South Asian Heritage Month

Reclaiming the history and identity of British South Asians - through film.

South Asian Heritage Month runs from 18th July to 17th August every year. It seeks to raise the profile of British South Asian heritage and history in the UK through education, arts, culture and commemoration, with the goal of helping people to better understand the diversity of present-day Britain and improve social cohesion across the country. Here we present a selection of films that enhance understanding about what it means to be South Asian in the 21st century, as well as looking to the past to see how Britain became the diverse country it is today.

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East Is EastEast Is East

Comedy199997 minsDirector: Damien O'Donnell

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

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The WarriorThe Warrior

Crime200287 minsDirector: Asif Kapadia

Irfan Khan stars in this stately swordplay epic from director Asif Kapadia (Amy, Senna) which earned critical comparisons with Kurosawa.

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Slumdog MillionaireSlumdog Millionaire

Drama2009120 minsDirector: Danny Boyle

Danny Boyle’s crowdpleaser, based around the Indian version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, won the Oscar for best picture.

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Bride & PrejudiceBride & Prejudice

Musical2004107 minsDirector: Gurinder Chadha

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

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Bend it Like BeckhamBend it Like Beckham

Sport2002112 minsDirector: Gurinder Chadha

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

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Brothers in TroubleBrothers in Trouble

Drama1996103 minsDirector: Udayan Prasad

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.

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Documentary201896 minsDirector: Steve Loveridge

Fascinating delve into the career, personality and politics of award-winning musician M.I.A.  

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All in Good TimeAll in Good Time

Comedy201294 minsDirector: Nigel Cole

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

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Bhaji on the BeachBhaji on the Beach

Comedy1994101 minsDirector: Gurinder Chadha

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.

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Shiraz: A Romance of IndiaShiraz: A Romance of India

Historical drama1928106 minsSilentDirector: Franz Osten

This epic silent film, telling the ravishing, romantic story behind the Taj Mahal, has been newly restored with a sumptuous new score from Anoushka Shankar.

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The World UnseenThe World Unseen

Drama200990 minsDirector: Shamim Sarif

Sweeping romantic drama about two Indian women who fall for each other in the hostile environment of apartheid South Africa.

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Fireflies in the AbyssFireflies in the Abyss

Documentary201588 minsDirector: Chandrashekar Reddy

This absorbing documentary follows Suraj a 11-year-old boy who works in the 'rat-hole' mines in the Jaintia Hills of North East India, armed with nothing more than a pickaxe and a head torch. In these hostile pits, every day is a game of death.

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Drama198478 minsDirector: Ahmed Alauddin Jamal

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

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Shakespeare WallahShakespeare Wallah

Romance1965122 minsDirector: James Ivory

When a young British actress from a touring troupe falls in love with an Indian playboy, the star-crossed lovers must overcome cultural differences and the scheming of a fierce rival.

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Circle of GoldCircle of Gold

Documentary198850 minsDirector: Uday Bhattacharya

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

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I Am Not He... SheI Am Not He... She

Drama2015108 minsDirector: B.S. Lingadevaru

Lingadevaru’s unforgettable drama, based on an empowering true story of a young boy who travels to Bangalore to follow his dream of becoming a woman.

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Jalal's StoryJalal's Story

Drama2014109 minsDirector: Abu Shahed Emon

Abu Shahed Emon's entrancing film tackles several of Bangladesh's pressing social issues in the story of an abandoned child, believed to be cursed, who ends up entering a life of crime.

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Around India with a Movie CameraAround India with a Movie Camera

Documentary201873 minsDirector: Sandhya Suri

Archive footage tells the emotionally-resonant story of life across India pre-1947.

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The God KingThe God King

Historical drama197499 minsDirector: Lester James Peries

Epic tale set in 5th century Sri Lanka, following the battle for the throne between Kassapa and his father King Dhatusena.

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A Private EnterpriseA Private Enterprise

Drama197572 minsDirector: Peter K. Smith

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

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Drama200811 minsDirector: Aleem Khan

A young Indian transgender woman takes a life-changing step in this moving short, set in London the day after Princess Diana’s death.

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Drama2012114 minsDirector: Michael Winterbottom

Tragedy befalls a young Indian woman when she falls in love with a rich British man in Michael Winterbottom's sharp Thomas Hardy update.

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Wild WestWild West

Comedy199384 minsDirector: David Attwood

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

Currently unavailable

Viceroy's HouseViceroy's House

Drama2017106 minsDirector: Gurinder Chadha

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.

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My Pure LandMy Pure Land

Drama201798 minsDirector: Sarmad Masud

Britain's 2018 submission for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar was this Pakistan-shot western with a feminist twist, centring on a bitter land dispute between an extended family.

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The Assam GardenThe Assam Garden

Drama198490 minsDirector: Mary McMurray

Deborah Kerr’s final big screen role is a gentle tale of a widow and her friendship with an Indian neighbour.

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Drama2016110 minsDirector: Shefali Bhushan

Exuberant Hindi romance about a composer searching for a golden voice, who unexpectedly falls for a vibrant younger performer.

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