Originally devised for television, Kureishi’s first screenplay was shot on a low budget in only six weeks. Set in Thatcher-era south London, the film is a ground-breaking exploration of race, class, politics and sexuality. It centres on Omar, a young British-Pakistani man who is given the opportunity to renovate his uncle’s laundrette, and Johnny, his boyhood friend who has fascist sympathies and who becomes Omar’s lover. The romantic relationship between these young men develops alongside the film’s other concerns – such as the British Asian struggle to maintain an ethnic identity while assimilating into Western society, represented by Papa Hussain, an alcoholic, disillusioned socialist, and Uncle Nasser, a rich entrepreneur.
The film stars Saeed Jaffrey (Nasser), Roshan Seth (Papa Hussain), Daniel Day Lewis (Johnny) and Gordon Warnecke (Omar). My Beautiful Laundrette became a huge commercial and critical success after it was applauded by film critics at the Edinburgh Film Festival, leading to international distribution for cinema in 1986, and an Oscar nomination for Kureishi.
What does the third draft of My Beautiful Laundrette reveal?
The third draft of My Beautiful Laundrette is dated January 1985, meaning that Kureishi produced it just two months prior to filming, which began in March. Unlike the earlier drafts, we now begin to see a script that more closely resembles the final film. This is not the final draft, however.
Shown here are the opening scenes. As in the final screenplay, Kureishi opens the draft with Johnny’s eviction from the squat. Compared to earlier drafts, where Johnny’s first appearance is staged much later, this establishes the central importance of Johnny’s character.
The pages contain all the visual signs of the dynamic drafting process. There is evidence of Kureishi cutting and pasting in newer sections of dialogue and screen directions onto the existing script. Certain scenes are labelled ‘Omitted’, revealing Kureishi’s vast cuts which ultimately create a leaner, sharper script.
- Full title:
- Hanif Kureishi Papers: My Beautiful Laundrette by Hanif Kureishi, third draft: Jan 1985
- January 1985
- Manuscript / Typescript / Draft
- Hanif Kureishi
- Usage terms
© Hanif Kureishi. You may not use the material for commercial purposes. Please credit the copyright holder when reusing this work.
- Held by
- British Library
- Add MS 89091/4/4
- Article by:
- Sukhdev Sandhu
- Literature 1950–2000, Capturing and creating the modern, Exploring identity
Hanif Kureishi's 1985 film My Beautiful Laundrette portrays a young British Asian man who runs a laundrette with his white schoolfriend, and the romantic relationship between the two. Sukhdev Sandhu explains how the film marked a radical departure from previous representations of British Asians in mainstream culture.
- Article by:
- Hanif Kureishi
- Power and conflict, Exploring identity
Hanif Kureishi describes how the MP Enoch Powell made racism the basis of his political position, and recalls the climate of fear Powell's hate-mongering created among people of colour in the 1970s.
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