West is West to release in India in April

West is West to release in India in April

By Rajesh Ahuja/United News of India

New Delhi, March 7, 2011

West is West, the sequel to the hilarious English film East is East is all set to hit Indian theatres next month after a strong opening at the United Kingdom box office.

West is West had a weekend box office of a little over $ 1.2 million (Rs 5.5 cr) on 184 screens in the UK with a per screen average of over $ 6600.

Worldwide sales agent Icon Film distribution has chosen 52 Weeks Entertainment Inc for the India distribution of the film.

Talking about his role in the film, actor Om Puri said, "While in East is East, the protagonist George was caught between two cultures - Pakistani and British, in West is West, he is caught between two relationships. I really enjoyed playing these emotions."

Leslee Udwin, the producer for West is West (as also East is East) said he was looking forward to the release of the film in India.

On the choice of 52 Weeks Entertainment Inc for the film's India distribution, Udwin said, "There were two territories in which the choice of distributor was of great importance to me - the UK and India/Pakistan; partly because I know the film will perform superbly in the territories if correctly handled, and partly because the team of actors and crew come from those countries and so I felt a big responsibility there."

"I knew instinctively that Suniel Wadhwa was the distributor for this film due to his sensibilities and a clinching moment was when I took him into the cutting room and showed him a few of the work-in-progress scenes of the film to gauge his reaction to them. He laughed heartily at the funny scenes and, yes, he cried in the more serious scene I showed him. It was then that I knew he and the film were a great fit. In the past he has also handled similar crossover films. And I am thrilled to entrust my precious 'baby' to him."

Says Wadha, "West is West is a ground-breaking film which broke cultural barriers around the world. Like its predecessor, the sequel has opened to a phenomenal response in UK this week."

As a strategy, in India the film is set for an April release along with North America and Canada. The producers said the timing of the India release is in keeping with the World Cup and examination time.

"These kinds of films grow with word of mouth for which you would require time. A deferred release helps the movie to ride on the international box office success and reviews," they said.

Written by Ayub Khan (also the writer for East is East), West Is West is based on and inspired by autobiographical events, and produced by the same creative team.

The sequel takes the Khan family on a journey from Salford, England to rural Pakistan. West is West is as much the coming of age story of 13-year-old Sajid as of his father, 60-year-old George ("Ghengis") Khan.

George, in a last attempt to make a good Muslim and a good son of him, decides to pack Sajid off to his first wife and family in Punjab, whom he had abandoned 30 years earlier. In the process the tables are turned on George when he comes face to face with his own transgressions, and realizes that it is he himself who has much to learn.

The film is directed by Andy De Emmony (BAFTA nominated) and produced by Leslee Udwin (BAFTA winner).

Besides Om Puri, the film stars Linda Bassett, Jimi Mistry, Emil Marwa, Ila Arun, Lesley Nicoll, Vijay Raaz and introduces the cocky and lovable Aqib Khan. And once again Om Puri holds ground as the tyrannical patriarch as only he can. The music of the film is by Shankar-Eshaan-Loy and Rob Lane.

The film has been acclaimed and applauded across international festivals last year winning the audience choice award at the London Film festival (October 2010).

The film had its world premiere at a gala screening at the Toronto Film Festival (September 2010), was the opening film at the International Film Festival of India (IFFI) (December 2010) besides being at the gala at the Abu Dhabi Film Festival (October 2010) and the Dublin Film Festival, (February 2011).

The original film East is East won upwards of 36 international awards (including the BAFTA, IFFI, and Special Prize at Cannes where it played to a standing ovation in the official selection of Director’s Fortnight).

Beloved of audiences around the world, this has been a dazzling cross-over British film, which has also become something of a classic, and is even a set book on the curriculum of some European schools.