I was down a wormhole of Google recently as I was looking for a list of British (South) Asian movies. There is a wiki page for this, but as your teacher used to tell you, you need to find a more reliable and accurate source! I did a little cross referencing and found this sage advice to be true.
‘British Asian movies’ can mean multiple things. It could mean the film is produced in collaboration between British and Asian actors or directors, there is one British actor in a Bollywood spectacle, or the movie is about the British Raj. This list encompasses movies only on the British Asian diaspora within the UK so there is no Slumdog Millionaire or colonialism tinged flicks.
Disclaimer #1: ‘Comprehensive’ here means ‘ever-growing’. I am sure I have missed several out, so please let me know if I have so I can add it to the list!
Disclaimer #2: All summaries down below have been pasted from IMDB and shortened/edited where necessary because I am way too lazy to write an individual for each movie.
Feel free to grab some popcorn as you find a movie with characters that are not just a bunch of Karens 😉
An ambitious Indian university graduate has to struggle to live his entrepreneurial dreams against both the British social structure and his own family’s stubborn traditional values.
Sparks fly in Glasgow’s south side when a young Asian man enters into a relationship with a Caucasian woman.
Arifa reaches a crisis in her life when the escalation of her feelings for intriguing but capricious professional ‘gamer’ Riccardo, coincides with the reappearance of her estranged black-market tobacco peddling father.
For Atul Dutt and his young bride Vina married life is proving far from straightforward, when it comes to their ‘first night’. When their hard saved honeymoon is cancelled the next day, the couple is forced to return to the Dutt household and set up home there, with a complete lack of privacy from his parents and childish brother. So with meddling parents, nosy neighbours and a community that thrives on gossip, can this marriage last?
Amar, Akbar & Tony follows the lives and loves of three childhood friends through twists and turns as the characters face sudden and unforeseen changes to their idealistic and trouble-free young lives. Interracial marriage, near fatal accidents and stints in prison will test old friendships and family values. A coming of age comedy drama showing the absurdities of life can also be the most amusing.
Meena, a 12-year-old living in a mining village in the English Midlands in 1972, is the daughter of Indian parents who’ve come to England to give her a better life. Anita is 14, blonde and beautiful – exactly what Meena thinks she wants to be. She becomes part of Anita’s world, but events do not run smoothly. Meena’s growing up – and that brings plenty of changes.
On the anniversary of her father’s death, an Indian princess (Madhur Jaffrey) celebrates his memory in her London apartment by having tea and showing a selection of home movies to her guest, her father’s old tutor Cyril Sahib (James Mason).
The daughter of orthodox Sikh rebels against her parents’ traditionalism and joins a football team. (also the inspiration for many British Asian women and countless memes)
A group of women of Indian descent take a trip together from their home in Birmingham, England to the beach resort of Blackpool. The events of the day lead them to better mutual understanding and solidarity.
In England in 1987, a teenager from an Asian family learns to live his life, understand his family and find his own voice through the music of American rock star Bruce Springsteen.
A cross cultural romance set in London’s East End about a young girl of Indian heritage.
Amir is an illegal skilled Pakistani immigrant who’s smuggled into England in the 1960’s to work in an unskilled job, to send money to his family and perhaps even bring them over with him. He befriends a young student, a wannabe writer, in his boarding house supervised by Hussain Shah. Their existence is punctuated by secret movies, a visiting prostitute, and fear of detection and deportation. The household is shaken up when Shah’s white girlfriend arrives.
A young Bangladeshi woman, Nazneen, arrives in 1980s London, after an arranged marriage to middle aged Chanu. She fears her soul is quietly dying, trapped in her East London apartment. Her sister Hasina, meanwhile, through letters to Nazneen, tells of her carefree life back in Bangladesh. Nazneen struggles to accept her lifestyle, and keeps her head down in spite of life’s blows, but is forced to confront it when hot headed Karim comes knocking at her door.
This is the modern adaptation of Jane Austen’s classic novel, Pride and Prejudice, which features the lives of four unmarried daughters in an Indian family.
Two British-born Muslim siblings are drawn in radically different directions after 9/11.
A gang of young petty criminals end up in an abandoned farm when a deal goes wrong.
Set in Birmingham, it is the story of a girl and her two friends who start a multi-cultural-ethnic band. Against their parents’ wishes they put together spirit and energy to express themselves.
In early 1970s England, a Pakistani father finds the authority he has previously maintained challenged by his increasingly Anglicized children.
A drama centred on a British Asian torn between honouring his family traditions and his love for DJing.
Four incompetent British terrorists set out to train for and commit an act of terror.
‘I’ is an Indian. He travels to London for a family wedding and finds his family live in fear of the terrorism by National Front Skinheads and finds he has to become involved which escalates the situation.
A comedy centred on an Indian mother who takes her obsession with marriage into the world of serial murder.
