In the prologue for Brick Lane, young Nazneen and her beloved sister Hasina (Zafreen) play together during what will be their last carefree moments on this earth. Their mother looks at them sullenly, and through a series of close-ups and cuts, the film practically screams out: Mom's going to commit suicide! She does, and the film expects us to be surprised and shocked. Nazneen is shipped off to London for an arranged marriage, and by the time the credits finish, Nazneen has been there long enough to raise two 'tween girls.

The time jump is a bit jarring, and it's done with the same carelessness as the prologue. But soon we meet Nazneen's husband, a fat, cartoonish lout, Chanu (Satish Kaushik), who is apparently educated and well-read but who lacks the most basic elements of common sense. When he mentions the promotion that he's sure to get at his job, we know it's all over for him. Nobody ever gets a promotion in the first reel of a movie, but Chanu doesn't know that, nor do the filmmakers. It's as infuriating as watching teenagers in horror films split up to search the woods.