My Beautiful Laundrette (1985) depicts an Asian community that defies pious stereotypes, a younger generation that asserts a non-conformist sexuality defiantly in the face of prejudice from white racists and conservative Asians. Path breaking for its time, it offered a timely critique of the race, class and gender upheavals under Thatcherism whilst also anticipating the demise of progressive secular identities.
English and Urdu with English subtitles
In association with Southall Black Sisters (SBS)
The rise of religious fundamentalism in the 1980s, partly as the result of the failure of anti-racist politics in the UK, represented a serious setback to the nascent growth of women’s freedoms in the Asian community. My Beautiful Laundrette and Brick Lane touch on the fault lines within communities and question explicitly the notion of community homogeneity thereby revealing the fallacy of multiculturalism and religious identity politics, issues that crop up time and again in SBS’s work.
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