“West is West,” the much-awaited sequel to the 1999 critically-acclaimed movie “East is East,” about the culture clash experienced by a Pakistani immigrant living in a provincial English town, is out in Indian cinemas today, after previously releasing overseas in February. Actor Om Puri reprises his role as George Khan, who is married to a British woman for the movie, which was partially shot in India.
In the first movie, “East is East,” directed by Damien O’Donnell, George Khan tried to cope with his identity as he struggled between two cultures and with his dysfunctional family.
The sequel, directed by Andy DeEmmony, follows the Khan family as they journey to rural Pakistan where George is trying to find the wife he left behind 30 years earlier when he immigrated to Britain—as well as help his rebellious son, played by Aqib Khan, find his roots.
The sequel, “West is West,” directed by Andy DeEmmony is more about his teenage son Sajid Khan (played by Aqib Khan) who is bullied in school, and grows rebellious as he tries to come to terms with his identity.
More In Movies
Queer Film Festival to Kick Off in Mumbai
Does Bhutan Love Bollywood Too Much?
'Dabangg' Wins Wholesome Entertainment Award
What Is Bollywood? Find Out at Cannes
Stamps, Paintings, Films Mark Tagore's 150th Birth Anniversary
Comparing the two films, Mr. Puri had said in an interview with the Hindustan Times that, “George Khan from ‘East is East’ was a one-dimensional character… ‘West is West’’s George Khan is much more complex.”
Here’s what critics have said about the film:
Andrew Pulver of the British daily The Guardian said that Ayub Khan-Din, screenplay writer for both the films, appeared to be “concerned to present the most harmless, cheery view possible” of Pakistan.
“Anyone looking for a deeper understanding of the current turmoil among British Muslims, or even just some sense of what lies behind Pakistan’s current troubles, will leave disappointed,” wrote Mr. Pulver, who appears to have seen the film well before its formal release.
He noted that this film makes no nod to the fact that it appears in a dramatically changed political milieu from the first, pre-9/11 film: “Think of all that’s happened since 1999. You wouldn’t have guessed it from this.”
Mr. Khan-Din’s perspective, he said, was probably “a corrective to the poisonous atmosphere of witch-hunt and Islamophobia that dominates some sections of British society. But inevitably it means ‘West Is West’ is something of a lightweight.”
Writing in the Sunday edition of the paper this year, Philip French, called it a “deeply disappointing sequel.”
He noted that “the film is broad, evasive and oppressively feelgood in tone, an affair over which veils should be drawn.”
But most Indian reviewers were all praise for the film.
Indian news Web site Sify.com, in its review wrote that the movie was “decent engaging and warm follow-up to the original film.”
Nikhat Kazmi of Times of India said that the movie sends out the message that “East may be East, West may be West, but people are the same, despite their superficial differences.”
She particularly praised Aqib Khan’s performance. “The highpoint of the film is young Aqib Khan, who not only renders a scintillating performance as the pubescent Sajid, but becomes a metaphor for the whole film.”
Besides the actors, she added that the “soulful music” of the movie was memorable.
Tara Chowdhary of Daily News and Analysis gave the movie four stars out of five. She wrote, “A balmy, tender film, full of lyrical design, cinematography, and music, it was clearly crafted with a great deal of love for its subject matter.”
She particularly praised the performances of Mr. Puri and Linda Bassett, who plays his British second wife, as well as what she called “some stellar scenes with the ex-army dean of Sajid’s British school,” who is played by Robert Pugh.
Have you seen the film? If so, please let us know what you thought of it in our Comments Section.
Via: India Real Time