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Movie Review: West Is West

The South Asian International Film Festival came to a close in New York City last night. To end this year with a bang, West Is West made its U.S. premiere. The audience was filled with fans, critics, and movie makers -and everyone was excited to see the sequel to the 1999 hit film East Is East.

Many of us wondered if a decade later, West Is West could live up to such a good flick. After a delayed start and a quick introduction with touches of Hindi from the film's producer Leslee Udwin, the audience was treated to quite an amazing film.

The Story:

West Is West continues to follow the lives of the Khan family who are settled in Salford, England. George Khan is a proud Pakistani. He has made his life with wife Ella and the two run a local chippy together. Sajjid, the youngest son, is subjected to bullying at school because of his mixed blood.

Sajjid is miserable at school and continues to miss classes. One day, Sajjid gets himself in a bit of trouble and crosses the line with his father. George is convinced that if he takes Sajjid to Pakistan he will learn a lesson or two and become more respectful.

George and Sajjid go off to Pakistan where Sajjid is in for a culture shock! George and Sajjid return to Punjab where George comes face to face with his first wife and daughters whom he had left behind 30 years ago. As the story unfolds George has to face the reality he has created, while Sajjid goes on a journey to find himself.

Cast:

Om Puri as George Khan
Linda Bassett as Ella Khan
Aqib Khan as Sajjid
Jimi Mistry as Tariq Khan
Ila Arun as Basheera Khan

What We Think:

For people expecting something along the lines of East Is East, West is West will not live up to those standards. But West is West is still a brilliant film! The story is quite heart wrenching, the humor is different, but the audience will laugh plenty!

The delicate subject of a man having a family in Pakistan and one in England was handled very well and Ila was cast perfectly for the role as the original Mrs. Khan. The subplots between Sajjid and his new mentor, Sajjid and his father, George and each of his wives were effortlessly portrayed and there was constant chemistry between the co-stars.

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