This film is part of Free

Asian Arranged Marriages

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

Documentary 1977 23 mins


Janet Street Porter investigates the Asian tradition of arranged marriages through the case of Jan, a young Sikh woman breaking away from her family and their traditional Asian values. In this frank documentary, Jan and Janet get to the root of some common contradictions faced by first and second generation British Asians. The articulate Jan proves an engaging interviewee, smashing sensible Asian girl stereotypes.

Arranged marriages - a source of intergenerational conflict for Asian communities and of perennial fascination for others - were a common theme in TV explorations of Asian issues in the 1970s and 80s. Jan's parents came here in the late 50s from north India. She is a twentysomething solicitor, born and bought up in England. Her parents' views are at odds with her own so she decides to leave home. Jan wants the freedom to wear her own choice of clothes, let her hair down, go to the pub, drink and play darts. What she doesn't want is a marriage arranged for her by her parents. This timeless documentary explores very pertinent questions: what are arranged marriages, how do they factor in a young Asian woman's life and how can she balance a life between two cultures?