The older members of the Thakrar family grew up in Uganda where the family lived, along with thousands of other people of Asian origin. It was a good life, they had their own family business and life was and easy and the climate warm. But in 1972, the president of Uganda, Idi Amin, expelled the Ugandan Asians from the country and gave them just 90 days to leave the country, leaving behind their homes and livelihoods.
In all, ten members of the Thakrar family came to the UK and, despite that fact that Leicester City Council posted an advert in the Uganda Argus urging Asians to NOT come to Leicester, they did in fact move to the city after a short spell in the camps that were set up to cater to the refugees. Members of that first generation sing about their lives in Uganda and the shock of their expulsion and journey to the UK.
At first there were about fifteen of them all crowded into the one terraced house. The younger ones went to school while the older members of the family took whatever work they could, sometimes taking more than one job, working hard and handing over their pay packets to their father, the head of the family. Eventually, they had enough money to buy their first house, and they set up family businesses.
They continued to grow and to prosper and soon a second generation grew up – three sisters from that generation sing about how they feel they have the best of both worlds, of their Indian roots and the British society that they grew up in. We see them dance in saris and jewels, and then stroll down the street in leather jackets and jeans; they joke about being bad cooks and how their freezers are full of curries made by their mum.
The film starts however, with the third generation – Rianna is a modern young woman who doesn’t believe that a woman needs to get married to a man and she is planning on becoming a forensic pathologist partly so that she can support herself if she decides not to get married. But she is also very aware of her heritage and thinks that it’s important to preserve the family traditions that have been around for hundreds if not thousands of years. She acknowledges the debt she owes to her mum in particular, and sings ‘I know I come from gold, a line of women strong and bright and bold’.
The finale of the film has the assembled Thakrar family (now numbering over 70) singing a tribute to the city they chose as home – Leicester – now a majority Asian city, where, they say ‘No-one is a foreigner, where all colours live in harmony’.
A Century Films Production for BBC Four
1x 60 minutesComposerNainita DesaiLyricistShruti ChauhanChoreographerKesha RaithataDirector of Photography Nicola Daley2nd Unit PhotographyConor Maloney HillEditorStuart BriggsExecutive ProducerKatie BailiffProducerUzma HussainDirectorBrian Hill
"Whoever heard of a modern family history being told through song and dance? Remarkably, it works a treat as we enjoy the story of the Thakrars"The Guardian
"A highlight of the BBC British Asain Summer season is this beguiling history, told through song and dance..."The Daily Telegraph
"... joyful production, which delivers an optimistic take on multicultural Britain..."The Times