Ruhul Amin

Ruhul Amin, born in East Pakistan in 1958, came with his parents to East London at the age of 13. He insisted on staying on his own in the UK when his parents returned home after the 1971 War of Liberation with West Pakistan.

Ruhul Amin was born in Sylhet Town in East Pakistan in 1958. At the age of 13 he came with his parents to East London and to escape the War of Liberation. When the war with West Pakistan ended and Bangladesh was born, his parents decided to return. Ruhul felt that his ambition, held since he was aged 7 to be a film maker, could only be realised if he stayed on in the UK.

He initially stayed with a family known to his father but the husband was a gambler and Ruhul had to leave. He lived with other young Bengalis in Spitalfields who were working in the clothing industry. Ruhul hardly went to school because of the racist attacks and, unlike his friends, never purchased his own tailoring scissors. He worked as a machinist some of the time but was determined to pursue his dream of becoming a film maker.

One day he approached a Chanel 4 team off Brick Lane. He became their guide and was then employed by them. He went on to make his own film, Purbo, with funding from Tower Hamlets Council about the life of a young clothing worker, Ayub Ali, mentioned here. His first film for Chanel 4 in 1983 was Flame in My Heart. Chanel 4 then commissioned a feature film, A Kind of English. Ruhul has made about 13 documentaries and experimental drama – for BBC, Channel Four and independently. He lives in Newham with his family and is now making a film about Hason Raja, a Bengali poet, philosopher and songwriter from Sylhet. He is one of the people about whom, and with whom. we are going to make a short film.

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