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Tikka Masala: Cross-Cultural Romance in Desi Britain

Aug 27 — Sep 4, 2023

In the decades following Partition in 1947, a wave of South Asian people migrated to the United Kingdom on the promise of better work opportunities. Despite the labor shortage experienced by a country still hurting from WWII, available jobs were far more limited than advertised. And, as is often the case between a colonial power and the nations they once forcefully inhabited, relationships between desi and white communities in the UK proved extremely complicated. On one hand, there is a xenophobia from older generations that persists, still visible in anti-immigration policies like Brexit; on the other, desi people have become so integrated into society that Britain’s national dish is chicken tikka masala, a paragon of fusion cuisine. In this program of films within the Infinite Beauty series, we will look at films from the 1980s through the late aughts in which the disruption caused by star-crossed romance illuminates the darker corners of the Desi immigrant experience, whether the divide runs according to race, socioeconomic status, religion, or political beliefs. 

Guest programmed by Farihah Zaman.