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South Asian Britain on Film

Discover a rich history reaching back over a century as we celebrate South Asian communities and culture across Britain.

From local news to feature film, through home movies and TV documentaries, this collection showcases South Asian Britons in front of and behind the camera. The contribution of colonial troops is illuminated through the earliest newsreels, while hardhitting current affairs programmes highlight the struggles faced in the 1960s, 1970s and beyond. Public information films produced for South Asian audiences feature alongside Hindi-language films made in Britain and interviews with prominent Asian-British figures. A bold wave of British Asian filmmaking in the 1990s is represented through early works by the likes of Gurinder Chadha and Asif Kapadia.

triangle triangle
South Asian Britain on Film

RECOMMENDED

View Gandhi in England
Gandhi in England
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Gandhi in England 1931

Mahatma Gandhi's arrival in England for the second India Round Table Conference at St James's Palace

1 mins United Kingdom

View I'm British But...
I'm British But...
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I'm British But... 1989

Britain beats to the sound of Bhangra and Bangla in Gurinder Chadha's debut film.

30 mins United Kingdom Director. Gurinder Chadha

View The Referee
The Referee
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The Referee 1976

Wrestling as a metaphor for race relations in this short aimed at Britain's South-Asian community

4 mins United Kingdom

View The Sheep Thief
The Sheep Thief
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The Sheep Thief 1997

An adolescent criminal finds redemption when he meets and helps a young mother and her family.

23 mins United Kingdom Director. Asif Kapadia

View The Bradford Godfather
The Bradford Godfather
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The Bradford Godfather 1976

Meet Mohamed Fazal Hussain: elder statesman, all-round Mr Fix-it of Bradford's Muslim community and a film mogul in the making...

49 mins United Kingdom Director. John Willis, Paul Dunstan

View Oriental Atmosphere
Oriental Atmosphere
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Oriental Atmosphere 1928

Britain's oldest mosque welcomes a vast crowd of worshippers, visitors, curious onlookers and the odd newsreel camera!

1 mins United Kingdom

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View Shakti
Shakti
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Shakti 1992

An Asian woman engages her inner goddess to create a stunning oasis in a grey tower block.

13 mins United Kingdom Director. Sonali Fernando

View Asian Pub Landlord
Asian Pub Landlord
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Asian Pub Landlord 1968

Mr Dhanjal from Wolverhampton: custodian of one of the most vital positions in any community.

2 mins United Kingdom

View Indian Businessman
Indian Businessman
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Indian Businessman 1975

He arrived in Britain with £3 and went on to become one of the richest business men in the Midlands. How did Amrat Parmar do it?

3 mins United Kingdom

View Tariq Ali
Tariq Ali
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Tariq Ali 1968

The radical activist discusses anti-Vietnam protests, violence and the true nature of international power

28 mins United Kingdom

View Gaumont Graphic No. 373
Gaumont Graphic No. 373
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Gaumont Graphic No. 373 1914

“Our Indian Army Lands in France” - Indian cavalry and infantry march along a street in France.

1 mins United Kingdom

View A Safe Place to Be
A Safe Place to Be
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A Safe Place to Be 1980

Racism in Spitalfields reaches crisis point in the 70s as the National Front attack the local Bangladeshi community

30 mins United Kingdom Director. Simon Heaven

View Pasand Apni Apni
Pasand Apni Apni
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Pasand Apni Apni 1969

Bollywood-on-Thames: East meets West in a tale of two loves in 70s London

108 mins United Kingdom Director. Brij Katyal

View Dilip Hiro
Dilip Hiro
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Dilip Hiro 1968

The British Pakistani journalist talks to Bernard Braden about living in Britain and his thoughts on the concept of integration

30 mins United Kingdom

View Naz
Naz
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Naz 2000

A portrait of campaigner Naz Shah, daughter of convicted murderer Zoora Shah, and her fight to get her mother released

28 mins United Kingdom Director. Tanya Stephan

View A Love Supreme
A Love Supreme
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A Love Supreme 2000

A homage to the director's mother, mistress of the art of making samosas

9 mins United Kingdom Director. Nilesh Patel

View Defending a Way of Life
Defending a Way of Life
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Defending a Way of Life 1980

Melas, music and dance: second generation Bangladeshi youth in London’s Brick Lane celebrate multiculturalism

30 mins United Kingdom Director. Simon Heaven

View The Day That Changed the Face
The Day That Changed the Face
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The Day That Changed the Face 1980

Report from the series Skin on the background of local politics and the aftermath of the 1979 Southall riots following an anti-fascist demonstration.