24 hours before the Tamil protests outside the Houses of Parliament, Arun, returns home from a long absence, to stop his younger brother Ruthi, from committing a crime that could ruin his life. Arun is granted a day by his mysterious employer, Marcus, to talk Ruthi round. But Arun’s friendship with gang leader Karuna, threatens to suck him back into the world he left behind. Can Arun forge a life away from his past misdeeds, save his brother from the same fate, and fulfill his obligations to his family, friends and his Tamil roots.
A trusted driver must deal with his dead boss’ Muslim mistress, her dark past pulling him into a life-and-death showdown with her notorious gangster cousin/ex-husband.
Adam has grown up in a racial prejudiced community. Naseema belongs to a generation of Asian youth who have taken up violence. They want to break free of the small town inhibitions and can’t avoid their mutual attraction, starting a relationship which threatens to bring down their families and themselves.
Renowned Russian piano teacher Irina Sousatzka gets a new student – Bengali piano prodigy Manek. They are both immigrants in the UK and bond quickly. When Manek’s single mother’s business fails, he must make a career decision.
Two families (one white, one Asian) unexpectedly come together on a local night of carnival trickery and festivity.
Ever since Shahzad’s wife died he’s been trying to keep his two kids Salma and Hassan on track. Shahzad wants to make sure Salma is set up with the right guy to settle down with. Unbeknown to him, she’s caught up in a whirlwind romance with charismatic charmer Imi, who is not what her dad is expecting. A hard-hitting drama with a devastating finale, Murdered by My Father is a story about the power and the limits of love in communities where ‘honour’ means everything.
An ambitious Pakistani Briton and his white boyfriend strive for success and hope when they open a glamorous laundromat.
Two teenage brothers must face their own prejudices head on if they are to survive the perils of being British Arabs growing up on the streets of gangland London.
Pakistani taxi-driver Parvez and prostitute Bettina find themselves trapped in the middle when Islamic fundamentalists decide to clean up their local town.
A feisty young woman returns to Glasgow to run her deceased father’s curry house.
It’s the true story of a Punjabi woman named Kiranjit Ahluwalia who leaves India to marry a London-based guy, only to be badly abused. She ends up in prison for murdering her abusive husband.
The film is a story of father and daughter, played by Prosenjit Chatterjee and Indrani Chakraborty, highlighting Bengali-speaking Asians living in the UK who find various means to stay connected with their homeland, especially during adversities.
Sammy and Rosie are an unconventional couple. They live in the midst chaos, surround themselves with intellectual street people and sleep with everybody except each other. Things become interesting when Sammy’s father comes to visit.
Despite living in one of the gay capitals of the world, 28-year-old Sydneysider Poppy Stockell is forced online in her search for love. When she meets 31-year-old Anglo-Indian Sandeep Virdi, she thinks she’s found the one. Unfortunately, Sandeep lives at home in the British Midlands with her conservative Sikh parents and three younger sisters. Oh, and she’s not out to any of them…
A modern reworking of King Lear, where a businessman lies in a coma while 2 of his daughters plan to turn off his life support machine and sell his business. His third daughter has his best interests at heart but is estranged from the family.
Born with a disease that makes his bones brittle, Brit, as he is appropriately named by his mom, will be four feet tall for life. But he doesn’t think small. He has his own spirited way of dealing with the world, and the cast of characters that surrounds him helps ensure that life is never dull: an eccentric mom, a dad with movie star looks, a doting sister, and numerous other mentors, lovers (both male and female), and charlatans who come in and out of the picture.
Shifty, a young crack cocaine dealer in London, sees his life quickly spiral out of control when his best friend returns home. Stalked by a customer desperate to score at all costs, and with his family about to turn their back on him for good, Shifty must out-run and out-smart a rival drug dealer intent on setting him up for a big fall. As his long-time friend Chris confronts the dark past he left behind him, Shifty is forced to face up to the violent future he’s hurtling towards.
Karim’s mother is English and his father is Indian. Therefore Karim has some problems with life in British society which is becoming more and more racist and intolerant; he experiences this especially when he wants to find himself a way of becoming an actor. (Technically a series but it’s a 4-parter when binged together, forms a Bollywood length movie)
An identity crisis comedy centred on Mahmud Nasir, successful business owner, and salt of the earth East End Muslim who discovers that he’s adopted – and Jewish.
Triads, Yardies and Onion Bhajees: Once Upon A Time In Southall is based on the novel The Stone Shiva by Manish Patel. The movie centres on the Holy Smokes crime syndicate and the real-life $6 million Heathrow Airport robbery. It’s a fight to the finish as the Asian Holy Smokes battle the Chinese Triads, Jamaican Yardies and the English Firm to see who rules London!
An immigrant father decides to take his truant son back to the old country.
A young Muslim woman living in Britain campaigns for the release of her immigrant husband from his detainment in a holding centre.
A struggling musician realizes he’s the only person on Earth who can remember The Beatles after waking up in an alternate timeline where they never existed. (And Ed Sheeran makes an appearance! Eek!)