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Majdhar

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Majdhar

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

Drama 1984 78 mins

Director: Ahmed Alauddin Jamal

Overview

Cultural identity, women’s independence and the pressure to conform to British norms are the subjects of this bold and acute feature, which explores both British-Asian experience and the plight of recent immigrants. Rita Wolf (My Beautiful Laundrette), plays Majdhar, a Pakistani woman who transforms herself in London after her husband leaves her for another woman. While Majdhar feels her way towards confident self-determination, husband Afzal is torn between his heritage and his Western aspirations.

Majdhar was the first feature of Indian-born director Ahmed Jamal, who went on to make numerous television documentaries on Asian issues and the black comic feature Mad Dogs (2001). The film was produced by the Asian film collective Retake Film and Video, with support from the Greater London Council and Channel 4. Like the more famous My Beautiful Laundrette (released the following year) it benefited from the new space for previously marginalised voices created by the fledgling Channel 4. It was first shown at the London Film Festival in 1984 and screened on Channel 4 in 1985.