23 mins United Kingdom Director. Trevor Hampton, Nik Phillips

View For the Aga Khan's Prize
For the Aga Khan's Prize
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For the Aga Khan's Prize 1930

The Maharani of Cooch Behar, Indira Devi, christens the Gypsy Moth aeroplane Miss India

1 mins United Kingdom

View Trev's 21st 1963
Trev's 21st 1963
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Trev's 21st 1963 1963

It's twistin' time! Wander in and celebrate Trev's 21st birthday in this fly-on-the-wall film.

2 mins United Kingdom

View Race Relations Board
Race Relations Board
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Race Relations Board 1969

New law targets discrimination in housing and employment in this eye-opening public information film.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Leamington Spa Race Relations
Leamington Spa Race Relations
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Leamington Spa Race Relations 1971

A 1971 race relations report claimed that Leamington Spa was way ahead in its dealings with issues arising from migrants settling in the town.

3 mins United Kingdom

View See for Yourself!
See for Yourself!
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See for Yourself! 1972

An East End shop steward is sent to Uganda in this groundbreaking experiment in investigative journalism

27 mins United Kingdom

View Insaaf
Insaaf
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Insaaf 1971

An extremely unusual, deeply fascinating public information film - targeted at the South Asian community and filmed partly in Urdu.

43 mins United Kingdom Director. Robert Giles

View Like Me
Like Me
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Like Me 1973

Teenagers from different cultural backgrounds talk about their experiences growing up

17 mins United Kingdom Director. Ken Wrench

View Growing Day by Day
Growing Day by Day
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Growing Day by Day 1981

Public information film about preventing rickets in children, aimed at British Asian communities.

12 mins United Kingdom Director. Graham Bye

View English as a Second Language
English as a Second Language
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English as a Second Language 1973

Innovative teaching techniques for new South Asian pupils learning English in secondary schools

19 mins United Kingdom Director. Alan Murgatroyd

View A Mosque in the Park
A Mosque in the Park
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A Mosque in the Park 1973

An insightful and understated television documentary following the lives of four Muslim families in Brentford, Manchester and Harrow.

50 mins United Kingdom Director. Yavar Abbas

View Mirror, Mirror
Mirror, Mirror
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Mirror, Mirror 1980

This keenly observed short reflects on the duality of a modern Asian woman’s life in 80s Birmingham

25 mins United Kingdom Director. Yugesh Walia

View Asian Girls Festival
Asian Girls Festival
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Asian Girls Festival 1981

From self defence to dance and printing to the latest in fashion design: Leicester's first festival for Asian girls aims to shatter stereotypes.

10 mins United Kingdom

View London Me Bharat
London Me Bharat
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London Me Bharat 1972

Stylishly-shot document of multicultural 1970s London among Southall's Asian community.

19 mins United Kingdom Director. Vinod Pande

View London Me Bharat: India in London
London Me Bharat: India in London
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London Me Bharat: India in London 2017

Filmmaker Vinod Pande reflects on his ground-breaking 1972 debut London Me Bharat, the first Hindi-language film to be produced in Britain.

6 mins United Kingdom Director. Oliver Cheetham

View Indian Bands for Wembley
Indian Bands for Wembley
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Indian Bands for Wembley 1924

Colonel Mackenzie Rogan inspects Indian bands ready for the British Empire Exhibition at Wembley

1 mins United Kingdom

View New Ways
New Ways
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New Ways 1978

South Asian? Just moved to England? This pithy documentary will give you the basics on how to get by in the UK

12 mins United Kingdom

View Gandhi Scenes
Gandhi Scenes
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Gandhi Scenes 1931

Newsreel footage of the great Indian leader.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Skin Deep
Skin Deep
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Skin Deep 2001

A young Pakistani man tries to pass as white and hang out with a group of racist skinheads

13 mins United Kingdom Director. Yousaf Ali Khan

View Asian Arranged Marriages
Asian Arranged Marriages
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Asian Arranged Marriages 1977

Janet Street-Porter investigates traditional arranged marriages in the young Asian community of the 70s

30 mins United Kingdom Director. Bruce Macdonald

View Indian Tales
Indian Tales
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Indian Tales 1994

Indian proverbs and superstitions shape the complex love life of a young British woman.

