The youngest member of The Winter of Love

Hardeep Singh Mangat, the youngest of the cast in ‘The Winter of Love’ (formally A Quiet Desperation) fitted in perfectly – at the time of the shoot, Hardeep was in his late teen’s – tall and charming – a child in a man’s body. Playing the role of Sonu Singh, Paji’s youngest child, Sonu Singh is left with the responsibilities of caring for a mentally disturbed elder sister after the death of their father. Their world is turned upside down and further complicated by the arrival of their uncle, Shammi Singh, played by Shiv Grewal.Hardeep’s route into acting was through community theatre which he was involved in from his early teen’s where in appeared in a play at the National Theatre, A Indian Summer by Harwant Bains, qualifying for a runner up in a competition run by the National.

A versatile and natural actor, Hardeep was un-phased by the tumultuous activity around him. Delivering a very natural talent, Hardeep delivered a poignant performance of a teenage unable to cope with adversity.

Although Hardeep is no longer acting, his contribution to The Winter of Love remains exemplary.

Mamta Anand from the cast The Winter of Love

Manta Anand’s quiet portrayal of Banger’s wife in ‘The Winter of Love’ (formerly ‘A Quiet Desperation’) reveals the loneliness and sorrow in a woman who has put everything into a marriage but finds herself rejected.In love with Banger, Mamta explores effectively the pitiful nature of the character’s need to be wanted by an uncaring husband. In the brief scenes that she has, Mamta manages to encapsulate an experience that is common for so many women, and she effectively transcends race.

Mamta has appeared in a number of productions produced by Falcon Films, in a few she has played the lead and created memorable performances. In Restless Sky, she played a homeless woman, living on memories. In Talking About Suicide, Mamta played the role of a depressed and battered woman on the verge of suicide.

A versatile actress with great depth, Mamta has appeared on stage and television. Her television appearances include Casualty, Waking The Dead, The Bill, 15 Stories High, Kismet Road and Dilly Down Town.

A regular artist with the Asian fringe theatre, Mamta has created many memorable roles ranging from a battered wife to supreme comedy. Productions include at the Lyric Hammersmith, When Amar met Jay. With RIFCO, she played the role of Shanti in Bollywood – Yet Another Love Story and she also appeared in RIFCO’s production of The Deranged Marriage. She has also worked extensively in Punjabi theatre as well as been involved in productions with Kali Theatre.

Recently, Mamta has ventured out in directing for community theatre with productions based at Watermans in Brentford.

Pravesh Kumar from the cast The Winter of Love

Since the completion of The Winter of Love (formerly ‘A Quiet Desperation’), many of the actors who appeared in the film have gone on to create amazing projects.Pravesh played the part of Anil in The Winter of Love who pays a high price for love. Although a brief appearance in the film, Anil’s character is central to the development of Preeti’s character which culminates in tragedy.

Pravesh Kumar, who appears as a memory for one of the key protagonists in the film, Preeti, played by Gurpreet Bhatti, has since created a successful theatre company, RIFCO who have in the past produced box office sensation with productions such as Bollywood 2000 and Deranged Marriage.

Here is an extract of an interview with Pravesh which appeared in BBC Berkshire:

“Pravesh Kumar is a successful theatre director from Slough. He is head of RIFCO, the resident company at the new theatre venue in the town, the West Wing. What makes this all the more remarkable is that there was no theatre there when he was young.

Where did you grow up?

“I grew up in Slough, my mother’s still there, and I work there every day at the West Wing, which is part of Arbour Vale School.”

That’s a new venue for Slough, isn’t it?
“Yes, it’s the only new venue we’ve had for 20 years, so it’s wonderful to have a space now where we can put on professional work, and receive other touring work from around the country. It’s about time. We did have something in the early ’80s which closed down. We can now develop our arts scene, which is way behind any other city or town. We’re going to do a great deal of work with the community… It’s a studio space, which is about 250 seats.”

With no theatres in Slough, how did you get interested in the arts?
“At the Westgate School in Cippenham. We had a strong focus at the time on drama, which seems to have changed now. Then I went onto Langley College (now East Berkshire college), I was the only non-white student on the performing arts course. Also I worked at the cinema. Then I got into the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts in Wandsworth, an acting degree for three years. Before the end of the course I was offered the lead in a show at Stratford East, ‘Moti Roti’. That launched my acting career, which went on until 1998. “

You can read the interview in full here.

