Migrant and Diasporic Cinema in Contemporary Europe

Migrant and Diasporic Cinema in Contemporary Europe


British Asian Cinema

Language: English

The working term ‘British Asian cinema’ usually refers to films focusing on the British-Asian experience or those made by people of South Asian origin (principally from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan), who were born in or an immigrant to the United Kingdom. According to the 2001 UK Census there are 2.33 million British Asians, making up 4% of the population of the United Kingdom.


British Asian Cinema can also refer to films not necessarily produced by a British-Asian or wholly centered on a British-Asian subject. For example, one of the most critically-discussed British Asian films is My Beautiful Launderette (Dir: Stephen Frears, 1985). Although written by a British-Pakistani (Hanif Kureishi), it also has an English director and is centered on the character of Johnny played by the English-born, Daniel Day-Lewis. 

Many early British-Asian films in the 1970s and 1980s were drama-documentaries or social-realist dramas. More recently, and most obviously since Bhaji On The Beach (Dir: Gurinder Chadha, 1993), there has been a growth of more mainstream narrative British-Asian cinema features. It has also arguably become easier, since then, to “speak critically of a distinct South Asian diaspora cinematic practice” (Malik, 2002), rather than as a more general part of Black British cinema.

Example film: My Son the Fanatic


Sarita Malik (2002) ‘Money, Macpherson and Mindset: The Competing Cultural and Commercial Demands on Black and Asian British films in the 1990s’ in Julian Petley and Duncan Petrie (eds) The Journal of Popular British Cinema: New British Cinema

Posted by Sarita Malik on 06 Nov 2006 • Comment on this term

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