The Curry House Kid | ★★★★★ | The Guardian
3 October 2022
Akram Khan’s memories of serving drunk white racists. This touching, bruising documentary delved into the dance icon’s traumatic past – and how it drove him to turn his rage into extraordinary art
“I ran like a bolt from the restaurant,” explains the dancer, choreographer and kathak virtuoso at the start of this brave, beautiful documentary. “And I’ve never looked back until now.” The Curry House Kid explores why Khan bolted, and why he came back. Also, why the lifelong, slow and subtle return to his cultural heritage, a journey that will be familiar to most second-generation immigrants (certainly this one), is so painful. So unspeakable. Perhaps this is why his body became his voice. “Most of my life I’ve run away from being Bangladeshi,” he says. “All of my life I’ve been running away from my father.”
“I was quite shocked at how angry I was,” he admits at the end of the shift, recalling the racism his family experienced when he was a teenager and the conflict that arose from his dancing. “A bunch of lads would order food and, once they’d eaten [it], the trouble would begin.” He remembers how a beer glass was smashed over his head “once or twice”. How his dad continued to welcome drunk, white racists, feed them, call them “sir”, for decades. “Our job was to serve them and to absorb all the shit,” he says. His dad didn’t want him to dance: he wanted him to take over the restaurant. “If I’m being honest, most of my life I’ve tried to run away from being Bangladeshi,” he says. “All of my life, I’ve been running away from my father.
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