It’s 1971 and the Indo-Pakistan war is in full swing. Muslim guerrillas are fighting Indian regular soldiers along the Line-of-Control in Kashmir. Ishmael Kashani (30s) is one of those guerrillas, who ambush an Indian patrol. It’s close and brutal hand-to-hand fighting. Ishmael slashes a throat – blood splatters across his face. Close on him.
When the camera pulls back, it’s the present day and we see the face of Rashid Kashani (nicknamed Kash – 20) with blood splattered across his face. He’s killed a guard-dog that’s attacked his brother Salim (nicknamed Sal – 17). Kash is very protective of Sal, who he’s been looking after all his life. The brothers are robbing a warehouse and they escape after Kash kills the dog.
Next morning, we’re introduced to the Kashani family. Mr Kashani is a mild-mannered and peaceful man, unlike his father and Kash’s grandfather, Ishmael. However, Kash has more respect for his violent grandfather than he does for his pacifist father. Mrs Kashani is an emancipated Muslim woman, living the “western” way in her adopted country. There’s also a younger sister, Yasmin. Kash wants to talk to his father about his grandfather, Ishmael, who’s a bit of an enigma to him – but Mr Kashani doesn’t want to discuss him.
The Kashani brothers try to sell the spoils of their robbery in a street market. The market is controlled by a Sikh gang called The Scythians, whose leader is Baljeet Singh (nicknamed Big Bal – 25). There’s a confrontation between the Scythians and the Kashani brothers. The brothers are saved from a serious beating by Mr Singh, Big Bal’s grandfather. Mr Singh is estranged from his grandson because of a family argument. When the dust settles, he begins to substitute Kash for the grandson he misses and Kash begins to substitute him for the grandfather he never knew.
Over a short period, the bond between Kash and Mr Singh grows. There is a real connection between them. Mr Sing fought in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan war, but on the opposite side to Ishmael Kashani. Kash is fascinated by this and imagines the two men fighting in hand-to-hand combat. After the war, Ishmael became an assassin for hire. Mr Singh came to Britain and worked for the government.
In the meantime, Kash meets with an enigmatic American woman called Sharifa (30). There seems to be a romantic connection there, but the audience isn’t too sure what way it will go.
Kash’s father was a talented musician in Pakistan, but he had to flee the country when Ishmael assassinated a powerful man. His career went up in smoke and he’s now a musical instrument wholesaler, in partnership with Mr Hakim, whose daughter, Mahidan, is a firearms officer with the police and a woman in a man’s world. Kash’s father is trying to arrange a match between his wayward son and Mahidan, as he believes this would settle Kash down and be a good influence on Sal.
Climax of Act 1
There’s a big wedding, with everyone attending. Kash comes face-to-face with Big Bal, who’s not too pleased about the amount of time Kash is spending with his estranged grandfather, Mr Singh. A fight starts and, in the confusion, Mr Singh gets stabbed and dies later in hospital. Kash is blamed for the killing and Big Bal vows to kill him in revenge.
Kash’s relationship with Sharifa deepens and we get some of Sharifa’s backstory. Her mother was an American soldier in Saudi Arabia and her father was an Arab man. Her mother got pregnant and was kicked out of the army. Sharifa lives in Washington DC and teaches at a university there. She’s in Britain on a student visa.
Kash gets fed up with his father trying to fix him up with Mahidan, so he moves out of the family home and in with Sharifa. Sal feels abandoned by his brother, having had his protection all his life. He gets involved with a teenage Bengali gang called The Bangla Boys who are trying to take over the markets from the Scythians. They give Sal a gun.
Kash realises he has to find Mr Singh’s killer, to stop Big Bal from killing him. He gets hold of a photograph from the wedding, showing Mr Singh talking to a young man dressed in traditional Muslim clothes. Nobody knows who the young man is. Kash decides to find out. He goes to the mosque with his father to see if anyone there knows him. To his surprise, he finds Sharifa there, giving a radical speech to a group of young Muslims.
Sharifa begins to indoctrinate Kash, with rhetoric and images of atrocities in the Middle East. Kash begins to fall under her spell.
Before Kash can find the mysterious stranger in the photograph, Big Bal catches up with him and almost kills him. Kash barely escapes with his life and ends up in hospital. When he leaves the hospital, Sharifa is waiting for him. She takes him to a secret Islamist cell – they say they can help him, in return for his “loyalty”. Kash is intrigued by their rhetoric, he’s always been a “rebel without a cause” and these people are offering him one.
While this is going on with Kash, Sal gets involved in a clash between the Scythians and the Bangla Boys and is killed. Kash blames himself for not being there to protect his younger brother. There’s a funeral and Kash begins to realise his life of violence has brought nothing but pain to his family. Mahidan helps him through this and they grow closer. Kash is changing, beginning to see the trail of destruction violence leaves in its wake – his grandfather, his father, then Mr Singh and now Sal.
At this time, Kash sees the man in the photograph at the Islamist cell. He realises it was they who killed Mr Singh. They say, because Mr Singh worked for the British government, he had information they wanted, but he wouldn’t give it to them. He knew too much about them and threatened to go to the authorities, so he had to be killed. Sharifa tries to justify the killing to Kash, but he won’t have it – he leaves the Islamists and also her flat. However, just like Mr Singh, he knows too much about them now and he also has a close connection with Mahidan, a police officer who they fear Kash will talk to.
Climax of Act 3
Kash reconciles with Big Bal, once he can prove who really killed Mr Singh, but he’s not out of the woods yet. The Islamists kidnap his father and lure Kash into a trap. They are about to kill both of them when Mahidan and an Armed Response Team turn up to save them at the secret location. Kash wants to know how Mahidan knew where they were. She says she got a call from Sharifa. While the rescue is taking place, we intercut with Sharifa leaving a hotel room in a modern business suit and getting into a car with American diplomatic plates.
The final scenes are Kash and Mahidan visiting Sal’s grave. Mahidan tells him they tried to trace Sharifa at the university in Washington DC she said she was teaching at – nobody there ever heard of her.
Kash goes alone to Sal’s grave and begins praying. We intercut with an IS convoy somewhere in the Middle East (Syria or Iraq). The IS guerrillas are also chanting a prayer. We close on the convoy and see that Sharifa is among them.
We intercut between Kash and Sharifa – chanting the same prayer.
We know they’ll meet again.