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Britz (Channel 4 2007, Majinder Virk, Riz Ahmed)

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Gripping two-part thriller about a young brother and sister, both British-born and Muslim, who are pulled in radically different directions by their conflicting personal experiences in post 9/11 Britain.

Riz Ahmed (The Road to Guantanamo) and Manjinder Virk (Bradford Riots) play brother and sister Sohail and Nasima. Sohail is an ambitious law undergraduate who signs up with MI5 and, eager to play a part in protecting British security, begins an investigation into a terrorist cell. His sister Nasima is a medical student in Leeds who becomes increasingly alienated and angered by Britain’s foreign and domestic policy after witnessing at first hand the relentless targeting of her Muslim neighbours and peers.

With action set in Pakistan, Eastern Europe, London and Leeds, the story is told in two parts with both feature-length episodes detailing a tragic sequence of events from two distinct perspectives.

At the heart of this thought-provoking drama is a revealing examination of British Muslim life under current anti-terror legislation. Britz ultimately asks whether the laws we think are making us safer, are actually putting us in greater danger.

Britz, another incredible, unforgettable production from Kosminsky, is a story in two acts. Sohail and Nasima are a young brother and sister born and bred in Bradford, whose constantly overlapping lives end up taking perilously different paths. The first film tells Sohail’s story and the second Nasima’s. From two differing points of view, we watch their hopes and ideals clash with the reality of being a young Muslim in Britain today.

Britz is a fiction, a thriller, but it is set squarely in the real world. It deals with the notion of identity and divided loyalties, the duality of being both British and Muslim. The title of the drama comes from the Muslim predilection for shortening first names and ending them with a zed – Nasima’s friends call her Naz. Britz takes the raft of immigration, anti-terror and anti-social behaviour legislation that has been introduced since 2001 and asks what it actually means for citizens on the ground, in particular those who are British and Muslim.

production details
UK | Channel 4 – Daybreak Pictures | 2×20 minutes | Broadcast 31 October – 1 November 2007

Writer – Director: Peter Kosminsky
Executive Producers: David Aukin, Hal Vogal
Producer: Steve Clark-Hall
Director of Photography: David Higgs
Production Design: Pat Campbell
Casting Director: Marcia Gresham
Editor: David Blackmore
Composer: Stanislaw Syrewicz
Costume Design: Julian Day
Make-up and Hair Design: Daniel Phillips
Researchers: Rosanne Flynn, Ali Naushahi

cast
Manjinder Virk as Nasima Wahid
Riz Ahmed as Sohail Wahid
Ravin J. Ganatra as Inspector Hafeez
Mary Stockley as Tess
Chinna Wodu as Jude
Zahra Ahmadi as Sabia Iqbal
Adrian Lukis as Horne
Shaheen Khan as Shahnaz Wahid
Paul Bhattacharjee as Riaz Wahid
Sagar Radia as Rafiq Wahid
Preeya Kalidas as Shaz
Adil Mohammed Javed as Sajid
Zaid Munir as Faisal
Shereen Martineau as Laure
Arsher Ali as Matloob
Raquel Cassidy as Joy
Mark Bonnar as Richard
Harvey Virdi as Kaneez
Farzana Dua Elahe as Aisha
Tara Sharma as Parvin