A new art installation and film takes audiences back in time to the by-gone era of Bollywood VHS rental shops. 

Set in the 1980s, the golden era of the VHS tape and video shops – 'Jambo Cinema' takes people on a personal journey of artist Dawinder Bansal who hosts her audiences like guests inside her Kenyan-Indian living room.

The project is inspired by the personal experiences of Dawinder, who grew up in her parents’ corner shop, Bansal Electrical (closed in 1989) which sold electrical supplies and also rented VHS video films to the newly arrived and established Indian and Pakistani communities in Whitmore Reans, Wolverhampton. 

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(Pictures: Outroslide Photography)

Dawinder said: “I’m so delighted and honoured to present Jambo Cinema at Leytonstone Loves Film festival this year. 

"Jambo Cinema began in 2016 as a passion project, mainly as a tribute to my late father. After my father died, our shop closed down but we retained majority of the original VHS tapes, artwork, fixtures and fittings. 

"In fact my garage is busting with stock! In 2015 I explored the old shop stock and realised it was an important part of South Asian social history. 

"Jambo Cinema is a working class story, about me, the humble beginnings of my family moving from Kenya to the UK and our love for film. 

"While it is a very personal story, people from all walks of life can resonate with the story or be curious about British Asian lives in the 1980s”.

Dawinder will be welcoming guests on Saturday 28th – Sunday 29th September, 11am – 6pm at Leytonstone Library at the Octagon Room. They will be transported back in time and be greeted as guests at aunty and uncle Bansal’s residence during the 1980s. The guests are invited to explore the Indian-Kenyan living room, complete with family photographs, memorabilia and original Bollywood VHS films. 

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Dawinder said: “Film and music has been part of my life for as long as I can remember.

"As a young girl I watched so many Bollywood films that gave me a sense of wonder, joy, amusement and they were always full of so much drama! It really was ultimate escapism for me and so many other people who wanted to access part of their own culture, music, language and dance. For many working class Asian families, it was one of the only affordable ways to entertain the family”. 

“In the 1980s, I was a youngish wife and mother. We didn’t have a lot of money and our entertainment was found in videos. Collecting them from video shops and bringing them home. Making sure they were returned the next day! This wonderful collection brings back many happy memories. Thank you” – Audience quote.

Dawinder is exploring the story of South Asian communities and the importance of Bollywood VHS shops in the UK.

She retained most of the original stock when the shop closed and after 30 years, is bringing the past back to life through this installation, reflecting the stories and lives of so many South Asian families from across the UK.

The space has been curated to welcome everyone and is a family friendly art installation taking people back to the days when people had time for each other and connected through the shared experiences of watching films together.

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Exhibition dates: 
Saturday 28th September – Sunday 29th September 2019
Opening Times: 11am – 6pm.  

Where: Leytonstone Library, Board Room, Church Lane, Leytonstone, London E11 1HG

Commissioned by Barbican for Leytonstone Loves Film festival (part of London Borough of Culture).  
Cost: Free 

Suitable for: All ages and backgrounds. Family friendly. 

Compulsory: Shoes must be removed before entering the living room.