A film which highlights the struggles European Sikh migrants face upon arrival in the UK will be released for people to watch in few weeks.
On Saturday June 19, an exclusive premiere of Sicily to Southall – a film based on a real life story and produced by Sikh Youth UK – was held at Everyman Cinema in North London.
During a press conference held the same day, Unsaid Digital had the chance to get to know the cast members and the director, who told us all about the film.
Director Deepa Singh, of Sikh Youth UK, spoke about how much the issue of grooming is affecting the Sikh community.
He said: “You couldn’t make this up, while we were on set, making a film on migrants coming to the UK, a case had come forward of a Sikh family from Afghanistan, where an 11 year old girl was targeted.
“The film is prevent work and without prevent work you can’t safeguard people. A message to families is that if you haven’t got people in your own household watching and keeping eyes on your own family then people are watching them and they will smell the vulnerability and can pray on them.
“Every community has its issues, however when it comes to ours there are different methods and tactics used by the perpetrators when targeting Sikh girls. These come under education, work, college and many other different ways.”
When asked about the challenges of filming and directing, Deepa added: “We filmed this in one week and it was intense,early starts, long days, late nights. Some days were really difficult. Emotions were up and down with the camera team, with us, and with the cast.”
We spoke also with The Kaur Plan, who worked on the script and also played Taren Kaur in the film.
She said: “This still happens in this day and age and it’s important to highlight it because a lot of people are ignorant towards it.
“I feel very privileged to have been involved in this project because even if this helps one girl, that’s my job done. Even if it helps one girl’s mentality, because this could happen in our own families and that’s the whole point, we are together at the end of the day, and that’s the whole point of Sikhi. To make sure that you’re all together.”
Jarnail Singh who plays the villain talked about the challenges he faced during the week of filming.
He commented saying: “Well I wasn’t playing Superman, I was playing the main groomer and it’s not a role that everyone wants, but a role that somebody had to do. You hear about these cases a lot and it’s just so shocking to you.
“The biggest challenge for me was playing someone completely different to who I am but at the end of the day that’s what an actor does. I felt like I did that quite well, though that role is something completely different to what a Sikh is.”
Manjeet Matharu, who plays the role of the father, added: “The scenes and the film itself were very intense and very emotional for me. It took me a while to get into the character but the whole team helped me.
“It’s something I have never done before and it’s an insight to what people face, especially migrants that come into this country.
“There was a lot of work to be done, I’ve never acted before, it was a case where I had to be in the mood to produce what I had to do. Even the emotions had to be created.
“The father’s role is important in the sense that he needs to see what’s going on with his family and to be part of it. What’s happening is we are all single minded into our own jobs, but we have a family to look after and we need to spend more time with the family making sure we’re all talking with each other.”
Raj Kaur who plays the mother’s role concluded saying: “This is what’s happening and it needs to be highlighted.
“I really enjoyed some parts but some of it was very very emotional, I mean I’ve got children of my own. You see what’s going on and we try to explain it to children, but they often don’t understand and for them to go watch this film, it will highlight a lot of things.”
Unsaid Digital was also invited to watch the screening of the film during the premiere night.
Sicily to Southall is a must see movie, it encourages open conversation on the struggles faced by Sikh migrants moving to the UK. It helps spot the signs and learn the patterns of a perpetrator.
Understanding the issues faced by our community brings us all a step closer from preventing it from happening again, therefore we would recommend everyone to watch it.
The film will be released on KTV and the official date will be announced on Sikh Youth UK social media platforms. Follow them on Instagram @Sikhyouthuk and Twitter @ActivistsUk to keep up to date.