An Honourable Beginning

Newcomer Shubham Saraf talks about his role in the thriller Honour

Posted: 30.04.14

As a gripping thriller, Honour knows how to keep ans audience on its toes. A film, which represents the extreme side of culture and traditions it focuses on the topic of honour killings. Newcomer Shubham Saraf plays the younger brother of the victim Mona in the film directed by Shan Khan which has just been released on DVD. Shubham tells Simi Gupta what it was like to take on such a dramatic role for his first venture onto the big screen.

How did you land your part in Honour?
My parents were skeptical about me entering the film industry, and thought I shoud gain a proper degree first. I studied Economics at the University of Warwick where, in my second year, I received the script for Honour. I had never read a story so meaningful. Generally, when you audition for a role, you usually go in without any meaning. You simply just audition. However, with Honour it was a completely different experience.

Tell us about the story and the character you play?
The film is about a Muslim, Pashtun family who are very strict in their ways. The daughter of the family, Mona, goes against the code of conduct and forms a relationship with a Punjabi Muslim. I play her younger brother Adel who goes and tell Kasim, their elder brother about her secret which leads to a furious situation. Adel is a weak character, to which I can relate to from my own mother who used to see me as a weak individual! But eventually, my character falls onto his own two feet and you’ll come to see that he has desirable qualities.

Were you aware of honour killings before you read the script?
Not must - I certainly didn’t realise they happened in the United Kingdom. I did my own research to prepare for the role and was shocked that it goes on, it just doesn’t make the front news. There is a lack of confidence in reporting such an issue and that’s the problem. My reaction to the whole situation is a mixture of anger and sadness, but I predominantly feel sick about it all.

How can this film help raise awareness about the issue?
To me, making films is a form of art which can be used to raise awareness. In terms of the help that is out there, there are charities, such as the Hemraj Gohil Foundation, Karma Nirvana and the Metropolitan Police, who aim to improve the issue however, I do feel that the concept of ‘neighborhood watch’ has died down. People don’t look out for each other any more, they just allow these things to take place.

What was it like filming your first feature film?
It was tough story and all of us were affected by it in different ways. Ayesha Hart, who plays Mona, found it difficult due to the awful atmosphere that was created in the storylines and their were times she couldn’t carry on. Faraz Ayub, who portrays Kasim, also experienced a similar situation as he didn’t want to be portrayed negatively in the public eye. The film was made in the Isle of Man away from all our homes and families and it helped for us to get together and talk it all out. As actors, we had to move past the negativities and inhabit our characters to do the film justice.

What’s next for you?
As an Asian actor in the UK, there’s not much choice in roles - you receive roles because of the way you look. I hope there will be a time when I am offered roles that are based on talent rather than race. I look up to films like King of Comedy and Taxi Driver so am definitely interested in acting in movies that portrays 70’s America – maybe I’ll be the first Asian to be cast in cast a role? Fingers crossed!

Honour is released on DVD on 28th April 2014.

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