101 damnations: British Pakistanis, British cinema and sociological mimicry

M Bolognani, E. Haider, H. Iqbal, Z. Sabri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The recent limelight, endured more than enjoyed, by the British Pakistani diaspora seems to have a peculiar manifestation in British cinema. British Pakistani actors, script-writers or simply common citizens employed ad-hoc have been involved in a number of relatively successful films, thus creating a conspicuous source of information on the lives in the Diaspora and engaged the audience beyond an artistic appraisal whereby issues such as reliability, accuracy and representation become prominent. This paper is not a cultural studies’ output, but a sociological analysis of the themes and the production of five films: East is East (1999), Ae fond kiss (2004), Yasmin (2004), Love+Hate (2005) and Mischief Night (2006). The paper argues that these films have assumed a hybrid nature both as entertainment features and as popular sociology, and have led to a public acknowledgement of British Pakistanis mainly in problematic terms due to their core idea of normalcy rooted in whiteness. With the exception of Yasmin and Mischief Night, in these films British Pakistanis struggle to free themselves from a pathologizing public gaze disguised as sociological mimicry and their representation is mutilated by partial representations of both the first generation’s biographies and Islam. The sociological and didactic scope, rejected only by Mischief Night, furthermore, raises important questions on the relationship between cinema, didactic purposes towards viewership, aesthetics and poetics. Keywords: British Pakistanis, sociology and cinema, Islam and cinema, mimicry, whiteness, BrAsian identity
Translated title of the contribution101 damnations: British Pakistanis, British cinema and sociological mimicry
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161 - 176
Number of pages16
JournalSouth Asian Popular Culture
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2011

Bibliographical note

Publisher: Routledge (Taylor Francis Group)

Structured keywords

  • SPAIS Centre for the Study of Ethnicity and Citizenship


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