February 27 2014
A FILM that enjoyed considerable success in 2012 in North America among Asian communities there will be broadcast on B4U Movies this Saturday (March 1) in the UK and worldwide.
It stars Naresh Kumar, a British born and bred international actor-model making his feature film debut in “Pseudo: Blood of Our Own”, as a leading man.
The hard-hitting drug gang film features Kumar as a corrupt cop (‘Sleaze/Bukhinder Thiara’), who has so many sharp edges, you’d be frightened of saying hello to him, if you knew just how rotten and vicious he could be.
Kumar, who featured in “Eastern Eye’s” top 50 sexiest Asian men in 2011 at no. 30, is a very different person from the one he portrays on screen in Pseudo. He is friendly and personable as they come.
Based in the West Midlands, Kumar has appeared in stage productions in the UK, and was in a number of TV ads last year, most noticeably starring alongside Bollywood megastar Hrithik Roshan in one, for wedding banqueting restaurant Chak89 in South London. He first made the break into acting and modelling when he was at university studying computer science about four years ago.
“Pseudo”, as it is better known, was written and directed by Gursimran Dhillon, who is based in Calgary, Alberta and the film was produced under his Canadian Bollywood production company. It was his first feature and it toured the festival circuit in North America, winning an award at the Alberta Film Festival in 2012. Privately financed with a reported independent budget of Canadian $1 million, it’s done well commercially too.
www.asianculturevulture.com caught up with Dhillon and Kumar ahead of the film being broadcast in the UK.
ACV: Hi, Gursimran. Welcome to www.asianculturevulture.com. Tell us a little about the background to the film, “Pseudo: Blood of Our Own”.
Gursimran Dhillon (GD): “Pseudo-Blood Of Our Own” is a crime drama based on some incidents that have taken place and still occur from time to time in British Columbia. It is fiction but the essence of the film is very realistic and it is set in a cold region of north America which does give it a very isolated feel.
The story revolves around a city cop, ‘Sleaze’ aka ‘Bakhinder Thiara played by Naresh Kumar. The plot centres on his behaviour and how his actions affect the lives of several key members of a gang he heads. It’s a very raw film which I feel will appeal to all walks of life especially the younger generation. The film honestly depicts a range of human emotions. As an Indo-Canadian project, I wanted to give this film a unique feel, which was one of my biggest reasons to shoot this film in winter.
So, as hard as it was to film on outdoor sets where we were sometimes worried that our cameras might freeze, the actors did really well in the film and certainly felt the bitter cold but it helped to bring out a certain realism in the acting, which gave the film even more authenticity.
ACV: How did you find Naresh Kumar?
GD: I knew about Naresh through his international modelling work and some acting work of his that I had seen and I knew that he had the look for what I had in mind for this project. Working with Naresh was an absolute pleasure; I have never met a more dedicated actor. We only had about two weeks of rehearsals with him and in those two weeks I don’t think anyone else could have understood the character of ‘Sleaze’ as well as he did. Some days I wasn’t sure whom I was talking to Naresh or ‘Sleaze’, once he got into his character it wasn’t easy to get him back out, however he did warn me that might happen.
The other actors were sourced all from Canada, Naresh being the only actor from Europe, which was ideal as his character, ‘Sleaze’ actually has a British background. The rest of the cast was absolutely great to work with and every member of the team did a marvellous job and they were truly great.
ACV: How did you come to be a filmmaker?
GD: I have always had a creative aspect as a young child, and films have always been a significant part of my life.
During the time of writing the script and working on the screen play I was a reservist with the Canadian Forces, as well as a young aspiring director that worked on numerous Punjabi music videos. My background of being able to work in different areas of the creative process, my knowledge of multiple languages and having lived in India and Canada gave me the edge and ability to make films from a cross-cultural genre. I had also started out as an editor in the industry and then moved onto writing and directing.
ACV: What is the filmmaking environment like in Canada for South Asian filmmakers?
GD: You need creativity and business skills, followed by perseverance and then will it be possible to see your creation materialise on the big screen.
ACV: What are you doing now?
GD: I am working on several projects and will direct my second feature film on a much larger scale in 2015 and I am producing and distributing several films from different genres: Punjabi, Hindi and English into North America.
ACV: Hi Naresh, welcome to www.asianculturevulture.com. How did you come to get this part for a Canadian movie?
Naresh Kumar (NK): Being an actor you’re practically a nomad, you go anywhere your job takes you – and acting and modelling internationally prepares you to go wherever the work is and this led to the producer and director of ‘Pseudo’ approaching me for a project in North America. To do character driven roles and be a versatile actor has always been one of my goals and this opportunity was too good to miss. I immediately accepted the role after reading the script.
ACV: Was it difficult playing such a nasty character? You did appear to spend a bit of of the film half-naked, was that easy?
NK: I play the protagonist, a Metro cop. The story revolves around him and depicts the effects he has on several other key members in the film. He’s polite, yet complex. It was quite difficult playing this narcissistic, psycho sociopath, but I was thorough in my preparation, as I worked closely with fellow actors and the director to master the character prior to filming.
As for being half-naked, if that is what the script requires and is part of the vision of the director for the character and scene then so be it! Lol.
ACV: What were the highlights of filming for you?
NK: Experiencing the opportunity to lose myself in another character and to carry out the ‘SWAT’ training was extraordinary.
Using real guns to fire ‘blanks’ was very interesting yet demanding – just the sheer weight of the weapons make you realise how intensely members of the police force and SWAT actually train to be on the ‘mark’. Being the lead in this crime drama and working with such a diverse group of talented actors from different cultures and backgrounds was also very satisfying. And finally seeing the feature on the big screen, attending numerous film festivals and finally being able to share it internationally on TV are also a big thrill.
ACV: What can we expect of you in the future?
NK: I am looking at a number of projects, including a television comedy about an Asian groom who doesn’t quite know whether he is ready for marriage. It appeared as a column on www.entouraaj.com, as “Diary of a Groom”, and is being adapted for the screen.
I am also very excited about a new international feature film project but as it is only in the pre-production phase I can’t say anything about it, but watch this space!
- Picture: Naresh Kumar, Tayshawn Prince, and Manwinder Gill in “
Pseudo: Blood of Our Own
- “Pseudo: Blood of Our Own”, B4U Movies, Saturday, March 1, 11.30pm (UK)