With such easy access to Netflix and the ability to watch movie after movies or show after show, has meant that lockdown is flying by, but it also means that it's easy to run out of things to watch. Something that I've been doing is reminiscing on my childhood and watching films that I grew up around, films like Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham... and Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. But I wanted to talk about three films that I think are great to watch in this time, whether you are of South Asian heritage or not.
1) East Is East
I know this is going to sound a little bit shocking but I actually watched this movie for first time during the first lockdown, despite knowing about its existence. The film revolves around the Khan family who have seven children (from oldest to youngest); Nazir, Abdul, Tariq, Maneer, Saleem, Meenah (the only daughter) and Sajid. Their parents, George and Ella Khan (his second wife) run a family owned and popular fish and chip shop in Salford. To me, this film is an important watch because it touches on the realities of a forced marriage as well the expectations that some South Asian parents have for their kids - from what they should be studying to the way they should dress as well as career choices. However, I do believe that it has been exaggerated to really show what growing up in a south Asian family can be like, but it's important to remember not all South Asian are made to follow these beliefs, even though it is a great way to understand some experiences we go through growing up.
Now I couldn't write this without mention Gurinder Chadha movies of course, it just wouldn't right and these two are just an absolute classic and I'm sure you already know what films I'm going to mention reading this. These films are so important because touch on many key beliefs and expectations in the south Asian community with of course some hilarious inside jokes for the south Asian community to enjoy.
2) Bend It Like Beckham
I feel like lockdown wouldn't be right without having binged on this a film at least a few times. It's an absolute cult classic, especially for young South Asian women growing up in westernised environments, it was like our first time seeing a South Asian daughter rebel against her familial expectations, it gave us a role model to look up to. Watching Jesminder referred to as Jess throughout the film, really shows what it's like for a South Asian girl to grow in a house hold, where you expected to follow this set plan from the get go - school, then university (where you of course you're expected to study something academic) to the suddenly getting married even though you weren't allowed to date. (rolling my eyes at these expectations/ beliefs) Watching Jess, rebel against all this was just purely inspiring. She really showed what your life can be like if you just keep moving forward with your passion and dreams; and proved to her family, that there was a space for a young brown girl in the international stage of football and sport in general.
3) Bride and Prejudice
This is one film throughout my childhood, teenage years and even now that I would have on repeat from time to time. It just one of those feel-good movies that I think it is perfect for lockdowns. I don't know if it's the vibrant colours or just the amazing sound tracks but it's just a such good movie to watch (also has all the expected cliches of a Bollywood film) when I want my spirits to be lifted a little bit. This film, inspired by Jane Austen's novel Pride and Prejudice (I've actually seen the film adaptation with Kiera Knightly and of course this version is just that a little bit better, it has that touch of spice and colour) but with a south Asian twist and the incredible and iconic Aishwarya Rai playing the ever so slightly rebellious Lalita Bakshi (inspired by Elizabeth Bennet); what I love about this film is that is acknowledges what arranged marriage is like and how forced and arranged marriages are completely different to each other, despite what stereotypes some people believe. I could go on and on about this film but I don't want ruin for any of those who haven't seen it, all I have to say is go and watch it, it's the perfect film to watch to cheer you up this lockdown.
Some other great ones to check out are:
- Bhaji on the Beach
- Mississippi Masala
- Anita and Me
- Brick Lane