Rameet Rauli and Viraj Juneja on Acting & Little English

We spoke to actors Rameet Rauli and Viraj Juneja to discuss their roles in Little English, a rom-com based on Pravesh Kumar’s 2007 play.

Rameet Rauli and Viraj Juneja on Acting & Little English

"We’re the first British rom-com with two South Asian leads"

Little English is a fantastic new project from director Pravesh Kumar MBE.

The rom-com is based on Kumar’s 2007 hit play There’s Something About Simmy and features an original title track from the legendary frontman of Bhangra band DCS, Shin.

Showing in theatres across the UK, Little English stars an all-British Asian cast and marks the debut of romantic leads, Rameet Rauli and Viraj Juneja.

Set in Slough, London, Simmy faces some wedding woes when her husband flees on their first night as a married couple.

Only speaking basic English, Simmy’s nutty in-laws keep her locked up in the house and she’s unable to leave.

However, she finds comfort and an unlikely friend in her brother-in-law Harry and a secret relationship blossoms between the two.

Facing the potential backlash of her new family and pain from her husband’s runner, will the bride finally follow her heart?

Little English is a fun romp through South Asian taboos, set against the romantic backdrop of suburban Slough which is known for its booming Punjabi community.

DESIblitz spoke exclusively with both leads, Rameet and Viraj to get their thoughts on the project, their roles, and their preparation.

How did your journey into acting begin?

Rameet Rauli and Viraj Juneja on Acting & Little English

Rameet: It probably started when I was at school, I wanted to be in every school play.

I loved dancing and slowly caught the acting bug.

I auditioned for drama school and ended up gaining a place at the prestigious acting school of Andrew Lloyd Webber (arts educational schools London).

But the training never stops it’s the constant learning which made me fall in love with the craft. I still go to acting class every week.

Viraj: My journey into acting started by participating in school plays.

I was always quite vocal and confident, which my teachers recognised and, luckily, they encouraged me to play the lead role in my Year 6 school play, ‘Bully’.

The feeling of being on stage was like no other and it definitely inspired me to do more.

Plus, I loved having people clap for me at the end haha.

Have any actors inspired your own style?

Rameet: Ohhh I have so many actors who inspire me. I’d need to give you a list.

But I specifically remember reading Anthony Shers’ The Year Of The King.

It was the book he wrote when he was preparing for his role as Richard III and I couldn’t put it down, I was so engrossed.

He spoke so passionately about how he prepared for that role and how he took inspiration from absolutely everything around him.

“From the movements of a spider he saw on his way to work to the movement of trees in the wind.”

He used all this and things he observed around him to help him find his own Richard III, he really inspired me.

I realised reading his book that you had to put all your being into this craft. No shortcuts!

Viraj: Everyone I’ve ever trained with.

I’ve been so lucky to train with incredible actors over the years and I can honestly say I’ve taken something from each of them. Watching is learning too.

Did Bollywood impact the way you saw acting?

Rameet Rauli and Viraj Juneja on Acting & Little English

Rameet: Indian cinema has had an impact on me, yes! Absolutely!

I remember taking all my mum’s chunnis and dancing for hours in front of the mirror to my favourite songs.

I loved how they connected me to my culture.

Viraj: It did without a doubt. The music, the songs, the dancing.

They aren’t just actors, they’re all round performers and Bollywood has definitely inspired my ambition to star in a musical one day.

Also, indirectly too, seeing how Bollywood brought people together, especially South Asians, all sharing roti and snacks in the cinema whilst getting lost in a film.

Can you tell us about Little English and more about your role?

Rameet: Little English is a romantic comedy about a dysfunctional British Asian family.

I play the role of Simmy who is a new bride from India. She’s a bit of a fish out of water in a new country and speaks little English.

Her new groom does a runner on their wedding night. She arrives as a young girl and learns to slowly stand on her own two feet and make her own decisions.

Viraj: It’s a film with a massive heart. There’s so much love in the story, not just between people but also for life.

“That’s definitely a deeper meaning which I didn’t recognise until I saw it.”

My character is Haripal, or Harry, who’s lost his way, he’s been abandoned in the world and struggles to connect to his authentic truth.

He’s labelled as a ‘bad egg’ but there’s so much good in him.

