When their best friend is the victim of a racist murder on a Birmingham university campus, Alison (Monique Squeri), a feisty American student, and Arjun (Shiv Jhala), an Indian who obsessively films everything, plot their revenge on Gordon, the rising star of the university’s controversial “English” Society. Arjun & Alison is a hard hitting independent thriller directed by debutant Sidharth Sharma which poignantly tackles the underlying concerns of racism and racially motivated behaviour amongst the British youth community.
Set in Birmingham, the city forms an ethnically diverse backdrop, a cultural melting pot amongst student life, where a mixed group of friends are enjoying their days on campus when a horrifying murder takes place. Nigel (Duane Hannibal), the campus joker, ladies man and life and soul of the party is stabbed and killed after a night out. Determined to seek revenge on their best friend’s killer, Arjun and Alison embark on a journey filled with twists and turns, unraveling dark secrets along the way. Meanwhile tempers are high around campus as university activists protest against Gordon (Oliver Squires), a smarmy politician-in-the-making and controversial leader of the newly created English Society. While Gordon’s far right views and outwardly racist demeanor make him the prime suspect in the racially motivated killing, Arjun and Alison must battle their own dark problems before seeking revenge.
Arjun & Alison is a gritty British revenge thriller with a talented new cast and whilst the edgy plot simmers with anger, lies and treachery, there is certain warmth between the two lead characters. As their friendship grows, circumstances deepen and the murder mystery starts to unravel new discoveries and past secrets. Debut Indian director Sidharth Sharma says of the film, “I was fascinated by the UK’s unique blend of cultures and the behaviour amongst the youth. During a visit to Birmingham I was particularly moved by the race riots that occurred during my trip. I was shocked by the fighting, which was happening and discussed a film idea with screenwriter Andy Conway. As a result the script for “Arjun & Alison” had surfaced and I was compelled to make a film about the racial tensions in this part of the country as opposed to shooting in London, which is a familiar backdrop in modern Indian cinema. I feel the underlying scenarios of the lead characters are ones which the majority of young Britons can relate to.”
Arjun & Alison features an all new British cast as well as a cameo role from Goodness Gracious Me star Kulvinder Ghir. The film was first premiered at the London Indian Film Festival (2012) before being officially selected for the St Tropez International Film Festival (2013) where it received critical acclaim and lead actress Monique Squeri picked up the Best Actress award. The film has since been received warmly in America, after a special screening and Q&A session with director Sidharth Sharma at the Boston University.
Arjun & Alison is being released in the UK on Friday 25th April at selected Cineworld cinemas. The first look of the trailer will be shown from this Friday (11th April) at screenings of Bhoothnath Returns and 2 States.