Badi U Zaman from the cast The Winter of Love

Badi U Zaman brief appearance at Shammi’s (Shiv Grewal) elder brother is brief but memorable in ‘The Winter of Love’ (formerly ‘A Quiet Desperation’) where he serves up relief, showing the shallowness of the character.Badi has been part of the British Asian cinema and theatre since he landed here in 1984 escaping the wrath of Zia ul-Haq’s military dictatorship in Pakistan.

His rapid departure from Pakistan was due to an appearance in a film entitled Mela by Salman Peerzada, playing a clown in a circus commenting on the political situation in Pakistan at the time.

Upon arrival in England, Badi quickly established himself both on stage and in television – going on to appear in Sammy and Rosie get laid and most recently in Guantanamo at in the West End, about the prisoners held by the US.

Badi in a sense appears as a guest in The Winter of Love and plays the character of Chacha Malli, Shammi and Paji’s older estranged brother whose lost interest is a blow up doll who lives with him in his shed amongst the home beer kit.

A memorable character, Badi u Zaman’s portrayal of Chacha Malli honed the desperation of many of his generation nostalgic of returning to their country of birth.

Dev Sagoo from the cast The Winter of Love

Dev Sagoo’s rendition of the central villainous character of ‘Paji’ in ‘The Winter of Love’ (formerly ‘A Quiet Desperation’) is gripping highlighting the common features of a man who fulfils his duty through control and manipulation.

His centre of attention is his young daughter ‘Preeti’ who is mentally unstable and looked after him. Despite Preeti’s mental state, she finds love and independence which sits uncomfortably with the character of Paji.

The relationship comes to a head when Preeti plans to leave with her lover but is violently stopped by Paji and his accomplice Banger, played by Shakher Bassi. This leads Preeti into a spiral that creates an inability to think for herself, relying entirely on her controlling father.

Dev works the character’s with depth and a cold control, calming plotting to ‘do away with the boy’.

Dev Sagoo is a highly respected British Asian actor who has been part of great productions from the late ‘70’s and onwards. His credits include; In the Field (2005); Beautiful People (1999); My Son the Fanatic (1997); “Turning World” (1997) “Between the Lines” 1993; Prime Suspect 2 and much more.

Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti from the cast The Winter of Love

Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti’s rendition of Preeti’s character in ‘The Winter of Love’ (formerly ‘A Quiet Desperation’) is deeply moving and original.Playing the part of Preeti, Gurpreet brought to light the struggles of a young woman wanting to live her own life. She live Anil who is played by Pravesh Kumar in The Winter of Love pay a high price for love. Although a brief appearance in the film, Anil’s character is central to the development of Preeti’s character which culminates in tragedy.

Filmed entirely on location, The Winter of Love tells the story of a family in turmoil after the death of Paji, Preeti’s father. The return of Shammi, Preeti’s uncle, unlocks a plethora of ghosts.

Since the completion of the film many of the actors who appeared in the film have gone on to create amazing projects and Gurpreet has since established herself as a highly skilled playwright for the British stage.

Her play Bhezti, which caused much controversy and joins the ranks of many well crafted plays by British Asian playwrights, went on to ask probing and difficult questions as is the role of any writer.

Gurpreet went on to win the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize for Bhezti. The US-based award is made annually to the best English language play by a woman and is worth $10,000.

At the time of winning the prize, BBC Midlands covered the story and wrote that:

“Critics have marked out Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti as a playwright to watch – be it as a fresh, original or provocative voice in British theatre.

Bhezti is Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti’s second play. Born in Watford, she has mixed acting with writing and has two plays plus work on scripts for Crossroads and East Enders to her name. “

Read here for the full article.

Shiv Grewal from the cast The Winter of Love

Shiv Grewal’s rendition of Shammi in ‘The Winter of Love’ (formerly ‘A Quiet Desperation’) takes the viewer into a difficult world of a lonely man.Estranged from his brother and his family, Shammi finds himself on the outside, living a life as a drunk and destitute. The character of Shammi epitomises the question of what is a good person. Here we see an unkempt man, living in his car and sleeping with prostitutes who end up being the saviour of his niece, Preeti. Played with a reserve seldom seen, Shiv Grewal gives a performance of depth epitomising despair.

Shiv Grewal is an established British actor, working on stage, film and television and often on radio playing key roles with depth and conviction.

His most recent production playing the part of Afzal in “The Last Enemy” (2007) is shot at the Castel Film Studios, Bucharest, Romania and in London. Parts of it were shot near the Battersea Power Station. The film is currently in post-production.