12 mins United Kingdom Director. Asif Kapadia

View The Waiting Room
The Waiting Room
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The Waiting Room 1996

Mickey realises his ticket is a different colour. Should he swap it?

8 mins United Kingdom

View Uganda Asians
Uganda Asians
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Uganda Asians 1972

How will Britain respond to the plight of thousands of refugees?

2 mins United Kingdom

View Ugandan Asians at Heathfield Camp
Ugandan Asians at Heathfield Camp
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Ugandan Asians at Heathfield Camp 1972

Refugees explain expulsion from Uganda and look at future prospects.

12 mins United Kingdom

View Exodus - Uganda
Exodus - Uganda
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Exodus - Uganda 1972

Asians face expulsion from Amin's Uganda - Jonathan Dimbleby reports.

26 mins United Kingdom Director. Ian Stuttard

View Out of the Darkness
Out of the Darkness
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Out of the Darkness 1972

All-too-topical: a thought-provoking Christian Aid film strongly making the moral case for welcoming refugees to Britain

20 mins United Kingdom Director. Joe Mendoza

View Karma
Karma
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Karma 1933

Lavish British-Indian romance that caused controversy in India with its record-setting screen kiss

68 mins India Director. J.L. Freer-Hunt

View Sikh Temple 1972
Sikh Temple 1972
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Sikh Temple 1972 1972

A coming together of a Sikh community in prayer, and in convivial mood, showing reverence and generosity as they share a meal together.

United Kingdom

View Sikh Temple Part 2
Sikh Temple Part 2
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Sikh Temple Part 2 1972

A coming together of a Sikh community in prayer, and in convivial mood, showing reverence and generosity as they share a meal together.

4 mins United Kingdom

View British News No. 2
British News No. 2
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British News No. 2 1940

News of colonial and home efforts in WWII, including troops of the Royal Indian Army Service Corps

15 mins United Kingdom

View British News No. 53
British News No. 53
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British News No. 53 1941

Indian soldiers in Singapore, while their compatriots are trained in the manufacture of war munitions in Britain

15 mins United Kingdom

View Pakistani Bus Driver
Pakistani Bus Driver
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Pakistani Bus Driver 1974

Bus timetables are sacrosanct to some but to others there are more important things in life - and faith is one of them.

2 mins United Kingdom

View Indian Classical Dance
Indian Classical Dance
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Indian Classical Dance 1958

Indrani Rahman brings Indian classical dance to the Midlands and makes a rare appearance on ITV.

3 mins United Kingdom

View Asian Fashions
Asian Fashions
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Asian Fashions 1976

The sari has been worn by Asian women for millennia and in 1976 it was about to become a staple of wardobes across the UK.

4 mins United Kingdom

View Asian Jewellery
Asian Jewellery
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Asian Jewellery 1978

Hindu and Muslim creations in gold inject bright new styles into Birmingham's jewellery making industry.

5 mins United Kingdom

View Arranged Marriages
Arranged Marriages
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Arranged Marriages 1979

An attempt to close a loophole in the immigration system raises questions about the sustainability of arranged marriages in Western culture.

3 mins United Kingdom

View Asian Cultural Centre opens in Peterborough
Asian Cultural Centre opens in Peterborough
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Asian Cultural Centre opens in Peterborough 1980

Isolation can be a problem for South Asians, especially for women. A new cultural centre in Peterborough is hoping to change that.

2 mins United Kingdom

View Arts Centre
Arts Centre
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Arts Centre 1980

The sight and sounds of Asia take over the Midlands Arts Centre at Edgbaston.

