‘In Search of Bengali Harlem’ premiers at IFC Theaters November 13


Documentary by Vivek Bald and Alaudin Ullah features at DOC NYC festival

A Bengali family in Harlem. Photo: videograb from trailer of ‘In Search Of Bengali Harlem’ documentary courtesy IFC

In Search of Bengali Harlem, a documentary depicting the migration of Habib and his wife Mohima from Bangladesh to Harlem, New York, in the mid 20th century, will premier at the IFC Center Theaters located at 323 6th Ave, New York city at 9:00 p.m. on Sunday, November 13, 2022. An Encore screening will take place at the same theater at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 17th.

Part of the ‘DOC NYC’ annual festival, the feature documentary ‘In Search of Bengali Harlem’ is directed by Vivek Bald and Alaudin Ullah, produced by Susannah Ludwig and edited by Beyza Boyacioglu. The premier will end with a Question and Answer session with the filmmakers after the screening.

The documentary is co-presented with Desis Rising Up and Moving, Blindian Project, Bengalis of New York, Harlem Adda and Bangladeshi American Women’s Development Initiative. ‘Bengali Harlem’ is an entry at the Metropolis Competition in New York City with the ticket holding audiences voting after the screening.

Scene of a Bengali gathering in Harlem. Photo: videograb from documentary ‘In Search Of Bengali Harlem’ courtesy IFC

‘Bengali Harlem’ is the story of Alaudin Ullah who, as a teenager in Harlem, rejected both his heritage of being a South Asian Muslim and his parents. It is an attempt by the adult Ullah who is now an actor and playwright to learn where his parents Habib and Mohima came from and what they faced after immigration in the early years of South Asian immigrants. Ullah traces their lives from their present in New York City to their lives before immigration in Bangladesh.

The documentary writes a chapter in the history of Bengali Muslim men living in Harlem upon immigrating to the U.S., how they faced racist Asian Exclusion laws, and how they married into New York’s African American and Puerto Rican communities for survival. ‘Bengali Harlem’ also tells the story of the lives of Habib and Mohima in Bangladesh, of the hardships and trauma that Mohima underwent when she chose to migrate to the U.S. from rural Bangladesh.

Doc NYC better known as DOC NYC is an annual documentary film festival in New York City. It is the country’s largest documentary film festival.



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