West is West, 2010, 3 ½ stars

West  is best of South Asian Film Festival

From The Orlando Weekly, October 3, 2012

The South Asian Film Festival opens with some familiar faces. West is West, a British comedy/drama set mostly in Pakistan, reintroduces us to the dysfunctional Khan family of England, who we met in 1999’s East is East. The Khans have faced crises before thanks to the Pakistani beliefs of father George (Om Puri), who often clashes with his sons and English wife. This time it’s George’s youngest son, Sajid (Aqib Khan), who is rebelling, and the solution seems to be a trip to Pakistan to show him his roots.

What we expect to be the son’s coming-of-age story turns into a tale of life lessons relearned by the father. Indeed, in an unexpectedly rich and touching commentary on Pakistani-English cultural differences, we learn that George – Jahangir in his native Punjabi – is the patriarch of not just his British family but also the one he left behind 30 years before.

“I don’t know who I’m supposed to be,” Sajid laments. By the end of director Andy De Emmony’s well-crafted creation, which is the best of this year’s festival, both Sajid and George have completed a life-altering journey to find their answer.

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