4 mins United Kingdom

View Asian Community Centre
Asian Community Centre
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Asian Community Centre 1979

Will the 'House of Cards' be the sanctuary that the elderly Asian men of Wolverhampton need?

4 mins United Kingdom

View Lord Mayor at Asian "Do" at St. George's Hall
Lord Mayor at Asian "Do" at St. George's Hall
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Lord Mayor at Asian "Do" at St. George's Hall 1972

Quite possibly the first Indian concert to be put on in a theatre in Bradford, with striking classical Indian dancing and musical instruments.

15 mins United Kingdom

View A New Kind of Match
A New Kind of Match
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A New Kind of Match 1967

Current affairs programme about the Pakistani community in Bradford and the discrimination they face

28 mins United Kingdom

View Immigration Control
Immigration Control
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Immigration Control 1978

The UK's immigration laws have prevented Dara Singh from seeing his family for a decade. His is one of many sad stories...

8 mins United Kingdom

View Protest Outside Edgbaston
Protest Outside Edgbaston
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Protest Outside Edgbaston 1971

Do politics and cricket mix? Tense scenes in Edgbaston as the Pakistani flag is burnt by protestors incensed by the on-going civil war in their country.

3 mins United Kingdom

View Fatima's Letter
Fatima's Letter
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Fatima's Letter 1992

A woman remembers her past while travelling on the London Underground

21 mins United Kingdom Director. Alia Syed

View Latifah and Himli's Nomadic Uncle
Latifah and Himli's Nomadic Uncle
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Latifah and Himli's Nomadic Uncle 1992

Alnoor Dewshi's clever, charming and illuminating film about two cousins who discuss ideas of culture and history while wandering through London.

14 mins United Kingdom Director. Alnoor Dewshi

View Surviving Sabu
Surviving Sabu
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Surviving Sabu 1997

A budding gay filmmaker clashes with his conservative Muslim father as they work on a film about iconic Indian star Sabu

15 mins United Kingdom Director. Ian Iqbal Rashid

View Alexandra Park Pageant, 27 June 1970
Alexandra Park Pageant, 27 June 1970
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Alexandra Park Pageant, 27 June 1970 1970

The beginning of a Mancunian tradition - could this be the first Moss Side Carnival?

8 mins United Kingdom

View Exeter Councillors' Sikh Temple Visit
Exeter Councillors' Sikh Temple Visit
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Exeter Councillors' Sikh Temple Visit 1977

Guru blessing: councillors join a religious reading at the Guru Arjan Niwas Sikh Temple on Clifton Street in Exeter

1 mins United Kingdom

View Sikh Games
Sikh Games
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Sikh Games 1979

Strength, speed and agility on show at the Sikh Games held at Hadley Stadium in Smethwick with a special welcome for local weightlifting hero Gian Singh Cheema.

4 mins United Kingdom

View Indian Sweets and Savouries
Indian Sweets and Savouries
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Indian Sweets and Savouries 1982

By 1982 the Indian restaurant was a familiar sight but vegetarian options were still a rarity. Hilary Minster goes in search of the perfect veggie chaat in Leicester.

7 mins United Kingdom

View Indian Sweets
Indian Sweets
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Indian Sweets 1979

A new type of shop appears on the high street: Indian sweets have arrived in Birmingham.

4 mins United Kingdom

View Islam in London
Islam in London
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Islam in London 1926

A historic occasion in Southfields as London's first mosque is officially opened.

1 mins United Kingdom

View Feast of Eid-ul-Fitr
Feast of Eid-ul-Fitr
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Feast of Eid-ul-Fitr 1924

The UK's first purpose-built mosque welcomes a huge crowd of worshippers - and newsreel cameras!

1 mins United Kingdom

View Pakistani March, Bradford April 1979
Pakistani March, Bradford April 1979
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Pakistani March, Bradford April 1979 1979

Passions run high as the Pakistani community in Bradford take to the streets in angry protest against the execution of former Pakistan Prime Minister Ali Bhutto by General Zia.

13 mins United Kingdom

View Home From Home
Home From Home
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Home From Home 1976

Iraqi coffee, Welsh songs, the hokey-cokey: ingredients of a multicultural church social, Newport but Yousaf Ali from Pakistan still has to choose to be “western” or “eastern”.