Shiv has been involved in British Asian theatre for some years now and has appeared in a number of productions. Bringing his vast experience to the production of The Winter of Love, Shiv’s professionalism helped propel this low budget/no budget feature into some shape.

His portrayal of Shammi’s character brought out the quiet desperation of the character and pin-pointed the defiance within bringing in these striking elements onto the screen – that of an outsider.

Sound Design – The Winter of Love

Sound Design has fast been gathering the momentum of star status within the post production world of motion picture. The importance of sound design to a film is paramount and with the advent of technical progress, the sophistication of its application and creation of sound design is reaching heady heights, ever evolving.

In The Winter of Love, the sound design created by Julian MacDonald is highly original, which is not be confused with the film’s soundtrack composed by the legendry Kuljit Bhamra. Julian has gone on to produce a fascinating world of emotion through sound where the characters in the ‘The Winter of Love’ epitomise a specific group of people suffering a universal truth.

For example, Julian uses nature to bring out Preeti’s character played by Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti creating a world where the character longs to escape and Julian draws out her mental state to the forefront; whereas the sound design created for Shammi’s character is that of a wide open world, with dramatic skies and open roads, signify an inner desire of the character to constantly escape.

Julian MacDonald managed to create a world full of complexity drawing out the essence of the script and the film’s final edit; he understood the nature of the movement within the film as that one of being a non-linearity embracing all aspects of past, present and future of capturing a moment as well as the whole.

Urgent Call Out to All British Asian Theatre Artists

Oops!! Missed the boat on this one! I had heard talks about some kind of study or collection of records being created and as usual there is no organisation as far as Asian artists are concerned in the UK, but there you have it! Of course I have missed the deadline of 1st September as is stated in the write up below, but I guess there is no harm in writing in to them, if only to show the vast numbers who have missed the deadline simply because they were not aware of it. So if you are involved in the theatre and have a history to tell and are of South Asian decent then I urge you to write in.

This is the call out from the Department of Drama, University of Exeter:

British Asian Theatre: From Past to Present

Dates: 10/4/2008 – 13/4/2008

Institution: Department of Drama, University of Exeter

Contact: Gayatri Simons

Contact details: G.Simons[@] [remove brackets when emailing]

Papers and presentations are invited for a 4-day conference to be held at the Department of Drama, University of Exeter, 10-13 April 2008, a key event in the final year of the AHRC-funded project ‘British Asian Theatre: critical history and documentation’.

The conference will bring together practitioners and academic scholars to discuss and review the history and achievements of the practitioners and performers who have made British South Asian theatre. The debate will bring new critical perspectives to the fields of British theatre history and performance, popular culture, and the history and cultural presence of South Asian diasporas.

Live performances and workshops by leading British Asian artists will be scheduled as part of the conference programme, and the keynote address will be given by Naseem Khan, author of the seminal report The Arts Britain Ignores. Those participating will include:

The conference organisers are now inviting proposals for papers and presentations from practitioners and academics that address the many issues affecting the development of this performance history and theatre practice. Presentations can also be done through practice. Suggested themes for individual contributions or panels are:

The location of performance – from domestic to public spaces

Critical analyses of Asian-led theatre companies and specific productions

Language theatres and bilingual theatre

The role of dance, music and film in British Asian theatre

Profiles of the work of specific performers

Script and adaptation in British Asian theatre production

The role of design and designers

Histories of community-based and amateur Asian-led theatre initiatives

New Writing and other training initiatives for British Asian practitioners

The role of host theatres and venues in the development of British Asian theatre

Asian aesthetics, techniques and traditions in non-Asian-led work

Preserving histories – resources, archives and the documentation of British Asian theatre

Live art and new media

Assessments of the impact of funding policies and specific funding schemes

Histories of audiences of Asian-led theatre and assessments of the impact of specific audience diversity initiatives

The interconnectedness of Asian-led theatre practice between the UK, the Indian subcontinent and South Asian diasporic communities

Deadline for proposals: 1 September 2007

Please send abstracts of around 250 words to the Drama Department secretary, Gayatri Simons, G.Simons[@] by 1 September 2007.

Selected papers and presentations from this conference will be published in a special edition of the journal South Asian Popular Culture in 2009, to be guest-edited by Sarah Dadswell and Graham Ley.

For more information about the AHRC-funded project, please see the project website at