In 1976 Salford, George and Ella (Puri and Bassett) only have one child left at home, 15-year-old Sajid (Khan). And he's a real handful, feeling even more fiercely English than his older siblings. So George decides to cart him off to the Old Country to gain some respect for his heritage. What George doesn't count on is learning a lesson himself, because once in Pakistan he's confronted with the life he left 30 years earlier, including a wife (Arun) and daughters who have been waiting for him.
Yes, the most moving journey in the film is George's. We know fairly quickly that Sajid will be ok; he's young enough to have the cockiness knocked out of him quickly by a local friend (Bhansali) and soon gets busy finding a wife for his older brother Maneer (Marwa). But George's stubborn inability to listen to anyone goes deeper, and so does his story. Especially when Ella turns up to see why they haven't come home as planned.
The opening scenes in England are played mainly for laughs, pitting the pig-headed George and Sajid against the long-suffering Ella. There's even a witty cameo for Mistry as womanising older brother Tariq. Once in Pakistan things get more serious, and while scenes are tinged with humour they're also more thoughtful. The best elements are the moments between Puri and both Arun and Bassett, while Khan keeps us engaged as we follow Sajid's adventures, although a strange sideroad involving a sudden dust storm is a contrived (and unsuccessful) attempt to add some suspense.
In the end, the film has a lot to say about learning to see the people and places around us in order to better understand how we fit into the world.
There's a real sense that lasting relationships are what's important, no matter where you are. And also that being true to yourself and those you love might not mean what you think it does.
Run time: 103 mins
In Theaters: Friday 25th February 2011
Box Office Worldwide: $3.9M
Distributed by: D Films
Production compaines: BBC Films, Assassin Films
Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5
Rotten Tomatoes: 68%
Fresh: 15 Rotten: 7
IMDB: 6.5 / 10
Director: Andy DeEmmony
Producer: Leslee Udwin
Screenwriter: Ayub Khan-Din
Starring: Aqib Khan as Sajid Khan, Om Puri as George Khan, Linda Bassett as Ella Khan, Robert Pugh as Mr. Jordan, Thomas Russell as Hughsy (Bully), Jimi Mistry as Tariq Khan, Vanessa Hehir as Esther, Lesley Nicol as Auntie Annie
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