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Sat. April 15th @ 12:45PM
AFS Cinemas
Virtual: April 28- May 1

Texas Premiere

Limited copies of the book Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America will be for Sale at the screening.



US I Bangladesh  I 85 mins I Documentary I 2022

English, Bengali w/ English subtitles

*LIVE, In-Person Q&A w/ directors Alaudin Ullah & Vivek Bald


Official Selection of DOC NYC & CAAMFest 2022

As a teenager in 1980s Harlem, Alaudin Ullah was swept up in the revolutionary energy of hip-hop. He rejected his working-class Bangladeshi parents and turned his back on everything South Asian and Muslim. Now, as an actor and playwright contending with the Islamophobia of post-9/11 Hollywood, Ullah wants to tell his parents' stories - but he has no idea who they really were. 


In Search of Bengali Harlem follows Ullah from the streets of New York  to the villages of Bangladesh to uncover the pasts of his father and mother. In doing so, he discovers a lost history - in which South Asian Muslims, African Americans, and Puerto Ricans forged an extraordinary multiracial community in the tenements of mid- 20th century Harlem.

"It resonates because, in many ways, it is the story of all of us. " 

- The Juggernaut

" visually striking and emotionally affecting"

- MIT, Comparative Media Studies Department

About the Artist


Alaudin Ullah is a playwright, actor, and the son of one of the first Bengali Muslim men to settle in Harlem. Ullah is the author of the acclaimed one-man show, "DISHWASHER DREAMS," based on his father’s life in New York City in the 1930s-60s.


Ullah premiered the show at the New Works Now! Festivalat New York’s Joseph Papp Public Theater, and was subsequently awarded one of the Theater’s prestigious Emerging Writers Group Fellowships. Ullah has since performed DISHWASHER DREAMS across the US, including most recently a 2021-22 run at Chicago's Writers Theater and at Connecticut’s Hartford Stage.


Ullah’s three-act play "HALAL BROTHERS" centers on the interactions between African American and Bengali Muslims in a Harlem halal butcher’s shop on the day of Malcolm X’s murder in 1965. This emotionally charged ensemble drama is in development for stage production in 2022.



Vivek Bald is an award-winning filmmaker, writer, digital media producer, and scholar. His work over the past twenty-five years has explored the stories and experiences of South Asians in the

U.S. and Britain.


Bald’s first documentary TAXI-VALA/AUTO-BIOGRAPHY (1994)  which examined the lives and activism of New York City taxi drivers from Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh, was showcased by the Whitney Museum, the San Francisco Int'l Asian American Film Festival and PBS.

His second documentary MUTINY: ASIANS STORM BRITISH MUSIC (2003) focused on South Asian youth, music, and anti-racist politics in 1970s-90s Britain. It premiered in New York as part of Lincoln Center’s Independents Night series and screened at two dozen film festivals in thirteen countries. 


In 2020, Bald consulted upon and appeared in the Peabody Award winning PBS documentary series, ASIAN AMERICANS. He is the author of Bengali Harlem and the Lost Histories of South Asian America (Harvard University Press, 2013) and the faculty Director of MIT’s Open Documentary Lab, a unit devoted to the analysis and incubation of new forms of documentary: including VR & AR projects. 



This program was made possible in part with a grant from Humanities Texas, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. 



Writer/Director:        Alaudin Ullah, Vivek Bald   


Producer(s):            Susannah Ludwig

Cinematography:     Joseph Alvarado

                                   Kitra Cahana

                                   Shahadat Hossain

                                   Shamsul Islam

Editor/Writer:             Beyza Boyacioglu

Featuring Music By:    Vijay Iyer

                                     Anik Khan

                                     Ganavya Doraiswamy

                                     Zakir Hussain

                                     Yosvany Terry

                                     Imani Uzuri


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