22 mins Wales

View Living Together
Living Together
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Living Together 1971

Leicester at the dawn of the 1970s. The forefront of a new multicultural Britain.

10 mins United Kingdom

View No Virginity, No Nationality
No Virginity, No Nationality
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No Virginity, No Nationality 1981

Satirical docu-drama based on the shocking fact that virginity tests were carried out by the home office on Asian girls arriving from India and Pakistan between 1971-1979.

17 mins United Kingdom Director. Claudine Boothe

View Divide and Rule - Never!
Divide and Rule - Never!
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Divide and Rule - Never! 1978

Young working class Londoners fight racism with the power of rock and reggae in this anarchic documentary.

41 mins United Kingdom

View Asian Alliance/National Front Demos
Asian Alliance/National Front Demos
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Asian Alliance/National Front Demos 1980

A rare behind the scenes film of the police, and both sides of the conflict, in action at anti-fascist demos in Dewsbury and Halifax, notable for Asian self-organisation.

12 mins United Kingdom

View Anti National Front Demonstrations Bradford
Anti National Front Demonstrations Bradford
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Anti National Front Demonstrations Bradford 1978

One of many “national” marches by the NF in the 1970s through predominantly Asian areas, with the inevitable angry anti-racist opposition.

7 mins United Kingdom

View At the Bottom of the List
At the Bottom of the List
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At the Bottom of the List 1968

World In Action visits Wolverhampton for a hard-hitting report on race and housing.

26 mins United Kingdom

View Tiger Bay and The Rainbow Club - I
Tiger Bay and The Rainbow Club - I
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Tiger Bay and The Rainbow Club - I 1960

Gorgeous colour images of the multicultural Tiger Bay in Cardiff's docks area: a lively, thriving community under threat from slum clearance.

38 mins Wales

View Tiger Bay and The Rainbow Club - II
Tiger Bay and The Rainbow Club - II
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Tiger Bay and The Rainbow Club - II 1960

Cardiff’s Shirley Bassey, seen here as a member of The Rainbow Club, established to promote the performing arts amongst Tiger Bay children, found the crock of gold!

64 mins Wales

View Schools for Moslems
Schools for Moslems
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Schools for Moslems 1980

A visit to Darul Uloom School in South Lancashire, the UK's first Muslim school

30 mins United Kingdom Director. Nigel Miller

View Credo
Credo
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Credo 1978

Blood on the Streets. Bengali youth fight back against racism and the National Front after the death of Altab Ali.

25 mins United Kingdom Director. Bob Bee

View Working to a Pattern
Working to a Pattern
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Working to a Pattern 1980

Rag trade revival or sweatshops? In the back streets of Brick Lane, Bangladeshi machinists sew 70s fashions

30 mins United Kingdom Director. Simon Heaven

View Peterborough Playbus
Peterborough Playbus
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Peterborough Playbus 1976

Peterborough's Playbus offers a fun and welcoming space for ethnic minority families to improve their English language skills.

4 mins United Kingdom

RENTALS

View Wild West
Wild West
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HD

Wild West 1992 15

Defying opposition from his conservative Pakistani family, Zaf Ayub dreams of becoming Southall's greatest gift to country & western.

85 mins United Kingdom Director. David Attwood

View Sikhs
Sikhs
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Sikhs 1966

Follow 'the great adventure of emigration' from Delhi to London.

27 mins United Kingdom Director. James Butler

View Oh for the Wings of a Dove
Oh for the Wings of a Dove
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Oh for the Wings of a Dove 1972

The vibrancy of rural Pakistan is transported to Balsall Heath, Birmingham in this intimate family portrait.

27 mins United Kingdom Director. Nick Gifford

View A Private Enterprise
A Private Enterprise
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A Private Enterprise 1974

The trials and tribulations of Shiv, a South Asian entrepreneur trying to set up a business in industrial Birmingham

78 mins United Kingdom Director. Peter K. Smith

View This Question of Colour
This Question of Colour
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This Question of Colour 1965

Dcumentary about race relations in Britain from a US standpoint, including a report on the 1964 election in Smethwick.

