When Kidulthood came out in 2006, people were delighted, at last they were saying here’s a realistic story about being a youth in London. Yes, it might have been slightly over the top at points, but it had so much going for it – a great cast, great soundtrack and an excellent script.
It’s been five years since we’ve seen or heard from director Menhaj Huda, but now he’s back with Everywhere & Nowhere. Huda made Kidulthood because he wanted to fill a gap in films about urban life and he has made this film to portray Asian youth in film in what he believes is a realistic way.
Everywhere & Nowhere is a coming-of-age drama. The main focus is Ash, played by James Floyd. He is a young British Asian, whose parents have returned home to the old country after retirement leaving him with his tyrannical older bother, played by Alyy Khan and sister (Shivani Ghai). Ash is struggling to find his place in life. His passion is for DJing, however unlike many other young adults he is somewhat restricted by the Asian traditions of his family.
The film follows Ash and a group of his friends, played by Adam Deacon (who you will recognise from Adulthood and Kidulthood), Elyes Gabel (Waterloo Road) and Neet Mohan . They work for their strict parents, go to mosque and are prepared to have arranged marriages. On the other hand they also enjoy the perks of Western life: they love partying, they drink, smoke and sleep with girls. Ash however is trying hard to break away from the restrictive part of his life. He doesn’t want to study accountancy, he doesn’t want to work in his uncle’s shop and he wants to be able to date white girls if he wants. But most of all he wants to be a DJ.
Ash is good looking, and when I say good looking I mean good looking, he’s also educated but he also has a talent for DJing and it’s not just normal tunes, he blends classic Bollywood soundtracks with contemporary hip-hop. The film’s soundtrack is without a doubt the highlight of the film. There are a number of clubbing scenes and moments when you can really get into the urban lives of the characters, with music from the likes of The Streets and Dizzee Rascal.
Everywhere & Nowhere is different to other British Asian films, it’s not like East Is East or Bend It Like Beckham, there is nothing sugar coated here. A number of Asian films use comedy as a way to address issues but this film doesn’t try and dumb it down, it’s straight up. There are funny bits in the film, but I didn’t feel they were used as a ploy to lighten the mood. As a non-Asian watching the film, I found myself wondering if this was the reality of the situation for British Asians. I also wondered how much of the film I didn’t get, there were a few in-jokes but mostly this was a situation which I found very hard to relate to.
Overall the film’s cast is good, they all have the ability to act but what lets it down is the wooden script which is littered with cliché after cliché. There’s recognisable faces in the film, such as James Buckley who plays Jay in The Inbetweeners, but it was a little off putting seeing Jay pop up on screen outside his role as a cheeky schoolboy.
Everywhere & Nowhere is entertaining in general but at some points it did feel like the film was dragging and some scenes we’re far too long, with some real cringe-worthy moments. The cast and music stopped it from being a terrible film. It’s no Kidulthood that’s for sure, but in certain markets, such as the Asian one, it is bound to do well.
Buy the Everywhere and Nowhere [DVD] on Amazon now.
Don’t forget to enter our competition to win a poster signed by the cast here.