GRowing up smith

When an Indian family moves to America in 1979 with the hope of living the American Dream, their 10-year-old son, Smith, falls head-over-heels for the girl next door. With an American Dream of his own, Smith strives to become a “good ol’ boy,” propelling him and his family further away from their traditional ideals than ever before.


GROWING UP SMITH is a heartfelt coming-of-age comedy about an irrepressibly likeable 10-year-old boy from India who may possibly lose it all—including the love of his life—when his obsession for living the American Dream unexpectedly takes a wrong turn.


Roni Aurati makes his feature film debut in GROWING UP SMITH as the irrepressible 10-year-old Smith Bhatnagar. The American-made independent film stars Jason Lee as Butch Brunner, a gentle-spirited automotive mechanic who becomes Smith’s role model and childhood hero; Anjul Nigam as Bhaaskar Bhatnagar, the boy’s stern but soft-hearted father; Brighton Sharbino as Amy Brunner, the girl next door who captures Smith’s heart; and Hilarie Burton as Nancy Brunner, Butch’s wife, Amy’s mother and the classic all-American 1970s suburban wife.


Producer Frank Lotito makes his theatrical directorial debut with GROWING UP SMITH, which was written by Anjul Nigam, Paul Quinn and Gregory Scott Houghton; and produced by Nigam, Lotito and Steve Straka. The film is a Good Deed Entertainment presentation of a Brittany House Pictures production in association with Emedia Films and Quixotic Road.

Introducing RONI AKURATI The young star of “GROWING UP SMITH”

GROWING UP SMITH is the feature film debut for Roni Akurati, a young Indian-American actor who is set to take Hollywood by storm. Having appeared in series like PALO ALTO and Nickelodeon’s HENRY DANGER in the past, Roni has brought his bright spirit and lovable personality to his starring portrayal of Smith Bhatnagar, a young boy who wants to fit in but can’t help but stand out.


Frank Lotito / Director / Producer

With a number of Australian films and TV series under his belt, Italian-Australian actor, writer, director and producer Frank Lotito now makes his theatrical directorial debut with GROWING UP SMITH. Raised by Italian immigrant parents in Australia, Lotito quickly became invested in telling Smith’s relatable story. "When I first read the script for GROWING UP SMITH, I couldn’t put it down… Although my background is not Indian, I could relate to the trials and tribulations of growing up in the 1970s as a boy from an immigrant family.” Lotito continues, explaining the magic of Smith’s story that he wanted to help bring to life: “...Smith shows us all how wonderful it is to be a boy, to experience first love, friendship and most importantly, how to appreciate each other’s differences. It’s everyone’s story."

anjul nigam / Producer / Writer / "Bhaaskar Bhatnagar"

Anjul Nigam was born in India and immigrated to the U.S. with his parents as a small child. Now one of Hollywood’s busiest South Asian personalities, Nigam has had leading roles in over a dozen motion pictures, recurring roles in several landmark TV series, and guest-starring parts on more than 50 primetime series. Among them have been Focus Features’ BAD WORDS for director and star Jason Bateman; 20th Century Fox’s THE FIRST $20 MILLION IS ALWAYS THE HARDEST, helmed by Mick Jackson; HBO’s TRUE DETECTIVE, opposite Colin Farrell, Rachel McAdams and Taylor Kitsch; and the role of Dr. Raj for three seasons on GREY’S ANATOMY. Nigam has also developed a cult following for his more than 30 appearances to date on ABC’s late-night talk show, JIMMY KIMMEL LIVE! in a recurring role as the “supervisor” of the show’s "The Indian Call Center" sketches centered around a fictional outsourcing company that periodically provides Kimmel with jokes. In addition to playing Bhaaskar Bhatnagar in GROWING UP SMITH, Nigam produced the film through his company, Brittany House Pictures, and co-wrote the film’s screenplay, inspired by the actual experiences of immigrants he grew up with or knew of.



JASON LEE / “Butch Brunner”

Jason Lee is an actor and producer most well-known for his affable portrayal of Earl Hickey in the hit NBC comedy series, MY NAME IS EARL. After the series drew to a close, Lee starred in MEMPHIS BEAT and appeared in RAISING HOPE, among other series. In film, Lee played David Seville in the successful ALVIN AND THE CHIPMUNKS film series and has appeared in such films as DOGMA, ALMOST FAMOUS, and VANILLA SKY. Lee also lent his voice to successful animated films like THE INCREDIBLES and MONSTER HOUSE. In GROWING UP SMITH, Lee brings the type of rough-and-tumble lovability he garnered in MY NAME IS EARL to the big screen as Butch Brunner, an unexpected role model for young Smith.

Brighton Sharbino / "AMY brunner"

Brighton Sharbino is a young actress who is quickly making a name for herself. In television, Sharbino most recently portrayed Lizzie Samuels in the hit AMC series, THE WALKING DEAD, while in film, she starred alongside Jennifer Garner in Sony Pictures's new release, MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN. Now, in GROWING UP SMITH, Sharbino plays Amy Brunner, a fun-loving young girl struggling to hold her family together while staying close to her new best friend, Smith.


HILARIE BURTON / "Nancy brunner"

Hilarie Burton is an actress known for her portrayal of Peyton Scott in the successful WB series, ONE TREE HILL. Having later appeared in series like GREY’S ANATOMY, HOSTAGES, and EXTANT, Burton also took to the big screen, appearing in films like Fox’s THE SECRET LIFE OF BEES. In GROWING UP SMITH, Burton portrays Nancy Brunner, a young American mother in a lively yet struggling marriage.


Poorna Jagannathan / “Nalini Bhatnagar”

Poorna Jagannathan is an American actress who most recently starred in the hit HBO crime drama mini-series, THE NIGHT OF, portraying Safar Khan. Prior to that, Jagannathan appeared in many popular series including RIZZOLI & ISLES, NCIS: LOS ANGELES, and HOUSE OF CARDS. In film, Jagannathan is known for her role in the Bollywood film, DELHI BELLY, and has also appeared in films like THANKS FOR SHARING and PEACE, LOVE, & MISUNDERSTANDING. Now, Jagannathan brings her extensive experience to GROWING UP SMITH, portraying young Smith’s endearing and culture-shocked mother, an Indian transplant living in the foreign world that is the United States in the 1970s.

Shoba Narayan / "Asha Bhatnagar"

Shoba Narayan is an actress based in New York City who, in addition to appearing in GOSSIP GIRL, HALAL IN THE FAMILY, and QUANTICO on television, also made appearances in MISTRESS AMERICA and PRICE FOR FREEDOM in film. Now, in GROWING UP SMITH, Narayan plays Smith’s older sister, Asha, a typical American teenage girl who has just about mastered the art of keeping secrets from her strict parents.

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