52 mins United Kingdom Director. William Brayne

View Catch Me Daddy
Catch Me Daddy
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HD

Catch Me Daddy 2013 15

A young couple whose relationship has divided a community are forced on the run through the streets and moors of nocturnal Yorkshire.

112 mins United Kingdom Director. Matthew Wolfe, Daniel Wolfe

View Bride & Prejudice
Bride & Prejudice
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Bride & Prejudice 2004 12

Gurinder Chadha’s Bollywood retelling of Austen’s classic romance is an all-round joy, adding colour and song to Austen’s evergreen wit.

122 mins United Kingdom Director. Gurinder Chadha

View Brothers in Trouble
Brothers in Trouble
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HD

Brothers in Trouble 1995 15

Udayan Prasad's perceptive 1995 drama follows Amir (Pavan Malhotra), a Pakistani immigrant living in England and adjusting to his new life - including meeting an Irish girl who moves into his boarding house.

100 mins United Kingdom Director. Udayan Prasad

View East Is East
East Is East
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East Is East 1999 15

East is East is a charming and thoughtful drama from Damien O'Donnell about Zaheed Khan (Om Puri), a patriarch of a Pakistani-British family whose children begin to reject their heritage and embrace UK life.

96 mins United Kingdom Director. Damien O'Donnell

View Bhaji on the Beach
Bhaji on the Beach
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Bhaji on the Beach 1993 15

Gurinder Chadha's charming and critically acclaimed comedy about a group of British Asian women from Birmingham who bond during a day-trip to Blackpool.

101 mins United Kingdom Director. Gurinder Chadha

View Bend it Like Beckham
Bend it Like Beckham
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Bend it Like Beckham 2002 12

Gurinder Chadha’s smash hit about an Asian girl with an undying love for football.

112 mins Germany Director. Gurinder Chadha

View Viceroy's House
Viceroy's House
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Viceroy's House 2016 12

Gurinder Chadha channels David Lean for this sweeping romance set during the last days of the Raj, with Hugh Bonneville and Gillian Anderson as Lord and Lady Mountbatten.

106 mins France Director. Gurinder Chadha

View Majdhar
Majdhar
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Majdhar 1984

Abandoned by her husband through an arranged marriage, a young Pakistani woman decides to make a life in England

82 mins United Kingdom Director. Ahmed Alauddin Jamal

View Circle of Gold
Circle of Gold
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Circle of Gold 1988

Calcutta where myth, religion and folktales co-exist with aspirational life-style adverts

52 mins United Kingdom Director. Uday Bhattacharya

View Sparkbrook
Sparkbrook
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Sparkbrook 1967

This Week reports from Birmingham and finds that slum housing affects all communities including local Irish, Pakistani and West Indian immigrants.

25 mins United Kingdom Director. Vic Hughes

View I Can't Think Straight
I Can't Think Straight
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I Can't Think Straight 2008 12

The story of an affair between a Palestinian woman and her British Indian friend, from the same team behind The World Unseen.

80 mins United Kingdom Director. Shamim Sarif

SUBSCRIPTION

View Welcome to Britain
Welcome to Britain
HD

Welcome to Britain 1976

Ben Lewin’s 1976 film captures a moment in Britain's evergreen immigration debate, focusing on new arrivals at Heathrow as they wrestle with immigration law.

70 mins United Kingdom Director. Ben Lewin

View Brick Lane
Brick Lane

Brick Lane 2007 15

Sarah Gavron’s subtle and intelligent adaptation of Monica Ali’s acclaimed novel charts the experiences of a Bangladeshi woman in London.

102 mins United Kingdom Director. Sarah Gavron

View All in Good Time
All in Good Time
HD

All in Good Time 2011 12

A pair of newlyweds endure a honeymoon staying with the groom's parents in a comedy from East Is East writer Ayub Khan-Din.

93 mins United Kingdom

View Sixth Happiness
Sixth Happiness

Sixth Happiness 1997 12

Funny, acerbic and moving story of a young man's sexual awakening as family life crumbles around him.

90 mins United Kingdom Director. Waris Hussein

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