What attracted you most to the film?

Rameet Rauli and Viraj Juneja on Acting & Little English

Rameet: I’ve been following Rifco and Pravesh Kumar’s work for ages and I was super excited to see that he was working on his first feature.

I initially auditioned for the part of Sweetie. But was asked to audition for Simmy.

It was so refreshing to read a script with two British South Asians as the lead, which is very rare.

I loved that Simmy was no damsel in distress, she didn’t need any hero to rescue her. She was her own hero.

As I read on I loved all the characters, I started relating to them and seeing some of my family members within these characters. P.S. I always wanted to be in a rom-com!

Viraj: I needed to work haha. The audition came through and some of the sides that I read for were so beautiful.

It’s clear there was a real delicacy to the script but also a lot of room to have fun and having both sides really appealed to me.

I’d always wanted to be in a rom-com/feel-good film and I’m grateful I got the chance.

How did you prepare for your role?

Rameet: I wanted to make Simmy as authentic as possible.

Simmy is from India and speaks very little English, however, I’m from the UK so making her language convincing was my challenge.

There were a lot of Punjabi lessons! I tried to speak Punjabi off-set too to really get into Simmy’s bones. I practised and practised.

“We also looked at her physicality, the way she would walk, and her mannerisms.”

I did a lot of grounding exercises because Simmy was more still than me.

Viraj: I remember staying off my phone for the best part of two weeks.

I deleted all social media (which I think is healthy for short periods in general) and also didn’t hug my mum for a while because Harry feels really alone.

He doesn’t have a good relationship with his mum and I wanted to get a sense of what that felt like.

Did you have any challenges during filming?

Rameet Rauli and Viraj Juneja on Acting & Little English

Rameet: Filming during Covid was a challenge and we were filming in a confined space too.

The production team was amazing, we all tested regularly and were lucky enough to get through the shoot without an outbreak.

Viraj: I wanted to lose body fat and look quite toned for the topless scenes.

My mate, Aryman, guided me through his tough phase.

I was doing a 45min cardio walk, weights workout, and drinking seven litres of water per day for a whole week. Killer!

How does Little English differ from other British Asian films?

Rameet: Honestly, I wouldn’t want to compare. We are all in our own lanes.

What we really should be asking is why aren’t there MORE British Asian films?!

We have so many stories to tell and there’s enough space for us all. I hope and pray we have more and more British Asian films.

Viraj: We’re the first British rom-com with two South Asian leads. It’s groundbreaking.

“There is no white saviour to come in and show us the errors of our ways.”

The writing isn’t stereotypical or someone trying to figure out ‘how South Asians would behave’.

This film is authentic to the core and our audiences so far really appreciate it. We are finally reflected so honestly on screen.

Are British Asian stories still struggling to be told?

Rameet Rauli and Viraj Juneja on Acting & Little English

Rameet: The struggle in making our movie is proof in itself that we are struggling to tell our stories.

We were told this movie is a niche and there is no audience for our movie.

But our little film has continued to grow, break barriers and finally get a cinema release.

The only way we can make a change is by supporting movies like ours by going to the cinema and watching them.

So we can shout together and prove that there is an audience for this kind of cinema because our voice matters and our stories matter!

Viraj: I think so. We’re the first with two South Asian leads but I hope not the last.

I’m really excited to watch Polite Society when it comes out because that looks like a whole lot of fun set in a culturally traditional setting without having to stick to old narratives.

We, the audience, tell those in power what we want to see by going out and buying tickets.

Watch a trailer for Little English here:


Rameet and Viraj explain the work, research and dedication that has gone into Little English.

There’s no doubt the passion they had for their roles but also the motivation to make these their own to tell the story in the most organic way.

What’s also interesting is how relevant the story is to British Asian culture without being too stereotypical in its dialogue.

There’s no doubt viewers will feel close to the plot without feeling like the show is a cliche.

With music from acclaimed composer and musician Niraj Chag, audiences will feel every emotion viewing this spectacle.

Little English will be shown at selected venues so grab your tickets here.

Balraj is a spirited Creative Writing MA graduate. He loves open discussions and his passions are fitness, music, fashion, and poetry. One of his favourite quotes is “One day or day one. You decide.”

Images courtesy of Colour PR.

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