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West Is West Review

Review by IndiaGlitz [ Saturday, June 11, 2011 • Hindi ]
West Is West Review
Aqib Khan, Om Puri, Linda Bassett, Robert Pugh, Raj Bhansali
Andy De Emmony
Leslee Udwin
Rob Lane, Shankar Ehsaan Loy

'West Is West' turns out to be the kind of film that just about manages to pass muster without making you feel overtly engaged with the characters or empathising with them. Also, it doesn't have the kind of humour which would result in audience spreading a strong word of mouth. However for a select urban audience hunting for a kind of film which looks and unfolds differently from a regular Bollywood flick, 'West Is West' makes for a lazy one time watch.

Om Puri, an illiterate Pakistani living a middle class existence in UK with a British wife (Linda Bassett), wants his children to be attached to their 'desi' roots. He wants his elder son to be married to a Pakistani girl and in the process also hopes that his visit to his native place in the sub continent would instil 'being rooted' sense in his youngest son (Aqib Khan). His stay in Pakistan comes with its own complexity as 30 years back he had left behind his wife (Ila Arun) and a daughter to fend on their own. Matters only become worse when Lind too lands up in the same village searching for Puri.

The very plot line as above gives good indication that 'West Is West' is a serious drama instead of being a comedy. However to make the film commercial, director Andy DeEmmony has tried filling in moments here and there to make the proceedings light hearted. Does that succeed? Not really as there is not even a single scene in the film that results in 'fall off the chair' moment.

Moreover there are elements of philosophy thrown in for good measure as well, what with Aqib finding company in a 'Pir Baba' who gives him a free hand to go and explore life. Even otherwise the conflicts aren't explored to the fullest. To film's credit though, the relationship between Ila Arun and Linda Bassett is established well though, especially in the scene where two bare their heart without understanding the language.

What also keeps the film running especially in the first half, is an endearing and natural act by Aqib. Whether it's the cuss-filled language that he speaks, the little expressions that he throws around and the naughty camaraderie that he shares with a local Pakistani boy, it is all done well. Om Puri delivers a good performance but let the fact be stated that the scenes written for him aren't the kind that allow him to demonstrate any great histrionics. Vijay Raaz is fine but he does much better in earlier films. Linda looks stiff though Ila acts every bit a bitter woman who hasn't seen her husband for three decades. Other supporting actors are just okay while Jimi Mistry is there for only a (half cooked) scene.

So eventually the question that comes to one's mind is - 'What do you expect from a film that labels itself as a 'humorous' film?' The answer is humour, right? And how do you feel when it is this very fact that goes missing in a film? Well, cheated.

This is exactly what my sentiments were when end credits started rolling for 'West Is West'. Humour turned out to be far and few and at times, even repetitive. What the film gave in the end was dollops of drama, emotions and even some tear jerker moments. End result? A film which is certainly not a bad watch but isn't quite the product that was originally promised.

Rating: **1/2

Rating: 0 / 5.0

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