Express & Star

'Jambo Cinema' celebrates British Asian lives in 1980s Wolverhampton

A cinema with a difference celebrating British Asian lives in Wolverhampton during the 1980s has opened its doors at the city’s art gallery.

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The Mayor of Wolverhampton Councillor Elias Mattu, and the Mayoress Asha Mattu, visit the 1980's Asian living room installation at Wolverhampton Art Gallery and meet the curator, Dawinder Bansal (centre.)

Jambo Cinema is in fact a Indian-Kenyan living room art installation inspired by the youth of curator Dawinder Bansal.

The room centres on a television displaying original Bollywood VHS films.

Ms Bansal grew up in her parents’ corner shop, Bansal Electrical, which sold electrical supplies and also rented films to the Indian and Pakistani migrant communities in Whitmore Reans.

When the shop closed in 1989, Ms Bansal retained most of the original stock and is now seeking to bring the era back to life.

She said: “As a young girl, I remember going with my father to his shop Bansal Electical most weekends.

“Renting Bollywood films was, for many the only way to access part of their own culture, language, identity and entertainment so these shops were hubs of the community for years.

“Selecting and watching videos was a communal experience and it brought people together, especially for Asian communities with limited programmes for them on terrestrial television channels.

“It’s great to be presenting a local story inside my local art gallery, a place I visited often and was inspired by as a teenager.”

The authentic living room features family photographs, memorabilia and original Bollywood VHS films.

The project was commissioned by Creative Black Country, Funny Things Comedy Festival, Flatpack Film Festival and Wolverhampton Art Gallery.

It runs until November 26 at the venue in Lichfield Street.