Bollywood in Britain

Tales of being British, Pakistani & female in Bradford, set against classic Bollywood

About the Author

with 8 comments

Irna Qureshi is an ethnographer, writer and oral historian specialising in British Asian arts, culture and identity. She is also co-founder of Bradford Literature Festival. Irna has collaborated on several exhibitions and books on these themes, including Coming of Age: 21 Years of Mela in the UKThe Grand Trunk Road: From Delhi to the Khyber Pass and Home from Home: British Pakistanis in Mirpur. Her personal essays have appeared in Critical Muslim, South Asian Popular Culture and New Statesman. She also writes regularly for Culture Vulture and The Guardian’s Northerner Blog. In 2012 Irna wrote Cartographies of Love, a live performance featuring herself and based on intimate conversations with three generations of Muslim women about their attitudes towards love and marriage.

Irna discovered Indian films during her teenage years in Bradford. She has a private collection of vintage and contemporary Bollywood film posters. She curated Bollywood Icons: 100 Years of Indian Cinema for the National Media Museum (2013) and another exhibition, Bollywood in Love for the British Film Institute (2002).

Bollywood in Britain reflects Irna’s journey of being British, Pakistani, Muslim and female in Bradford. Her autobiographical stories are set against the backdrop of the classic Indian films she grew up with. The later episodes, starting with The Wedding Day, chart the progress of Irna’s traditional marriage in Pakistan during the 1990s. Do subscribe by leaving your email address in the box (top right of blog) if you’d like to be notified every time a new instalment is posted.

You can contact Irna on Twitter.

Written by Irna Qureshi

07/01/2011 at 11:44 pm

8 Responses

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  1. One of the most beautiful, well written blogs I’ve come across. I couldn’t stop reading.
    Please post more.


    03/01/2014 at 12:16 am

  2. I absolutely loved reading this blog, beautiful music choices and similarities with my own life.. honest ad beautifully written.


    27/11/2013 at 5:33 pm

  3. Hi Irna,
    I found your blog through your article in The Northerner Guardian. I am on a commitee for the 2013 Leeds Ladyfest and we are looking for women from around Yorkshire to speak at fundraisers, known as ‘Art and Activism’ nights, about women’s experiences, cultures and passions. I would love to invite you to speak at a future event. Could you possibly email me leedsladyfest at gmail dot com if you are interested?

    Leeds Ladyfest is completly volunteer run, will take place in October 2013 and any money made will go to Support after Rape and Sexual Violence Leeds (SARSVL) and Woman’s Aid.

    Thank you ever so much,

    Jess Haigh

    04/04/2013 at 3:26 pm

  4. Dear Irna,

    I just read you recent article in the Guardian and was trying to find a way to contact you. Please apologise this route as I can’t seem to add you on LinkedIn.

    I work for The Citizens Foundation UK ( and in a nutshell, we build and professionally run cost-effective, high quality schools across Pakistan for children who would otherwise never go to school. We feel passionately about increasing female enrolment and have an all-female faculty to ensure more conservative families feel comfortable sending girls to school. We also have innovative initiaves e.g. a literacy programme for mothers, elder sisters and grandmothers of our students. I could tell you some truly inspiring stories!

    Two of our trustees are in town and seeing your interest in education, especially for girl, I wanted to invite you to the Pakistan High Commission on 12 November at 7pm to hear more from one of the founders of TCF, Ahsan Saleem, and a board member, Nilofer Saeed.

    If you can’t make it but this is still of interest, which I sincerely hope it is, then please feel free to email me on and I’d love to take you out for a coffee.

    withe best regards,
    Amina Salahuddin


    09/11/2012 at 1:28 pm

  5. Dear Irna,

    Hello! I am sorry for mailing you here but i was not having your mail id so writing you here.

    I am working on traditional prostitutes of Kanjars of India for my PhD.
    I have been a commonwealth split site scholar at SOAS, London.

    I would like to consult your article on Kanjars of Heeramandi published in
    South Asian Media Cultures: Audiences, Representations, Contexts, edited by Shakuntala Banaji
    but I am not able to access that.
    I was wondering if you could mail me this article of yours or any other work you had done on Kanjars.

    I look forward to hear soon from you.



    01/11/2012 at 6:14 pm

  6. I have so enjoyed reading Bollywood in Britain.


    28/07/2012 at 11:30 pm

  7. Hello Irna, I’ve just spent the last 2 hours reading your wonderful blog, and I can’t wait for the next instalment.

    In part 6 you touch on the history of Bollywood exhibition in Britain. Do you know where I can learn more about the individuals and organisations that first distributed and exhibited Hindi films in the UK?

    Many thanks,

    Phoenix Fry

    27/03/2012 at 10:03 am

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