101 damnations: British Pakistanis, British cinema and sociological mimicry

Bolognani, Marta, Hyder, Erum, Iqbal, Humera and Sabri, Zahra (2011) 101 damnations: British Pakistanis, British cinema and sociological mimicry. South Asian Popular Culture, 9 (2). pp. 161-175. ISSN 1474-6689

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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 þ 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.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Global Studies > Geography
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Depositing User: Marta Bolognani
Date Deposited: 02 May 2012 11:38
Last Modified: 30 Nov 2012 17:12
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/38878
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