The Sikhs of Smethwick
Filmmaker and Sikh Billy Dosanjh tells the story of his community in his hometown of Smethwick. Using archive and testimony, it's a story of 50 years of tradition and change.
Midlands filmmaker Billy Dosanjh celebrates 50 years of the Sikhs in his hometown of Smethwick, from their arrival in the late 1950s and early 60s to the present day. Using rare archive and the frank personal testimony of different generations of Smethwick's Sikhs, he explores the experiences of the changing traditions and the challenges to centuries old traditions - especially in love and marriage - that life in modern Britain brings.
Using rare and unseen archive Billy goes on a moving journey through space and time - from farm life in northern India to the searing heat of work in the steel factories of Britain's Black Country; from extreme rural poverty to the have-it-all consumer culture of today; from strict traditions to a world of tolerance and the modern permissive society.
Billy tells of the hostility and tough working conditions the first Sikhs experienced when they arrived in Smethwick. He shows the old customs that they tried to keep from their impoverished villages in the Punjab. Examining the challenges of the modern world and how their traditions have evolved, especially when it comes to love and marriage, Billy gives a personal insight to the world of his community, and the way its culture has adapted across the generations to the challenges of life in modern Britain.