x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

West is West

West Is West is more heartfelt than the director's earlier East Is East, but not as funny.

Director: Andy De Emmony
Starring: Aqib Khan, Om Puri and Linda Bassett
**

A little more than a decade after East is East smashed international box offices comes a sequel to the Asian immigration comedy set in northern England. The writer Ayub Khan-Din is once again on hand to pen the next instalment in the life of the hypocritical Pakistani immigrant George / Jahangir Khan (Puri) and as such, despite the change in director (the first timer De Emmony replaces Damien O'Donnell) and the loss of much of the original cast, the film retains the same comic tone and infatuation with culture clash.

The twist here is that rather than George struggling to adapt to life in Salford, Manchester, he discovers that he is just as ostracised and "foreign" in the Pakistani village where he grew up. His reason for visiting is to help his bullied shoplifting son Sajid (Khan) learn some manners by finding his roots. The standard fare sees George discovering that abandoning his native wife doesn't go down well, and Sajid discovering that life in Pakistan isn't as bad he initially thinks it will be. The best and genuinely surprising moments come when George's British wife (Bassett) arrives in Pakistan.

It's more sympathetic and heartfelt than its predecessor, but the heavy price paid for this is a reduction in the laughs quotient.