Subject Material

East is East - Working with the Film

Published: 21.09.2011, Updated: 04.03.2017
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A mixed marriage can offer many challenges. Even more if you add seven children...! The film East is East deals with a mixed marriage. However, don't expect a gloomy and serious film, the playwright Ayud Khan-Din has packed the conflicts in a humorous wrapping.

Before you start watching the film, make sure that you know the meaning of the words listed below.

Multicultural BritainMulticultural Britain

  • mixed marriage
  • arranged marriage
  • racism
  • culture clash
  • multicultural
  • reluctantly
  • alcohol consumption
  • ordeal
  • pork
  • mosque
  • humiliated
  • violence
  • supportive

Play and Film Version

This comedy-drama film is based on a play written by British Pakistani actor and playwright, Ayud Khan-Din. He was born in Manchester to a British-Pakistani father and a British mother. His play depicts the life of children living in two very different cultures. The setting, characters and storyline are taken from his childhood experiences.

Setting

Set in the 1970’s, we follow the story of a working class family; Pakistani (Muslim) immigrant George Khan, his British (Catholic) wife and their seven children. George is determined to raise his children in a proper Muslim way, in spite of the fact that they are born and raised in England. The children reluctantly attend a Muslim school on Saturdays where they learn the Koran in order to keep their father happy. Their thoughts are elsewhere – hanging out, dating, and even the forbidden acts of alcohol consumption and sex.

Characters and Plot

George’s plan seems to be faring well, but takes a drastic turn as the issue of “arranged marriage” surfaces for a second time. George is secretly planning to marry off two of his sons. The family has been through this ordeal once before, which resulted in a broken family, when the eldest son ran off on the day of his arranged marriage. His father was humiliated and furious and he immediately cut him off from the family. To George, his son was "dead".

When the children get wind of their father’s plan, they slowly turn against him. George’s world is falling apart as he loses control and turns to violence as a last resort. Ella, his wife of 25 years, is caught in the middle as she tries to balance her role as a supportive wife and a mother. Whose side does she take?

Culture Clash

With a comical twist, the plot is woven around issues of religion and identity.The story offers an inside view of a multicultural family struggling to find peace with themselves.   

Tasks and Activities

Watch the Trailer

Note the major character, the plot and the setting.

East is East Trailer  

 

Vocabulary

To practise vocabulary you can try this task: East is East - Vocabulary   

 

Further Work with the Film

East is East - Tasks     

 

 

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