West Is West Reviews
Where EAST IS EAST was more English, witty and entertaining, its present sequel is more traditional, emotional and meaningful in comparison. In the first part (released in 1999), the script revolved around the youngster's fast life in England, but in its present new version, the family visits their mother land, Pakistan and tastes the traditional way of life in a village. For the viewers not familiar with the story, WEST IS WEST is basically about Om Puri (who was a Pakistani national), now happily settled in England, with his new family looked after by his second wife who is a loving British Lady. After few incidents of his youngest son being bullied in the school and also getting caught for shop lifting, Om decides to take him to Pakistan and introduce him to his own culture. And there we get to see some impressive transforming sequences involving everyone in the family.
The film doesn't excite you enough in its first 10 minutes but as soon as the family reaches Pakistan, the pace picks up and some new interests are generated by the script. But here I would like to mention that apart from a few comic scenes mostly dealing with the language conflicts, WIW is not a comedy film from any angle. In fact that is a wrong kind of promotion strategy followed by its makers. As a result all the viewers opting for it taking it as a Brit-Asian comedy are going to be disappointed for sure.
On the contrary, WIW is a true to life, emotional depiction of the trauma faced by a torn personality living abroad who still has his heart caught somewhere in his mother land. It has some interesting characters like that of a Sufi Saint, a young wandering boy, a 'trying to be honest' relative who speaks broken English and many more. The director, Andy De Emmony beautifully captures the emotional distress of four of his characters in particular. Om Puri, who still can't make up his mind and always feels confused between his two families living in different countries following extremely diverse traditions. Ila Arun, his first wife, who is unwillingly living her life in a Pakistani Village still waiting for her husband to return. Linda Bassett, his second wife who is a loving British national and a very understanding, caring women willing to empathize with Ila and her helpless situation. And Aqid Khan, the youngest son of Om-Linda, who gracefully tries to study his father's country and its tradition but at the end has to return for his own future.
The film becomes a watchable effort mainly because of the splendid performances by these four actors. Especially watch out for the highly sensitive and impactful portrayal of an aging lady by Ila Arun who has undoubtedly given one of career best performances in the movie. Just look for a particular scene where both Ila and Linda are together on the screen and Ila gives her consent for her husband's return to England.
Along with its expressive cast, WIW has a great ethnic soundtrack with few fabulous tracks by Sai Zahoor (famous for his Coke Studio songs), who also makes a cameo in the film. Thankfully the Music CD of the film also has the Coke Studio versions of his songs which were earlier not available in the market. The background score, which also features in its CD, brilliantly gels with the village sequences shown on the screen and cinematography rightly captures the mood of the film.
However the film does have its own drawbacks and also doesn't have a universal appeal. It has a dropping pace and lacks the entertainment quotient since there are not enough enjoyable or comic sequences in the film as expected. So the viewers who are not willing to watch some meaningful cinema may get bored with its off-beat kind of subject and treatment.
But still, it's a different kind of experience, moving a step ahead from its first part. And hence I would like to rate it as a better sequel since it is able to deal with the emotional outbursts of its characters in an impressive way.
and of course loved (+grew up on) East is East, so was very excited when i heard about this movie.