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.

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The Bradford GodfatherThe Bradford Godfather

197649 mins Location: Bradford

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

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Sikh MatronSikh Matron

Magazine and Review show19858 mins Location: Kinver

From the temple to the hospital Kartar Singh is a leading practitioner of Sikhism.

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The RefereeThe Referee

Animation & Artists Moving Image19764 mins

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

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Asian Pub LandlordAsian Pub Landlord

News19682 mins Location: Newbridge

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

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Oriental AtmosphereOriental Atmosphere

Non-Fiction19281 minsSilent Location: Woking

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

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Gandhi in England British Screen News No. 335Gandhi in England British Screen News No. 335

Non-Fiction19312 minsSilent

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

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Drama199214 mins

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

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A Safe Place to BeA Safe Place to Be

Documentary198032 mins Location: Spitalfields

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

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Indian BusinessmanIndian Businessman

News19754 mins Location: Leicester

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?

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Pasand Apni ApniPasand Apni Apni

Comedy1969112 mins Location: London

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

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Pasand Apni Apni (Trailer)Pasand Apni Apni (Trailer)

19693 mins

Short promo for a Brit-Bollywood romance

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The Waiting RoomThe Waiting Room

Drama19969 mins Location: Hackney

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

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Government sponsored film197143 mins

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

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Tariq AliTariq Ali

196828 mins

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

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Dilip HiroDilip Hiro

196830 mins

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

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London Me BharatLondon Me Bharat

Drama197220 mins Location: London

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

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London Me Bharat: India in LondonLondon Me Bharat: India in London

Short documentary20177 mins

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

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

Amateur film19632 minsSilent Location: Redbridge

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

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Defending a Way of LifeDefending a Way of Life

Documentary198032 mins

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

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The Day That Changed the FaceThe Day That Changed the Face

Current affairs198024 mins

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

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Documentary200027 mins Location: Bradford

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

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Race Relations BoardRace Relations Board

Public Information Filler19691 mins

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

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See for Yourself!See for Yourself!

Current affairs197228 mins

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

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Anti National Front Demonstrations BradfordAnti National Front Demonstrations Bradford

Non-Fiction19788 minsSilent Location: Bradford

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

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Leamington Spa Race RelationsLeamington Spa Race Relations

News19714 mins Location: Royal Leamington Spa

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

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Pakistani Bus DriverPakistani Bus Driver

News19742 mins Location: Birmingham

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

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197823 mins

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

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English As a Second Language (First and Second Phase Teaching)English As a Second Language (First and Second Phase Teaching)

Training film/TV programme197319 mins Location: Bolton

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

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Like MeLike Me

Documentary197317 mins

Teenagers from different cultural backgrounds talk about their experiences growing up

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Benares Carpet Weaver in ExeterBenares Carpet Weaver in Exeter

Current affairs19641 minsSilent Location: Exeter

A carpet weaver from Benares demonstrates his weaving ways.

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A Mosque in the ParkA Mosque in the Park

Documentary197354 mins Location: Brentford

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

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Indian Bands for WembleyIndian Bands for Wembley

Non-Fiction19241 minsSilent

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

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For the Aga Khan's PrizeFor the Aga Khan's Prize

Non-Fiction19301 minsSilent

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

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Indian TalesIndian Tales

Student film199412 mins Location: Haringey

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

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Asian Arranged MarriagesAsian Arranged Marriages

Documentary197723 mins

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

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Arranged MarriagesArranged Marriages

News19794 mins Location: West Bromwich

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

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New WaysNew Ways

Documentary197813 mins Location: Southall

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

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Growing Day by DayGrowing Day by Day

Documentary19819 mins

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

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Skin DeepSkin Deep

Drama200115 mins Location: London

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

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The Sheep ThiefThe Sheep Thief

Road movie199725 mins

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

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A New Kind of MatchA New Kind of Match

Current affairs196726 minsSilent Location: Bradford

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

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Indian Sweets and SavouriesIndian Sweets and Savouries

Magazine and Review show19828 mins Location: Leicester

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.

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Ugandan Asians at Houndstone CampUgandan Asians at Houndstone Camp

Current affairs19727 mins Location: Yeovil

Ugandan Asian refugees face up to a sudden wintery future.

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Ugandan Asians at Plasterdown CampUgandan Asians at Plasterdown Camp

Current affairs19724 mins Location: Tavistock

The plight of refugees expelled from Uganda is highlighted.

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Uganda AsiansUganda Asians

Non-Fiction19724 mins

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

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Ugandan Asians at Heathfield CampUgandan Asians at Heathfield Camp

Current affairs197212 mins Location: Honiton

Refugees explain expulsion from Uganda and look at future prospects.

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Exodus - UgandaExodus - Uganda

197226 mins

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

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Out of the DarknessOut of the Darkness

Documentary197222 mins

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

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Sikh Wedding in ExeterSikh Wedding in Exeter

Current affairs19711 minsSilent Location: Exeter

A Sikh couple celebrates blissful union.

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Sikh Temple 1972Sikh Temple 1972

Non-Fiction19720 minsSilent Location: Bradford

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

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Sikh Temple Part 2Sikh Temple Part 2

Non-Fiction19724 minsSilent Location: Bradford

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

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Gaumont Graphic No. 373Gaumont Graphic No. 373

Non-Fiction19141 minsSilent

Indian soldiers arrive at Marseilles in the early months of World War I

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British News No. 2British News No. 2

Non-Fiction194016 mins

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

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British News No. 53British News No. 53

Non-Fiction194115 mins

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

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Indian Classical DanceIndian Classical Dance

News19583 mins

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

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Asian FashionsAsian Fashions

News19764 mins Location: Leicester

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.

