Almost a year after Ayub Khan-Din's London hit, East is East, got a respected New York staging, the award-winning film version of the tough hearted, comic chronicle of a mixed race family in London, gets its American release April 16.
Khan-Din penned the screenplay from his play, seen in New York in a co production between The New Group and Manhattan Theatre Club in May 1999. Damien O'Donnell directed the picture, which won Best Picture (British) at the 2000 British Academy Awards.
The Miramax release from FilmFour and Assassins Films features Om Puri and Linda Bassett as the domineering Pakistani father and a liberal English mother, respectively, in England in 1971. Six siblings represented the family's conflicting traditions, mores and loyalties.
The play, Khan-Din's first, was a success at the Royal Court Theatre in London in 1996 and won the Writers' Guild Awards for Best New Writer and Best West End Play. The playwright was seen as an actor in the films, "My Beautiful Launderette" and "Sammy and Rosie Get Laid."
Director Scott Elliott, artistic director of The New Group, stage East is East. The play, which concerns siblings breaking away and/or accepting their father's traditional Muslim life, was first produced on tour and in London by The English Stage Company and Tamasha Theatre Company. The smell of cooking "chips" -- French fries -- filled MTC Stage I, making hungry theatregoers squirm. In the play, the family runs a fish and chip shop.
For more information about the film, try the web site at www.eastiseastmovie.com.
-- By Kenneth Jones