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Saamer Usmani, Amy Forsyth Join Amar Wala’s ‘Shook’ Drama (Exclusive)



Succession actor Saamer Usmani and CODA Actress Amy Forsyth has nabbed lead roles in Amar Wala’s debut scripted feature Shookwhich is shooting in Toronto.

The indie from Film Forge (Infinity Pool, Sleeping Giant) and producer Karen Harnisch and Wala’s banner, Scarborough Pictures, centers on a South Asian family in Toronto and the suburb of Scarborough. Wala is directing Shook based on a script he co-wrote with novelist Adnan Khan.

Usmani, who also had a role in Inventing Anna and The Three Body Problem, will play the role of Ashish who, while living in downtown Toronto, meets Claire, played by Forsyth, who is about to move to Montreal at the end of the summer.

Ash is caught between two worlds he must constantly traverse, one that of an aspiring writer in Toronto and that of his family in the immigrant-rich suburb of Scarborough. The ensemble cast includes Bernard White in the role of Vijay, Ash’s father who wants to reconnect with his estranged son, and Pamela Mala Sinha as Nisha, Ash’s mother.

Wala earlier shot the 2019 short film Shook, about a young man, Ashish, who reluctantly agrees to have lunch with his estranged father, only to be told a secret during their meeting that will change their relationship forever. That short starred Ray Ablack (Narcos, Orphan Black) and Sugith Varughese ((Kim’s Convenience).

Shook is part of a new wave of Canadian feature films that focus on immigrant family stories and their experiences often uneasily finding their way in a new country and culture. Wala was born in India and emigrated along with his family to Canada at age 11.

Shook as a short film and now feature is based in part on Wala’s real-life experiences in Toronto after graduating from college, when his parents split up just months before his father was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease.

Wala’s debut feature was The Secret Trial 5, a documentary about the Canadian government’s use of security certificates to detain immigrants without bringing criminal charges or holding a trial. The film debuted at the Hot Docs film festival, where Wala received a jury prize as an emerging filmmaker.

Scarborough Pictures also produces the Witness documentary series and the Next Stop anthology comedy series, both for CBC Gem. The Shook feature has financing from Telefilm Canada and Ontario Creates, and will be released in Canada by Elevation Pictures.

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