Ray Panthaki is an actor, writer and director with the world at his feet - and some major successes already behind him.
The actor, director and writer made his movie debut in 1998's Tube Tales alongside Jude Law, Ray Winstone, Ewan McGregor and Bob Hoskins and swiftly went on to take roles in Ali G Indahouse and 28 Days Later; co- produced and starred in the award-winning Kidulthood; was nominated for Best Actor at the prestigious TMA Awards for his critically-acclaimed role in Gladiator Games. He also went on to star in hit movies Provoked, It's a Wonderful Afterlife, Interview with a Hitman, The Man Inside and set up independent film company, Urban Way Productions, which hit the big time by distributing City Rats, one of the most commercially successful British films that year.
On top of that, Ray appeared in a slew of popular TV shows and won serious plaudits for his role in The Royal Court Theatre's smash hit show, The Westbridge.
And 2013 sees Ray's success catapulting to the next level, with a phenomenal throng of projects including:
* Convenience: Ray’s work behind the camera is gaining as many plaudits as his work in front, and Convenience showcases both in one brilliantly hilarious movie. Ray produces, as well as stars alongside Adeel Akhtar (Four Lions), Vicky McClure (This Is England), Anthony Head (The Inbetweeners) and even Verne Troyer (Austin Powers) in this sideways glance at life working in a convenience store - a concept created by Ray himself.
* Life Sentence: Written and produced by Panthaki, Life Sentence is a touching and, at times, harrowing short film exploring the wave of heartache caused by a fatal stabbing. It’s a subject close to Ray’s heart - he was dating Brooke Kinsella when her brother, Ben was murdered in cold blood at the hands of a gang hell-bent on revenge after a pub fight in Islington. Life Sentence is a film that has been four years in the making since that tragic night in July 2008 - time for the anger, upset and shock to subside enough for Panthaki to approach the subject in the sensitive manner it demands. Celebrated cinematographer Pierre Aim (La Haine) recognised the importance of Ray’s quest to capture these feelings on film and flew over especially to act as Ray’s Director of Photography, ensuring a short film that is as beautiful as it is hard-hitting. And the result is a wonderfully thought-provoking short film that highlights the emotional upheaval knife- crime can have on families - not just of the victims, but of the perpetrators, too.
* Life of Crime: Ray appears opposite Hayley Atwell (The Sweeney, Captain America) in the ambitious urban crime drama for ITV that tracks the career of a policewoman over three decades. The three-part series will tell the personal and professional story of Denise Woods, who becomes obsessed with tracking down the killer of a teenage girl, who is murdered in Brixton in the 1980s. The thriller is written by Declan Croghan, whose credits include Waking the Dead, Taggart and BBC1’s forthcoming Ripper Street. Filming begins in Brixton and Dublin for six weeks from next month.
* The Empress - Panthaki lands a coveted lead role in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s production of Tanika Gupta’s new play, The Empress, at the awe-inspiring Swan Theatre, in Shakespeare’s home of Stratford-upon-Avon. The five-week run will regale visitors with the story of two Indian migrants - Abdul and Rani - who land in East London’s Tilbury docks from India. While Rani battles against a society that still deems her a second class citizen, Abdul (Panthaki) embarks on a thrilling adventure that sees him rub shoulders with an aging Queen Victoria, who is enchanted by his tales of an India she rules, but has never visited.