Punk in a hijab
Filmin is a platform that hosts small series which are not easy to find on the big platforms and prove that in the world of television, even if it seems impossible due to the extensive streaming catalogues available, there are still things we have not seen. We are Lady Parts is one of those pleasant surprises. Behind the crudest English humour, the series creates a portrait of the diversity existing within the Muslim world. A diversity that from our perspective is hidden by clichés and prejudices, but that in a city like London vibrates with an unstoppable and enriching purpose. Having premiered on Channel 4 in 2021, it is the brainchild of Nida Manzoor, a British director and writer born into a Muslim family of Pakistani origin. Her goal when she wrote the script was to show that there is another reality of Muslim women and feminists beyond arranged marriages and honour killings that is not reflected on modern-day television. The writer herself has acknowledged that the story she tells in the series is to a certain extent her own.
Thus, her alter ego is the main character, Amina (Anjana Vasan), a quiet daydreamer who is completing her PHD in biochemistry and feels social pressure, especially from her more traditional friends, to find a good husband.
In her spare time, Amina gives guitar lessons to children with social problems, but she never plays in public because her environment considers it forbidden (her friends, but not her parents, who are much more modern than her). Her undisguised interest in a boy she meets on the street makes Amina show up at a musical casting organised by Saira, the leader of the punk feminist group Lady Parts. Without really knowing what she is doing, Amina ends up joining this group made up of very different women but who have in common their passion for music and the fact that they are Muslims and feminists. They are girls who want to conquer the stage and who do not hesitate to sing anti-sexist anthems like Voldemort under my handscarf and Bashir with the good beard.
Saira (Sarah Kameela Impey) is the impulsive vocalist who works in a butcher’s shop by day and lets out all her restrained anger by singing and playing rhythm guitar at night. The bassist is Bisma (Faith Omole), a happily married black mother who draws comics about women who become killers when they have their periods. The other member is the drummer, Ayesha (Juliette Motamed), an Uber driver who is grumpy about everything. And finally there is the manager, the mysterious Montaz (Lucie Shorthouse), the craziest of them all, who never loses hope in the group’s success. Despite their differences and fights, these four young women will get Amina to overcome her insecurities, postpone the headaches of looking for a husband and indulge in her passion for music.