explores first-hand his experience of mental illness within a family. I’m so grateful to Sathnam for allowing us to tell his story. With Mick Ford’s beautifully touching script and the cast and production team that have come together to make this drama, it promises to be an unmissable film.”

Born to Punjabi parents in the West Midlands, Sathnam’s memoirs are a humorous, touching and emotional story of a second-generation Indian growing up in Britain. His book is an account of his childhood and facing up to a bunch of painful family secrets and truths in his twenties – not least that his father and sister had suffered from schizophrenia – and that he was going to defy expectations of an arranged marriage.

The Boy With The Topknot will be produced by Kudos and Parti Productions as a 1x90’ for BBC Two. The executive producers are Diederick Santer and Manda Levin for Kudos, Christopher Aird for the BBC, and Nisha Parti for Parti Productions. The drama will be directed by Lynsey Miller.

Filming starts primarily in and around the West Midlands next month.

April 21, 2017 9:55am by BBC TWO  

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