By PARVEEN AHMED
Author and journalist Sathnam Sanghera’s book of candid memoirs, The Boy With The Topknot, is to be made into a one-off 90 minute drama for BBC Two. Filming begins this month primarily in and around the West Midlands.
The story is an emotional but humorous account of Sathnam’s upbringing in 1980’s Wolverhampton, and also addresses the serious issue of mental health; detailing his father and sister’s battle with schizophrenia. Jointly produced by Kudos and Parti Productions, the screenplay has been adapted by Mick Ford and will be directed by Lynsey Miller. Executive Producer, Nisha Parti of Parti Productions said: “After a long and tough journey I am so grateful of the support from Kudos and to the BBC for greenlighting this film and taking the risk in allowing me to tell this difficult, emotional and relevant story.”
Sacha Dhawan, who previously starred in Sherlock and Iron Fist, will play the lead role of Sathnam Sanghera. Sacha Dhawan said: “After reading Sathnam’s memoir; The Boy With The Topknot, I was so excited to hear that BBC, Kudos and Parti Productions were adapting it. Not only is it a beautiful story, but it’s also funny and immensely moving. I feel incredibly proud to be playing Sathnam, and look forward to telling a story, which has already touched so many people.”
The cast also includes Anupam Kher (Bend It Like Beckham) and Deepti Naval (Lion) as Sathnam’s parents. Joanna Vanderham will play the role of Sathnam’s girlfriend.
Following its publication The Boy with the Topknot was awarded The Mind Book of the Year 2009. One of the judges, Blake Morrison, said at the time: “Like the best coming of age stories, The Boy with the Topknot is frank about the embarrassments and self-absorption of adolescence. The judges admired Sanghera’s courage – when writers from ethnic minorities write honestly about the world they grew up in they’re sometimes accused of betrayal and disloyalty… But Sanghera’s is a loyal and loving book, which couldn’t have been written without the support of his family.”