daily stream: a marginalized rapper goes home and goes big

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Pakistani-Brits are having a bit of an onscreen moment at the moment, with action comedy Polite Society new on big screens on both sides of the Atlantic today, and romantic dramedy What’s Love Got to Do with It? in UK cinemas now, US cinemas next Friday. (Reviews of both from me very soon.) Here’s hoping these aren’t blips on the pop-culture radar but just the first of many films to explore a subculture underrepresented in crowdpleaser movies.

In a similar but much darker, less mainstream vein, the always-riveting Riz Ahmed explores his own heritage as a Londoner of Pakistani heritage in 2020’s Mogul Mowgli. Ahmed wrote the semiautobiographical script with director Bassam Tariq and plays a rapper who returns home to confront the expectations of his immigrant parents as well as a rival musician. The film delivers an uneasy jolt of (pop) culture clash and assimilation angst that is equal parts unsettling and electrifying: it is near-nightmarish, verging on stream-of-consciousness, and absolutely mesmerizing. (Read my 2020 review.)

US: stream on HBO Max (via Prime); rent/buy on Prime and Apple TV

UK: stream on BBC iPlayer; rent on BFI Player and Curzon Home Cinema; rent/buy on Prime and Apple TV

See Mogul Mowgli at Letterboxd for more viewing options.

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