Fact File: The Effects of Lying
Director Isher Sahota tells DQ six things we should know about The Effects of Lying, a feature-length ITVX show that follows a dutiful father and husband through a series of shocking events taking place across just one day.
Described as a comedic drama that brings South Asian representation to the screen, The Effects of Lying explores how a series of events changes one man’s life in a single day.
Ace Bhatti (Line of Duty) stars as Naveen, a dutiful husband and loving father who is forced to face up to some home truths after decades of festering secrets are finally exposed.
Naveen has sacrificed everything for his family, but today is going to be different. After finding his teenage daughter Simran secretly gorging and his dissatisfied wife Sangeeta in bed with his brother, lies come pouring out and the truth is uncovered.
Naveen must now get to grips with the key relationships in his life that he bases his identity on. What is he, if not a husband, a father, a brother? He’s allowed himself to be passive for too long, pushed around by the currents of other people’s whims and desires. He must learn to take responsibility for his own life and his own happiness.
The cast also includes Laila Rouass (Holby City) as Sangeeta, and Lauren Patel (Everybody’s Talking About Jamie) as Simran, alongside Navin Chowdhry (The End of the F***ing World), Shaheen Khan (Bend it Like Beckham) and Mark Williams (Harry Potter).
Written by James Hey, directed by Isher Sahota and produced by Bonaparte Films, the feature launched on ITVX in the UK earlier this month.
Here, Sahota tells DQ six things we should know about the project, from casting the family at the centre of the story to completing filming in just 12 days.
1. It was so refreshing to read James’s script; a story about a family that falls apart during the course of one day as deep-rooted secrets from the past emerge. The script was heart-warming, funny, honest, surprising – and it just happened to be about a British Asian family. That was genuinely thrilling for me as a British Asian filmmaker – a universal story of love and loss, with the main narrative being informed but not driven by the fact that it was a South Asian family.
I connected particularly with the character of Naveen, played beautifully by Ace Bhatti. He’s been suppressing emotions for decades because he thinks that’s the right thing to do to keep his family together. But during the course of this eventful day, he realises he has to confront the truth of his life and journey towards a more authentic version of himself. That was a journey I really connected to, and thought audiences would too.
2. Nothing about making this film was usual or by the book. Producer Jon Tarcy and I were in lockdown worrying about our careers. We decided to take matters into our own hands and pledged to one another that we would make this script. We were inspired by Indie American filmmakers, such as the Duplass brothers, whose inspiring SXSW speech ‘The Cavalry isn’t Coming’ galvanised us to make this film with no official industry support.
We raised a microbudget privately and set out to shoot the film in just 12 days, and complete post in five weeks. It was an incredible journey that required the dedicated, passionate work of a lot of talented individuals behind and in front of the camera. But we’re so glad we did it in this way, as we were able to make a film with a unique tone in exactly the way that we wanted creatively.
3. The casting process was a really important part of this process, led by our brilliant casting director Claudia Blunt. Working together, we carefully built the Sanghera family with a combination of established and emerging British Asian talent, from exciting new talent like Lauren Patel to screen legends like Shaheen Khan who have been in seminal British Asian films like Bend it Like Beckham. Our actors found the script to be similarly refreshing in its portrayal of the British Asian family, and enthusiastically came on board to tell this story.
4. We get asked a lot about the 12-day shoot, and people think it must’ve been chaotic. That couldn’t be further from the truth. The shoot pretty much went like clockwork. Because if you’re trying something as madly ambitious as that, you have to be extremely organised. And our crew were fantastic, from our brilliant costume department led by Jonathan Lipman to our production designer Ida Fly Hedkevist to cinematographer Adam Singodia.
We employed a handheld approach – inspired in prep by watching Thomas Vinterberg’s Another Round – to lend a naturalism and consistency to the style of it and allow our actors greater freedom. Hopefully audiences forget about the camera and just become a pair of eyes in the house as the Sanghera family implodes.
5. We’re so delighted for The Effects of Lying to be reaching a mainstream audience on ITVX. Mine and Jon’s mission was to reach a broad audience. Stories about British Asians have for too long been considered niche – we were always confident that this story could be enjoyed by anyone. Being on ITVX completes our mission goal, as anyone with internet access will be able to watch this film for free in the UK, and we’re really proud of that.
6. We were driven by one desire throughout this process: to connect with audiences. We believed we had a story with a unique tone and empowered ourselves as filmmakers to tell it. We made it outside the industry and, as such, achieved the film on our own terms, which we wouldn’t have been able to do within it. But now to have been accepted by a major platform and to be connecting with audiences – that’s everything for us.
We hope audiences go along the journey of ups and downs with the Sanghera family on the fateful day when our story is set. We hope they enjoy the chaotic ride of laughs and surprising and heartfelt moments of tenderness.
tagged in: Ace Bhatti, Adam Singodia, Bonaparte Films, Claudia Blunt, Ida Fly Hedkevist, Isher Sahota, ITVX, James Hey, Jon Tarcy, Jonathan Lipman, Laila Rouass, Lauren Patel, Mark Williams, Navin Chowdhry, Shaheen Khan, Thomas Vinterberg