Britain's culture-clash comedy "East is East" gets sequel

Thu Feb 25, 2010 3:27am EST
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By Tony Tharakan

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - In 1999, the low-budget British film "East is East," about the clash of cultures in a Muslim Pakistani family living in Manchester, became a surprise worldwide hit, winning awards and grossing over $15 million.

More than a decade later, the makers of the movie are back with "West is West" -- a sequel set in Pakistan that has Bollywood's Om Puri reprising his role as George Khan and many others from the original cast.

Leslee Udwin, who produced both films, told Reuters from London that "West is West" would be released later this year and a third film about Khan and his children may soon be on screens.

Q: Why a sequel to "East is East" after 10 years?

A: "I always felt there was a trilogy to be made based on what I had come to learn of the writer's own story when he and I worked together on developing East is East. This is not a cynically made sequel -- in other words it has not been made in the spirit of a hoped for repeat of East is East, or else we would have jumped on that bandwagon some years earlier."

Q: What is "West is West" about?

A: "West is West begins some five years after East is East ended. Sajid, the runt of the Khan litter, is now the only one left at home. He is 15 and deep in the crisis of puberty, isolation, bullying... he is clearly going astray, and is confused and distressed. George decides the only way to sort him out is to take him to Pakistan and show him who he is and where he comes from. So off they go to rural Punjab, to George's first wife and daughters whom he abandoned 35 years previously.

"Once there, George is confronted with his own past, finds he has as much to learn about himself as his son does. Essentially, this is a coming-of-age film for both 15-year-old Sajid and also for his 60-year-old father."   Continued...

<p>British actress Archie Panjabi, star of films "East is East" and " Bend it Like Beckham", is reflected in the pond at the Garden of Transparency during the Chelsea Flower Show, London, May 20, 2002. REUTERS/Stephen Hird</p>