The World Unseen is a 2007 historical lesbian drama film written and directed by Shamim Sarif, adapted from her own novel. The film is set in 1950s Cape Town, South Africa during the beginning of apartheid. The film stars Lisa Ray and Sheetal Sheth as two Indian South African women who fall in love in a racist, sexist, and homophobic society.
Miriam (Lisa Ray) is all things ancient – a duteous female offspring to her family, a fond mother to her youngsters, a conventionally clothed, coy and subservient partner to her husband Omar (Parvin Dabas). Amina (Sheetal Sheth) is all things radical – single, free-spirited, freelance, she runs her own café bar business and wears masculine garments. Their lives seldom cross.
Set in 1950s South Africa at the beginning of apartheid, free-spirited Amina has broken all the rules of her own conventional Indian community and the new apartheid-led government, by running a café with Jacob, her black business partner. When she meets Miriam, a young wife and mother, their unexpected attraction pushes Miriam to question the rules that bind her to a traditional role. As Amina helps Miriam’s sister-in-law to hide from the police, a chain of events is set in motion that changes both women forever.