Kings of Mulberry Street

Post production has been completed on the new feature film Kings of Mulberry Street, written and directed by acclaimed director and producer Judy Naidoo.

Set in the fictional town of Sugarhill District in the early 80s, the film was shot on location in Verulam and Tongaat in KwaZulu Natal during the latter half of 2017. The film tells the story of two young Indian boys who must find a way to overcome their differences and unite in order to defeat the bullying local crime lord who’s threatening their families.

“It’s a charming and hilarious adventure, with universal themes that will appeal to the whole family,” says Helen Kuun, MD of Indigenous Film Distribution. “The film also pays tribute to classic 80s Bollywood movies and their heroes.”

In the lead roles are newcomers Aaqil Hoosen (12) as Ticky Chetty, and Shaan Nathoo (9) as Baboo Harold Singh. They were discovered by Durban-based casting director Kajal Bagwandeen of Imagine Worx.

Naidoo describes it as “a story of true greatness” and “an epic tale of Baboo and his best friend Ticky”. “Feisty Ticky is like a tjara artful dodger,” says Naidoo. “He is cheeky and daring with a streetwise swagger and little respect for rules.

Ticky escapes the realities of his 80s Sugarhill District existence by living in a Bollywood dream world where he’s an unbeatable action hero. Rooftops are his kingdom. When chubby, timid Baboo moves into the neighbourhood with his snooty, academic dad, Ticky thinks he’s the biggest loser he’s ever seen, but soon the two boys are drawn together by the shared threat of local bully and crime boss, Raja.

“The film is not only a homage to Indian cinema from the 80s, but it also pays tribute to where I come from,” Naidoo adds. “I wanted to showcase a world that has not been featured in South African cinema before, and communities that have not been represented on the big screen. Locations in Verulam and Tongaat make up the fictional town of Sugarhill District. I have used the best and most cinematic locations from both these two little towns to create the vibrant world of the story.”

Naidoo is a multi-award-winning filmmaker who had great success on the local and international film festival circuit when her debut feature ‘Hatchet Hour’ (2016) scooped several prestigious awards, including Best Director and Best Picture at the New Hope Film Festival in Pennsylvania, as well as the Best Foreign Film Award at the LA Femme International Film Festival. The film was also nominated for a Golden Horn Award for Best Achievement in Cinematography.

Kings of Mulberry Street will open at cinemas in June 2019 and is distributed in South Africa by Indigenous film Distribution.