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Film: East is East

East Is East is a 1999 British comedy-drama film. It is set in a British household of mixed ethnicity, with a Pakistani father and an English mother in Salford, Greater Manchester, in 1971. George Khan (played by Om Puri), the father, expects his family to follow his strict Pakistani ways, but his children, who were born and grew up in Britain, increasingly see themselves as British. They reject their father's rules on dress, food, religion and living in general.

East Is East is based on the play of the same name by Ayub Khan-Din. It was directed by Damien O'Donnell. A sequel, West Is West, was released in 2010; Om Puri, Linda Bassett and Jimi Mistry reprised their roles.


This film contains examples of:

  • Arranged Marriage: George's attempt at this causes a bit of friction with his British-born sons.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: A couple of moments between George and Ella.
  • Bacon Addiction: When George goes out of town, the kids take the opportunity to scarf down as much bacon as they can, while Maneer sprays air-freshener everywhere.
  • Berserk Button: What causes George to snap and savagely beat Ella to the ground is her calling him "pig-ignorant" - pigs are considered unclean by Muslims, so that's much more of an insult than it might seem, whether this occurred to Ella or not.
  • Brief Accent Imitation:
    • Meenah mocks her mother's posh "receiving-guests" affectations: "Raighty-ho!"
    • Tariq, who like his siblings has a thick Mancunian accent, also puts on a Pakistani one to mock his Dad.
  • Circumcision Angst: Sajid isn't the one angsting about it, his father is; Sajid's understandably terrified at the idea.
  • Cool Car: Nazir's Rolls, which gets chased down the street by a gaggle of children.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: George is one scary guy!
  • Humiliation Conga: After having an artistic rendering of a vagina dropped into her lap, the stuffy Mrs. Shah calls the Khans "a jungly family" and halfbreeds. She is then accosted by Ella who calls her daughters "inbred monstrosities" and commands Shah and her family to leave the family home in no uncertain terms, likening their daughters to Laurel and Hardy in the process. Having vacated the premises, Mrs. Shah is set upon by a lecherous dalmation. It's a vicious Conga to be sure, but a thoroughly deserved one for such a rude woman. The whole process doubles as a Humiliation Conga for George who wanted to marry his sons into the Shah family. The humiliation isn't quite over for him as he is accosted by his sons when he attempts to strike Ella. After being forced out of his home, he has to sleep in the chip shop.
  • I Have Brothers: Meenah is maybe the third most sensitive of the kids.
  • I Have No Son: Well, "I Only Have Five Sons"... leads to a hilarious Reveal:
    Ella: Oh, he's not dead! He's living in Eccles!
  • The Lad-ette: Foul-mouthed, rough-housing, trouser-wearing Meenah. See her fancy footie for further proof.
  • Literary Allusion Title: Both the original and the sequel, to Rudyard Kipling's "The Ballad of East and West;" "Oh, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet."

Dudley Do-RightFilms of the 1990sEDtv
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alternative title(s): East Is East
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