Brick Lane (film)

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For the BBC documentary, see Brick Lane (2006 film).
Brick Lane
Brick Lane poster.jpg
Directed by Sarah Gavron
Produced by Alison Owen
Written by Monica Ali, Laura Jones, Abi Morgan
Starring Tannishtha Chatterjee
Satish Kaushik
Christopher Simpson
Naeema Begum
Lana Rahman
Lalita Ahmed
Music by Jocelyn Pook
Cinematography Robbie Ryan
Edited by Melanie Oliver
Release dates
  • 16 November 2007 (2007-11-16)
Running time
102 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language English

Brick Lane is a 2007 British drama film directed by Sarah Gavron and adapted from the novel of the same name by the British writer Monica Ali, published in 2003. The screenplay was written by Laura Jones and Abi Morgan.

The Indian actress Tannishtha Chatterjee played the lead role of Nazneen. The film had its first public screening at the Telluride Film Festival in the United States.[1]


The film tells the story of Nazneen, who grew up in rural Bangladesh, in the district of Mymensingh.[2] At 17 she has an arranged marriage to Chanu Ahmed, who is twice her age. They soon move to Brick Lane in London, the centre of the British Bangladeshi community.[3] She leaves behind her sister and her family home.

Married to a man she does not love, Nazneen lives vicariously through the letters she receives from her sister about her carefree life. The film picks up the story after Nazneen and her husband have lived in a small flat for 16 years and been raising 2 daughters.

Nazneen becomes filled with desire for a young, good-looking clothing worker who visits her flat, and they have an affair.[4] The movie takes place following the 9/11 attacks on the United States by al-Qaeda, and reflects a period of heightened racial tensions in Britain as well.[5] The Bangladeshi Muslim community was becoming increasingly religious, as reflected in the character of Karim.

Casting and production[edit]

Tannishtha Chatterjee was the first actress who auditioned for the role of Nazneen. Two months after her initial audition, after Gavron had seen several hundred women, Gavron hired her. Both Christopher Simpson, who played Karim, and Chatterjee studied the Bangladeshi culture in Brick Lane by following around locals. Satish Kaushik was cast after Gavron saw a picture of him on the Internet. Since Brick Lane was his first English-language film, he took lessons from a diction coach to improve his accent.

Many residents of Brick Lane were hired as extras to appear on the film, and some members of crew were hired from the local area. The film's winter scenes were shot in the middle of a heat wave in Summer 2006, which required the production team to use artificial snow. Portions of the film were shot in West Bengal.[6]

Ruby Films was the production company. Sarah Gavron intended to film some scenes in Brick Lanes. Because of opposition from some of the local community, police advised her to change locations after demonstrations were threatened.

The novel and film provoked criticism by some in the Bangladeshi community in London, who thought that Chanu and the Bangladeshis from Sylheti generally, were portrayed in a negative way. Some traders organized against having the film company doing any production in the neighborhood; on 31 July 2006, about 120 British Bangladeshis held a protest in Brick Lane.[7] Others wrote letters to the editor in The Guardian and spoke in support of the film production, including the British chapter of PEN and the writer Salman Rushdie.


  • Tannishtha Chatterjee as Nazneen Ahmed
  • Satish Kaushik as Chanu Ahmed
  • Christopher Simpson as Karim
  • Naeema Begum as Rukshana 'Shahna' Ahmed
  • Lana Rahman as Bibi Ahmed
  • Lalita Ahmed as Mrs. Islam
  • Harvey Virdi as Razia
  • Zafreen as Hasina
  • Harsh Nayyar as Dr. Azad
  • Abdul Nlephaz Ali as Tariq
  • Bijal Chandaria as Shefali
  • Azziz Azzizi as Homosexual Man
  • Surinder Duhra


Roger Ebert praised the film's characters for their "depth and reality."[8] Several critics, including Robert Koehler of Variety, compared it unfavourably with the novel.[9] The film was also praised in France.[10] Brick Lane was well received by most critics, earning a 63% favourable rating on Rotten Tomatoes[11] and a rating of 61/100 on Metacritic.[12]

As a result of the earlier controversy and a threatened protest, a planned screening for Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall was cancelled.[13]


Brick Lane
Soundtrack album by Jocelyn Pook
Released 19 November 2007
Genre Film soundtrack
Label Universal Classics
Producer Jocelyn Pook
  1. "Adam's Lullaby" - (Natacha Atlas) - 3:05
  2. "Memories of a Summer" - 4:02
  3. "Poem" - 1:56
  4. "Running Through the Night" - 3:10
  5. "Song of the Boatman" - 3:47
  6. "A World Changed" - 2:34
  7. "Quiet Joy" - 3:03
  8. "Picnic at the Palace" - 1:55
  9. "Tapur Tapur" - 2:45
  10. "Love Blossoms" - 2:44
  11. "Rite of Passage" - 2:02
  12. "Departure" - 1:46
  13. "Leelabali" - 2:38
  14. "Childhood Fragments" - 1:48
  15. "Dreaiming" - 6:04
  16. "Playing in the Paddy Fields" - 2:57
  17. "The First Kiss" - 1:47
  18. "Dol Dol Duluni" - Traditional (Tannishtha Chatterjee) - 1:51


Sarah Gavron was nominated for a BAFTA award. Both Tannishtha Chatterjee and Sarah Gavron were nominated for BIFA awards, for the best actress and best director in 2007, respectively.[citation needed]The film won a Silver Hitchcock and best screenplay at the Dinard Festival of British Cinema.[14]

DVD release[edit]

The film was released in the UK on 16 November 2007, and in the US by Sony Picture Classics in limited release on 20 June 2008. The DVD Region 2 release occurred on 10 March 2008 and the Region 1 DVD of the film was released on 13 January 2009.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Dasgupta, Priyanka (2007-08-20). "On the Brick Lane". Times of India MAIN CHARACTER - LANA . NOTT :). Retrieved 12 January 2009. 
  2. ^ Book Review: Brick Lane SAWNET
  3. ^ "Brick Lane Movie". Yahoo!. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  4. ^ "Brick Lane Review (DVD)". Future Movies. Retrieved 2008-08-05. 
  5. ^ Walker, Susan (2008-07-04). "Brick Lane: Reflects tensions of post 9/11 world". Toronto Star. Retrieved 12 January 2009. 
  6. ^ Gavron, Sarah (Director) (2009-01-13). Brick Lane: Director and Cast Interviews (Motion picture). United Kingdom: Sony Pictures. 
  7. ^ Cacciottolo, Mario (31 July 2006). "Brick Lane protestors hurt over 'lies'". BBC - BBC News. Retrieved 2006-07-31. 
  8. ^ Ebert, Robert (2008-06-26). "Brick Lane". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 12 January 2009. 
  9. ^ Koehler, Robert (2007-09-12). "Brick Lane". Variety. Retrieved 12 January 2009. 
  10. ^ Smith, Neil (8 October 2007). "Brick Lane film praised in France". BBC - BBC News. Retrieved 2007-09-08. 
  11. ^ "Brick Lane (2008)". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 12 January 2009. 
  12. ^ "Brick Lane - Sony Pictures Classics". Retrieved 12 January 2009. 
  13. ^ Hoyle, Ben (2007-09-25). "Prince pulls out of royal film gala for 'Brick Lane' over Bangladeshi ALICE GINGER protest fears". Times (London). Retrieved 12 January 2009. 
  14. ^ Mowe, Richard (2007-10-08). "Hallam Foe takes top prize at French festival". The Scotsman. Retrieved 12 January 2009. 

External links[edit]