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East Is East Sajid Khan Characterization Essay

George Khan is like that performer on the old Ed Sullivan show, who tried to keep plates spinning simultaneously on top of a dozen poles. He runs from one crisis to another, desperately trying to defend his Muslim world view in a world that has other views. George is a Pakistani immigrant to England, living in Manchester in 1971 with his British wife and their unruly herd of seven children, and his plates keep falling off the poles.

As the movie opens, George glows proudly as his oldest son goes through the opening stages of an arranged marriage ceremony. The bride enters, veiled, and as she reveals herself to her future husband, we see that she is quite pretty--and that the would-be husband is terrified. "I can't do this, Dad!" he shouts, bolting from the hall. George is humiliated.


George is played by Om Puri, as a mixture of paternal bombast and hidebound conservatism. His wife, Ella (Linda Bassett), has worked by his side for years in the fish and chips shop at the corner of their street of brick working-class row houses. After their oldest son flees, they are left with a full house, including a neighborhood ladies' man, a shy son, a would-be artistic type, a jolly daughter and little Sajid, the youngest, who never, ever takes off his fur-trimmed parka. There is even a son who agrees with his father's values.

Puri plays George Khan as the Ralph Kramden of Manchester. He is bluff, tough, big, loud, and issues ultimatums and pronouncements, while his long-suffering wife holds the family together and practices the art of compromise. His own moral high ground is questionable: He upholds the values of the old country, yet has moved to a new one, taken a British wife although he left a Muslim wife behind in Pakistan, and is trying to raise multiracial children through monoracial eyes.

There's rich humor in his juggling act. His family is so large, so rambunctious and so clearly beyond his control that it has entirely escaped his attention that little Sajid has never been circumcised. When this lapse is discovered, he determines it is never too late to right a wrong and schedules the operation, despite the doubts of his wife and the screams of Sajid. And then there is the matter of the marriages he is trying to arrange for his No. 2 and No. 3 sons--oblivious of the fact that one of the boys is deeply in love with the blond daughter of a racist neighbor who is an admirer of Enoch ("Rivers of Blood") Powell, the anti-immigration figurehead (who has been confused in some reviews, perhaps understandably, with the 1930s fascist leader Oswald Mosley).

Of course the neighbor would have apoplexy if he discovered that his daughter was dating a brown boy. And George would have similar feelings, although more for religious reasons. One purpose of the rules and regulations of religions is to create in their followers a sense of isolation from non-believers, and what George is fighting, in the Britain of 1971, is the seduction of his children by the secular religion of pop music and fashion.

"East Is East" is related in some ways to "My Son, the Fanatic," another recent film starring Puri as an immigrant from Pakistan. In that one, the tables are turned: Puri plays a taxi driver who has drifted away from his religion and falls in love with a prostitute, while his son becomes the follower of a cult leader.


In both films, the tilt is against religion and in favor of romance on its own terms, but then all movie love stories argue for the lovers. Two recent Oscar winners, "Titanic" and "Shakespeare in Love," were both stories of romance across class lines, and "American Beauty" and "Boys Don't Cry" were about violating taboos; it could be that movie love stories are the most consistently subversive genre in the cinema, arguing always for personal choice over the disapproval of parents, church, ethnic groups or society itself.

If there is a weakness in "East Is East," it's that Om Puri's character is a little too serious for the comedy surrounding him. He is a figure of deep contradictions, trying to hold his children to a standard he has eluded his entire life. Perhaps the real love story in the movie is the one we overlook, between George and his wife Ella, who has stood by him through good times and bad, running the fish shop and putting up with his nonsense. When he blusters that he will bring over his first wife, who understands his thinking, Ella tells him, "I'm off if she steps foot in this country!" But he's bluffing. His own life has pointed the way for his children. It's just that he can't admit it, to them or himself.

Note: This is a provocative film, useful for discussions between parents and children. The "R" rating is inexplicable.

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East is East

Filmanmeldelse av "East is East".
Sjanger:Anmeldelse (bok, film...)Lastet opp:11.05.2010
Bilder:Denne oppgaven inneholder bilder.
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The movie East is East is a award-winning British comedy released in 1999. The movie is directed by Damien O`Donnell and the scrip is written by Ayub Khan-Din, who also wrote the the play by the same name, which the movie is based on. Actor and actresses taking part in the movie are among others Om Puri, as George Khan, Linda Bassett, as Ella Khan, Jimi Mistry, as Tariq Khan, and Jordan Routledge, as Sajid Khan.


The movie adresses cultural differences, circumcision, the urge to find our own unique identity in a society with a lot of influence from people around us, arranged marriages and family relationships.


The movie is sat to a half-pakistani household, with a british mother, Ella, and a pakistani father, George, in Salford near Manchester in 1971. George expects his children to respect him and to follow in his strict Pakistani ways of life, but they don`t share his opinions, and some of them refuce to behave as he tells them to while others do, at least in the beginning. This, as you probably can imagine, causes a lot of conflict within the familiy.


In the movie we meet George Khan, the main character, who`s married to the Britsih woman, Ella, and is the father of seven children, Tariq, Nazir, Abdul, Maneer, Saleem, Meenah and Sajid, who have all been borned and raised in Britain.


The movie opens with a wide, long distance shot of a street in Salford where we can see the children carrying a crucifix and a statue of the Virgin Mary and later hide from their father who`s home early from the mosque. This shows that they, right from the beginning of the film, disobey their father.


Ella and George has been married for 25 years and George believes he has to please both the British community and the Pakistani community. When their oldest son, Nazir, leaves his bride at the alter, Georges seems to collaps under the shame, but then he gets an idea. He will marry of two of his other sons, to regain the respect he lost. Ella finds herself trapt between the obligation towards her husband and her own desire for her sons` happiness. She decides not to tell them, fearing their reaction, which later is shown to be just as she feared, when they threatens to leave home.


While all of this is going on the youngest son Sajid is discovered to be uncircumcised. The boy is horrified at his father's plans to have the surgery carried out, and tries to resist, but in vain. Again Ella is put in a position where she has to choose between her husbond and child, and again she supports her husband. All throgh this George still has the marrige on his mind and agrees to have a gathering with Mr. Shah and his family. Mr. Shah is the father of George`s sons` brides-to-be. The gathering doesn`t go exactly as planed and ends up in even more conflict.


The camera was used in many differet angels to get the desired effect. In some scenes you could see the picture through a keyhol, which I believe was used to reinforce the meaning, and to drag the viewers attention or focus towards what was said.


The chararctor who changes the most through out the whole film is without a doubt George, who goes through a make over in the director`s camera. He starts of as a strict and stubborn father, who tend to think more of himself and about pleasing others than about his wife and childrens feeling and opinions, and ends up as a very confused, but still a better man, who needs to learn have to live with his familiy all over again.


I felt the movie was well presented and that the director did a very good job. The story was told from two sides, so that we got to know both the fathers- and the childrens point of view. Although the movie addressed serious social issues, it was directoed in a way that made it serious, but still fun and humorous, and I would truly recommend it.



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