Sid and Saikat, Saikat and Sid. Both begin with an ‘S’, similarities end there. Sid - bog standard Birmingham lad, thick accent, Christmas presents? He got way more than you, he’ll whoop you at computer games too. Saikat doesn’t celebrate Christmas, although he did get a book of Bengali poems this December, and he goes ballroom dancing.
Oh yeah, forgot to mention, Saikat and Sid are the same kid.
Strictly Balti details the true-life trials of actor Saikat Ahamed growing up as a second-generation immigrant in the UK. By day Saikat is ‘Sid’, lives Birmingham, eats Birmingham, sleeps Birmingham. However, stepping through his front door each evening to the flocked wallpaper, curries and traditional writings of his parents’ Bangladesh homeland, Sid evaporates. Welcome home Saikat.
Sound confusing? Well yeah, definitely, I couldn’t help but feel grateful that as a white British ten year old girl my biggest worry was whether to go for blue or green hair mascara. Masterfully infused with the contagious, endearing energy of Ahamed and on-point direction of Sally Cookson, Strictly Balti is a toe-tapping triumph, waltzing between laugh out loud comedy and poignant introspection, foxtrotting through the ubiquitous social and emotional trials of growing up, whilst pulling at the immensely relevant thread of growing up as a second generation immigrant pulled between two ways of life. 4/5