British independent comedy feature “The Effects of Lying” has completed post-production and will be screened for distributors at BAFTA.
Based on a script by James Hey (“Doctors”), and directed by Isher Sahota (“Hollyoaks”), the film follows a dutiful husband and loving father whose life falls apart when decades of festering secrets are exposed and he’s forced to face up to who he really is. The cast includes Ace Bhatti (“Bohemian Rhapsody,” “Line of Duty”), Laila Rouass (“Holby City,” “Spooks”), Navin Chowdhry (“The End of the F***ing World,” “Our Girl”), Shaheen Khan (“Mogul Mowgli”), Lauren Patel (“Everybody’s Talking About Jamie”), Adam Bregman (“Tolkien,” “Genius”) and Mark Williams (the Harry Potter franchise).
Variety caught up with the cast and crew of the film on set in London during principal photography.
The central family in the movie happens to be British Asian. “It’s not a British Asian Film. It’s a film about family, about secrets, about loss, about desire,” says Sahota of the project, which is his debut feature.
“The Effects of Lying” will be released into a market which is increasingly receptive to consuming diverse content. “That is what the cultural conversation is about now — it feels different now, it is about representation, and just different experiences,” adds Sahota. “This is a very universal story, but hopefully people are more open and it won’t be a niche thing. I want this to be mainstream.”
Bhatti says about his character: “Within 24 hours, he gets hit by three huge bombshells — things that he didn’t know. Things that he wasn’t expecting, that should never have come out. But they do, and he has to deal with that on an emotional level. We’ve all been through these on some level. And speaking to the other cast members, everybody knows somebody who’s experienced at least one of these things.”
Laila Rouass, who plays Bhatti’s wife in the film, describes her character as such: “She feels like she’s given away her best years, and she’s resentful and frustrated. She’s come to a point where she doesn’t care. She’s going to live life by her rules.”
“The storyline is great, because it’s always one surprise after another,” Rouass adds. “It’s a family on the verge of a nervous breakdown.”
Going forward, the film’s team hopes for a harmonious future where it has both a theatrical run and a streaming life. “There’s something really beautiful about these independent films and these stories being so accessible to a wider audience, people being able to watch them on their phones or at home or on a plane or a train,” says Lauren Patel, who plays a pivotal role in the film. “But then there’s also something really beautiful about going to the cinema and sharing an experience with people and I think that it’s lovely that we have both of those options for the film.”
The Bonaparte Films production is produced by Jon Tarcy, whose credits as an actor include “Outlander” and “Doctors.” He has produced several shorts, including “In Memoriam Dr. H.G.K.” “The Effects of Lying” is his first feature as producer. The team was eager to tell the story as soon as possible and decided not to go down the time-consuming route of applying for film funds and grants. The project was pitched to potential investors around the U.K., and the funding eventually came from four investors, including a former studio executive and a television personality.
“There’s a gap in the market with something like this — a diverse, exciting comedy,” says Tarcy, who is now getting the film ready for a festival run.
“We’re hoping it will have wide distribution, particularly with our cast as well, because a lot of them have got an international audience themselves,” Tarcy adds.
“The Effects of Lying” screens for distributors at the BAFTA on July 29.