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Film / East is East

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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:

  • Armour-Piercing Question: During an argument with George...
    If English women are so bad, why did you marry me mam?
    • Indeed, on this issue more than many others, George is a big Hypocrite.
  • Arranged Marriage: George's attempt at this causes a bit of friction with his British-born sons.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: A couple of moments between George and Ella.
  • 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.
  • Big Brother Bully: Played straight with Tariq, Saleem and Meenah being this towards Sajid. But averted with the two eldest brothers, Nazir and Abdul, who serve more as a Cool Big Bro and Big Brother Mentor respectively towards Sajid.
  • 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!
  • Irony: Maneer is the only child of George who follows his father's rules and behaves the way George expects, yet he is the one who is badly beaten by George after Tariq destroys George's wedding gifts.
    • After discovering George's wedding plans, Maneer's siblings turn on him and accuse him of having no loyalty toward them. Yet Maneer lies to protect them from George's wrath.
  • Karma Houdini: Tariq destroys George's wedding garments and watches after discovering George's plan to marry him off. Yet it is The Dutiful Son Maneer who gets beaten after George discovers him tidying up the mess.
  • 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."
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Six brothers, one sister.
  • N-Word Privileges: The Khan children frequently refer to Pakistani-born immigrants as "Pakis", not considering it to apply to them. This is both Played for Drama ("I'm not marryin' a fucking Paki!") and Played for Laughs ("The Pakis are 'ere!")
  • Nothing but Hits: Played with, as the hits alternate from 70's British pop to bhangra.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: George realises that if even Maneer is against him, he must have really fucked up.
  • Only Sane Man: Abdul
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Ella lays two of these on George and a brutally funny one on Mrs. Shah.
  • Runaway Groom: Nazir, at the beginning of the film. It's from an Arranged Marriage, and he has... other reasons.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Stella seems to think she and Tariq are, but he's pretty openly apathetic about her.
  • The '70s: The film takes place in 1971.
  • This Is My Name on Foreign: Nazir calls himself Nigel, and when they go to a club, Tariq is Tony and Abdul is Arthur.