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|West Is West|
dir Andy DeEmmony
scr Ayub Khan-Din
prd Leslee Udwin
with Om Puri, Linda Bassett, Aqib Khan, Emil Marwa, Ila Arun, Raj Bhansali, Nadim Sawalha, Zita Sattar, Lesley Nicol, Jimi Mistry, Vijay Raaz, Robert Pugh
release UK 25.Feb.11
10/UK BBC 1h43
Inappropriately dressed: Khan
TORONTO FILM FEST
EAST IS EAST (1999)
|R E V I E W B Y R I C H C L I N E|
It's been 11 years since we last caught up with the Khan family, although only five have passed in their lives. And while this sequel isn't as sharply funny as 1999's East Is East, it has some nice things to say about growing up in a multi-cultural society.
In 1976 Salford, George and Ella (Puri and Bassett) only have one child left at home, 15-year-old Sajid (Khan). And he's a real handful, feeling even more fiercely English than his older siblings. So George decides to cart him off to the Old Country to gain some respect for his heritage. What George doesn't count on is learning a lesson himself, because once in Pakistan he's confronted with the life he left 30 years earlier, including a wife (Arun) and daughters who have been waiting for him.
Yes, the most moving journey in the film is George's. We know fairly quickly that Sajid will be ok; he's young enough to have the cockiness knocked out of him quickly by a local friend (Bhansali) and soon gets busy finding a wife for his older brother Maneer (Marwa). But George's stubborn inability to listen to anyone goes deeper, and so does his story. Especially when Ella turns up to see why they haven't come home as planned.
The opening scenes in England are played mainly for laughs, pitting the pig-headed George and Sajid against the long-suffering Ella. There's even a witty cameo for Mistry as womanising older brother Tariq. Once in Pakistan things get more serious, and while scenes are tinged with humour they're also more thoughtful. The best elements are the moments between Puri and both Arun and Bassett, while Khan keeps us engaged as we follow Sajid's adventures, although a strange sideroad involving a sudden dust storm is a contrived (and unsuccessful) attempt to add some suspense.
In the end, the film has a lot to say about learning to see the people and places around us in order to better understand how we fit into the world. There's a real sense that lasting relationships are what's important, no matter where you are. And also that being true to yourself and those you love might not mean what you think it does.
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© 2010 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall|
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