"I see it as a natural bookend to the first film," says Andy deEmorry of West is West, a decade-in-the-making sequel to 1999's hit comedy East is East. "Whereas the first film sort of looked at a family that was fragmenting, I think our movie finds them sort of pulling back together."
Written once again by Ayub-Khan Din, who draws heavily in his work on his childhood memories of growing up with a British Pakistani father and a white British mother, West is West focuses on a character largely seen as an author surrogate -- Sajid Khan (Aquib Khan), now 15 years old and feeling like an outsider by virtue of his cultural heritage.
The film opens in England but quickly shifts the scene to Pakistan, where patriarch George Khan (Om Puri) attempts to show his youngest son his roots.
"We were keen to start the film is a world that everyone recognizes," says deEmmory, accounting for why the early sequences feel almost like outtakes from East is East. "It's a daunting challenge to follow that film, because I think it broke a lot of new ground. But I think that this film is a very different journey."
The director adds that shooting on location in Pakistan was interesting in that they didn't have to do a lot to make it look like the mid-1970s (the film takes place in 1975, five years after the events of East is East). "We had to watch out for the odd satellite dish, but as we moved further into the wilds, closer to the Himalayas, we found that the villages hadn't changed very much."
By contrast, trying to finesse the British locations to look authentic proved much more difficult.
"We contacted the city council in Manchester, and found that they were going to bulldoze terrace roads. There were two streets left, in the middle of rubble. So that's what we worked with -- and the moment we were finished, they knocked it all down."