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Sri Lankan Kandyan Dance Troop at SidmouthSri Lankan Kandyan Dance Troop at Sidmouth

Current affairs19802 mins Location: Sidmouth

A Sri Lankan dance troop enthrals folk festival goers.

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A Love SupremeA Love Supreme

200110 minsSilent

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

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Asian JewelleryAsian Jewellery

News19786 mins Location: Smethwick

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

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Divide and Rule - Never!Divide and Rule - Never!

Documentary197841 mins

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

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Arts CentreArts Centre

Magazine and Review show19805 mins Location: Edgbaston

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

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Asian Community CentreAsian Community Centre

News19795 mins Location: Wolverhampton

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

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Asian Cultural Centre opens in PeterboroughAsian Cultural Centre opens in Peterborough

News19802 mins Location: Peterborough

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

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Peterborough PlaybusPeterborough Playbus

News19764 mins Location: Peterborough

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

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Indian 11th Republic Day Celebrations at LeicesterIndian 11th Republic Day Celebrations at Leicester

News19591 minsSilent Location: Leicester

Samosas sit alongside sandwiches as India's Republic Day is celebrated in fine style in Leicester.

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

Non-Fiction19729 minsSilent Location: Bradford

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

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Interlink Cricket Club and Indian Cricket Club 1978 BradfordInterlink Cricket Club and Indian Cricket Club 1978 Bradford

Amateur film19783 minsSilent Location: Bradford

Film of the pioneering Interlink Cricket Club in action at Bradford Park Avenue, breaking down barriers between communities in the 1970s.

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Protest Outside EdgbastonProtest Outside Edgbaston

News19713 mins Location: Edgbaston

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.

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Immigration ControlImmigration Control

Current affairs19789 mins Location: West Bromwich

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

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Fatima's LetterFatima's Letter

Animation & Artists Moving Image199220 mins

A woman remembers her past while travelling on the London Underground

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Latifah and Himli's Nomadic UncleLatifah and Himli's Nomadic Uncle

Drama199215 mins Location: Westminster

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

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Surviving SabuSurviving Sabu

Drama199716 mins

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

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

Amateur film19708 minsSilent Location: Moss Side

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

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Exeter Councillors' Sikh Temple VisitExeter Councillors' Sikh Temple Visit

Current affairs19771 minsSilent Location: Exeter

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

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Sikh GamesSikh Games

News19794 mins Location: Smethwick

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.

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Schools for MoslemsSchools for Moslems

Documentary198027 mins Location: Bury

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

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Feast of Eid-ul-Fitr Feast of Eid-ul-Fitr

Non-Fiction19241 minsSilent Location: Woking

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

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Islam in LondonIslam in London

Non-Fiction19261 minsSilent Location: Southfields

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

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Living TogetherLiving Together

Amateur film197111 minsSilent Location: Leicester

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

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Indian SweetsIndian Sweets

News19794 mins Location: Moseley

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

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Home From HomeHome From Home

Documentary197622 mins Location: Newport/Casnewydd

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”.

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

Non-Fiction197913 minsSilent Location: Bradford

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.

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Anti National Front Demonstrations BradfordAnti National Front Demonstrations Bradford

Non-Fiction19788 minsSilent Location: Bradford

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

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Asian Alliance/National Front DemosAsian Alliance/National Front Demos

Non-Fiction198012 minsSilent Location: Halifax

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.

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No Virginity, No NationalityNo Virginity, No Nationality

Drama-documentary198115 mins

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.

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The Indian Review - Grand March past of the Forty Indian RegimentsThe Indian Review - Grand March past of the Forty Indian Regiments

Ceremony19020 minsSilent

Queen Alexandra reviews Indian and other colonial troops in this early film by the Hepworth company

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The Bottom of the ListThe Bottom of the List

Current affairs196827 mins Location: Wolverhampton

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

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Working to a PatternWorking to a Pattern

Documentary198032 mins

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

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Tiger Bay and The Rainbow Club - ITiger Bay and The Rainbow Club - I

Home movie196039 minsSilent Location: Butetown

Tiger Bay in Cardiff's docks area: a successful, multi-cultural community, providing a variety of activities, but which is threatened by 'slum' clearance.

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Tiger Bay and The Rainbow Club - IITiger Bay and The Rainbow Club - II

Home movie196065 minsSilent Location: Butetown

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!

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Moslems in Britain - ManchesterMoslems in Britain - Manchester

Documentary196121 mins Location: Manchester

An appeal to Muslims to come and work in Manchester.

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Moslems in Britain - PlacesMoslems in Britain - Places

Documentary196423 mins Location: Woking

Visit the places important to London's Muslim community in this informative short documentary.

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Moslems in Britain - CardiffMoslems in Britain - Cardiff

Documentary196119 mins Location: Cardiff/Caerdydd

Perky presenter Gamal Kinnay extols the joys of industrial Cardiff, in this recruitment film designed to encourage Arab workers to come to Britain.

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Ugandan Asians in LeicesterUgandan Asians in Leicester

News19728 mins Location: Leicester

Bringing "sweet memories of Uganda" to the East Midlands.

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Moslems in Britain - PeopleMoslems in Britain - People

Documentary196424 mins

A series of interviews about life in the capital with Muslims living and studying in London

More South Asian Britain films in our Rentals collection.