UK 2023, 20 mins
Director: Sanvir Singh

+ intro and Q&A with Dishoom co-founder Shamil Thakrar, director Sanvir Singh, history teacher Shalina Patel and film producer Ramneet Baidwan, moderated by Ashvin Devasundaram (Senior Lecturer, World Cinema, Queen Mary University).

The untold story of Indian independence is seen through the décor of the Dishoom restaurant in Kings Cross, formerly a railway transit shed built in 1850. Dishoom co-founder Shamil Thakrar and history teacher Shalina Patel wander through the space after hours, discussing key figures and events, while the film illustrates this narration with a mixture of live action and animation.


Host: Dr Ashvin Immanuel Devasundaram is Senior Lecturer in World Cinema at Queen Mary University of London. He is author of India’s New Independent Cinema: Rise of the Hybrid (Routledge, 2016) and Indian Cinema Beyond Bollywood: The New Independent Cinema Revolution (Routledge, 2018) – the world’s first book and edited anthology on new Indian Indie films. Ashvin is Associate Director of the UK Asian Film Festival – London and has directed the UK Heritage Lottery-funded documentary Movies, Memories, Magic (2018). He was on the advisory panel for BFI India on Film as part of the 2017 UK-India Year of Culture. His latest book Indian Indies: A Guide to New Independent Indian Cinema (with a foreword by Shabana Azmi) was published by Routledge in 2022.

Dialogues of Diaspora is a collaboration between London based writer/director Sanvir Singh and LA based producer Ramneet Baidwan. The multidisciplinary creatives produce immersive films, podcasts and prints that hope to push the narrative and better represent the South Asian diaspora for a global audience.

Shalina Patel has been a secondary school History teacher in London for over 13 years. She is Head of Teaching and Learning and in 2018 won the Silver Pearson Teaching Award for Outstanding Teacher in a Secondary School. She teaches a truly diverse curriculum and also trains schools on how to ensure the curriculum is as inclusive as possible. She is also a regular commentator on education in the media and has been featured in The Guardian and The Times. She also runs the popular Instagram account @thehistorycorridor and is regularly featured across the BBC, including the popular podcast ‘Teach Me a Lesson’ and Woman’s Hour.

Shamil Thakrar co-founded Dishoom in 2010. Dishoom now has six sites in London, as well as one in Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham, and employs over 1700 people. Before 2010, he had, amongst other things, been a management consultant for 5 years and worked in the food industry for 8 years. Shamil and the Dishoom team care enormously about creating beautiful and democratic shared spaces which pay homage to the old Irani Cafes of Bombay. They also care deeply about creating a company which is an awesome place to work.

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Programme notes and credits compiled by the BFI Documentation Unit
Notes may be edited or abridged
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