In honour of our first birthday last week, we’re going to switch it up and take a minute to look back and highlight some must watch movies/TV shows that feature South Asians & South Asian Women as more complex three-dimensional characters.
Although we still have a long way to go, representation in media for South Asians, and South Asian women in particular, have come a long way so let’s take a minute to celebrate that!
I know we have featured ‘Churails’ on Pardesi before, but I can’t stop singing its praises. For those of you who haven’t heard of it here is a quick summary: Sara, a lawyer turned housewife opens a private investigator business under the guise of a Burqa shop with the help of her best friends after finding out about her husband’s infidelity. Together, the group of 4 unlikely friends find themselves caught up in much bigger trouble than they ever expected. There’s action, drama, crime and more.. as well as some bad ass Pakistani Women.
If you’re looking for a binge-worthy crime drama this weekend this is definitely worth the watch!
2. Mogul Mowgli
For our more Indie film fans, Riz Ahmed’s 2020 ‘Mogul Mowgli’ might be just what you’re itching to watch. The film follows the story of Zed, a British Pakistani rapper on the verge of his big break in the music industry. However, while on a quick trip to visit his parents before his big tour, he is struck by a mysterious autoimmune disease which force him to revaluate his relationship not only with his family, but his culture and religion.
Not only is the movie entirely written and directed by South Asians, the soundtrack features songs from Riz Ahmed’s own album ‘The Long Goodbye’ which describe the strange feeling of disconnect that many of us feel as part of the South Asian Diaspora.
3. Ackley Bridge
Now, our UK friends may already know this one but, if you’re looking for a fun comedy ‘Ackley Bridge’ might be it for you. The British comedy series follows the newly merged lives of a largely segregated British and Asian community due to budget cuts. Not only is it funny, but it takes time to go into hard hitting topics like racism, poverty, bullying, sexuality and violence – all topics that strikingly reflect the melting pot of cultures and communities today in modern Britain. And of course, we can’t forget the iconic scene of Missy starting a chorus ‘Suraj Hua Maddham’ from K3G in the cafeteria.
4. Mississippi Masala
Another old Pardesi feature, but ‘Mississippi Masala’ is a fantastic movie for all you romantics at heart out there. If we’re talking positive representation for POC’s – this movie was ahead of its time. One of Mira Nair’s early films featuring Sarita Choudhury and Denzel Washington, the movie navigates not only their personal love story, but the struggle of being an interracial relationship against the background of the expulsion of Indians from Uganda by Idi Amin.
5. Ginny and Georgia
Ok wait.. hear me out! Yes, ‘Ginny and Georgia’ isn’t show necessarily centred around South Asians but, when have we as a community ever seen not one but TWO South Asians portrayed on screen as romantic interests? If you’re looking for a binge-able series to watch (with South Asian characters only put there to be attractive) than you need to be seeing this show!
For a little more context here are Raymond and Rebecca Ablack, real life brother and sister of Indo-Guyanese descent that play Joe and Padma on the show. After years of constantly being the comic relief, it’s such a breath of fresh air to see South Asians as romantic interests instead.
Most of these shows are available to watch on streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime so grab some popcorn and snacks and get to bingeing!