Om Puri, Linda Bassett, Jordan Routledge, Archie Panjabi, Emil Marwa, Chris Bisson, Jimi Mistry, Raji James, Ian Aspinall, Lesley Nicol, Emma Rydal, Ruth Jones, Ben Keaton, Kriss Dosanjh, John Bardon, Gary Damer, Albert Moses"/>
Combustible Celluloid
 
Search for Posters
Own it:
DVD
Book
Search for streaming:
NetflixHuluGoogle PlayGooglePlayCan I Stream.it?
With: Om Puri, Linda Bassett, Jordan Routledge, Archie Panjabi, Emil Marwa, Chris Bisson, Jimi Mistry, Raji James, Ian Aspinall, Lesley Nicol, Emma Rydal, Ruth Jones, Ben Keaton, Kriss Dosanjh, John Bardon, Gary Damer, Albert Moses
Written by: Ayub Khan-Din, based on his play
Directed by: Damien O'Donnell
MPAA Rating: R for language, sexual content and some domestic violence
Language: Urdu, English with English subtitles
Running Time: 96
Date: 05/14/1999
IMDB

East Is East (2000)

3 Stars (out of 4)

Tyrants and Fathers

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

What can one say about a steeped in tradition British comedy about a tyrannical Pakistani father that takes cues from There's Something About Mary (1998), and South Park? I can say that East Is East (not to be confused with the French film East-West) is very funny and worth plunking down a few pennies for.

Om Puri (see Interview), the amazing Indian actor who has recently been seen in My Son the Fanatic (1999), and Such a Long Journey (2000) stars as George Khan, the father of a huge household of kids by a British mother (Linda Bassett). The family lives in England and the seven kids all look Indian and sound British. Their father insists on following their Muslim religion, which entails being picked up daily in the Mosque Van for lessons, and arranged marriages to spouses not seen until the wedding day.

George's hypocrisy is clear to his kids. He owns a chip shop in Britain and is essentially British. But he refuses to let go of his strict religion and forces his kids to follow suit. There's even talk of a first wife, a Pakistani wife, who still lives in her home country. Whenever George is upset with his modern British wife, he threatens to bring her back so that he will have someone who obeys.

But I'm leaving out the funny parts. The kids are developed slowly--there's a lot of them--and they're a bunch of hellions. The oldest son bolts from the altar of his arranged marriage and leaves the country. Another son sneaks out at night to frequent discos, the tomboy daughter plays soccer in the streets, and yet another son is taking a sculpting class and working on something not fit for mixed company. Best of all is the youngest boy, Sajid (Jordan Routledge) who wears a parka with the hood up all the time, just like Kenny in South Park. (There's even one point-of-view shot from a "Parka-cam" with fringe all around the edge of the frame.) In one scene, the kids are cooking and munching on bacon, an after school snack that would seriously invoke the wrath of their father. When he comes home early, they try to get rid of the evidence (and the smell) as quickly as possible. Surely they could have snacked on something else, but they deliberately test their father.

Much of the humor is decidedly lowbrow. The movie gets laughs out of fat girls, ugly girls (complete with buck teeth and crossed-eyes), humping dogs, and circumcision. But at the same time, it manages to keep the emotional center of the movie intact. The religion aspect is kept respectful, similar to the recent Keeping the Faith which has religion as part of its story but not as the butt of its jokes.

The relationships in this film feel real. And these are held together by the wonderful performance of Om Puri, who has acted in something like 150 films in India, who finds the center to George. It's another great performance from this wonderful actor. When George buys a used dentist's chair and installs it in the living room, astonishing his wife, she must eventually succumb to his contagious excitement (as do we).

East Is East is written by Ayub Khan-Din and directed by Damien O'Donnell, both newcomers (though Khan-Din is known as an actor from such films as 1988's Sammy and Rosie Get Laid). Like the best storytellers, they get new mileage out of old material and deliver a fun time at the movies.

20%
Discount
for
Combustible
Celluloid
Readers!!

Enter
Discount
Code

cc2020

At Step 2 of checkout!!