East Ham’s Elvis stars on silver screen

Newham’s very own Elvis - none other than tribute artist Sal Bashir- will be appearing on the silver screen in a film called Punk Strut - the Movie.

The film is a modern day look at former punks, reuniting for a show at The Royal Hotel Bognor Regis. Its comedy, pathos, all

rolled into one award winning film.

It features Kevin Short who reassembles his original band Kevin Short and His Privates and films a 30th Year reunion, in the process exploring the relevance of the punk ethos today.

The film mixes documentary with fiction, music with the musical, and rattles through a series of interviews, gigs, locations, to end in the South coastal sea-side resort of Bognor Regis, where the 30th year reunion celebration is to happen. It is full of eccentric colourful characters, and a pumping original soundtrack as it tells the story of a punk who has still not found his true place in life.

It includes Richard Gibson (Herr Flick from BBC’s ‘Allo ‘Allo), Georgina Baillie (she was at the centre of the Russell Brand/Jonathan Ross/Andrew Sachs scandal) and Sylvester McCoy (former Doctor Who) among the big names.

Sal plays ‘The Pakistani Elvis’ a friend of Kevin Short who gatecrashes a Punk reunion at the hotel in Bognor Regis. The audience (in the film) consist of many different kinds of people but mainly the local Hells Angels who are ready to take Sal apart.

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Needless to say the Hells Angels are blown away by his performance.

Sal told the Recorder: “This is my first foray into the big film business. I have done TV & radio work, but nothing matches acting, being in

a proper cinema movie. Everything is magnified up on the silver screen, every expression, eye movement, speech etc.

“I have never acted before but Richard Gibson helped me so much, advising me to relax and be myself, control my speech.”

The film will open on May 8 in Brighton and is expected to go on general release some time after.

Sal is a self-taught and trained singer who has become known throughout the country as the world’s only Pakistani Elvis tribute artist.

His career as an Elvis tribute artist beagn in 1997 when he was spotted singing in a local bar by a promoter who approched him with an offer. Although Sal initially said no, he was wasked several months later to perform and accepted. His first performance as the King was in Forest Gate in front of delighted audience and he has never looked back.

He ws born in east London in the late 1960s to parents who originated in Pakistan. He said: “Being a Muslim makes my story even more interesting considering my upbringing and parental education into my culture and beliefs.”

He received an award for his outstanding performance at the Edinburgh Film festival in 2008 and he starred in the BBC’s The world’s Greatest Elvis in 2008 in a show hosted by Vernon Kay.

He is also a regular at the Newham Town Show where he is due to appear on July 16 and 17 this year.