Producer Leslee Udwin of the multi award winning British film East Is East and the recent sequel to it, West Is West was in an upbeat mood last night at the Yash Raj Studios. And who wouldn’t be when you have a standing ovation from the likes of Yash Chopra, Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, Shabana Azmi, Punit Malhotra, Chandan Roy Sanyal, Puja Gupta, Vaishali Desai, Pawan Malhotra, Govind Nihalani, Sudhir Mishra, Ehsaan and Loy.
Leslee Udiwin was in town and kept a discreet media free screening of her film West Is West for a group of selected film personalities to see the first response of her highly anticipated sequel to East Is East. The cast including Om Puri and Ila Arun were also present. But what shocked the guests present was the sheer passion with which Leslee introduced herself and her film.
She greeted the guests in Hindi, actually, fluent Hindi. Then thanked Yash Chopra, Om Puri, Ila Arun and Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy for their contribution to the film. And then in a matter of minutes, the curtains drifted apart and the cinematic spectacle began.
But it was the aftershock that Leslee was surprised with. West Is West was loved by all for its strong and poignant story telling. While the distinguished guests cheered and laughed at every possible ‘abuse’ coming from George Khan (Om Puri), they were all smitten by the young British talent Sajid played by Aqib Khan. Even Ila Arun was seen as a revelation in the film with her intensely strong portrayal of a married Muslim woman living without a husband in Pakistan.
Overall, West Is West received adulation from all the celebrity guests present more than just the cliche applaud. The night ended with Yash Chopra cutting a special West Is West cake giving out the message loud and clear that the films sweetness was entrenched in its honest story telling more than just some award winning performances.
Running in its fifteenth week in the UK, the film has grossed so far approximately 4.5 million dollars (20 crores and counting). If that isn’t awesomeness what is? West Is West premieres in Mumbai on June 9 with some high profile celebrities attending one of the most successful British films of all time. It’s time to see how the East reacts to this one now!