Back to Bollywood: South Asian Cinema in the East End

Find out about the fascinating history of Bollywood cinema in the East End and its significance to the Asian community in a new exhibition.
Back to Bollywood will be staged at the Brady Arts Centre in Hanbury Street until September 26.
The exhibition will focus on four venues in the borough which were dedicated to showing movies from India, Bangladesh and Pakistan including the Naz on Brick Lane and the Liberty in Mile End. The venues were not just picture houses but important communal hubs.
Mayor of Tower Hamlets, Lutfur Rahman said: “If you remember the picture houses of the 1960s and 1970s, this will be a nice trip down memory lane and for those of you curious to find out about the cinema scene make a date to see the exhibition.”
Cllr Shafiqul Haque: “The interviews with cinema goers offers an extra dimension to the exhibition providing rich anecdotes and detail.”
The exhibition includes original film posters which are records of an era in their own right, photos of the venues as they once were and commissioned portraits of those who have imparted their stories, with accompanying quotes.
Members of the council’s youth arts group interviewed residents who remember watching films and attending anti-racist rallies in East London.
The gathered testimonials will give fresh audiences a new insight into this unique slice of local history exploring Tower Hamlets’ South Asian cinema scene from many perspectives.
These include the architecture and atmosphere of cinema halls, audience composition and demographics, and the significance of music for film-goers which creates a snapshot of life during the 60s and 70s.
There will also be a special screening of Kabhi Ritz Kabhie Palladium about South Asian cinema in Coventry from 1940s -1980s on September 16 at 6pm introduced by lecturer Nirmal Puwar. There will also be a chance to meet volunteers who have worked on the exhibition.
The public are invited to come along and share their experiences and if they have any memorabilia to donate it to the history library, where it will be preserved.

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