Cinema: Rue Britannia My Beautiful Laundrette

Directed by Stephen Frears Screenplay by Hanif Kureishi

Britain's love affair with the Indian subcontinent, in books, films and mini- series, is a quaint disease, a melancholy for everything exotic the empire has owned and lost. To a romantic imperialist brooding over his sherry, the decorous Indians, with their subversive good manners, impressive intellectual tradition and caste system as rigid as their overlords', seemed perfect Asian ambassadors for all things English. The years have lent Indians and Pakistanis of old an ironic nobility; about them a Brit can feel at once guilty and nostalgic. Unless, of course, one has to deal with their sons and daughters on the streets...

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