East Is East

East Is East East is East is a play by Ayub Khan-Din, first produced by Tamasha Theatre Company in co-production with the Royal Court and Birmingham Repertory Theatre. It is often cited as one of the key works to bring Asian culture to mainstream British audiences. The play is published by Nick Hern Books. Ayub Khan-Din (born 1961 in Salford, Lancashire) is a British Pakistani actor and playwright. “When I began to write East is East, I was sitting at my kitchen table pouring out my life story bit by bit.
The first draft came incredibly quickly: there’s writing what you know and there’s writing what you’ve known your whole life” Given Circumstances · Who am I? Ella Khan, 46, Irish-Catholic, housewife, works in family shop · What time is it? Century? Year? Season? Day? Night? Early? Late? Date? 1970’s · Where am I? UK, Salford, family house, fish and chip shop · Who is here with me? Family (Husband, 7 children) · What are my relationships? Husband (George) – she loves him but doesn’t agree with everything he does
Children – she tries to protect them from George and what’s them to be happy · What is my super-objective? Feelings? I consider Ella as the “victim” of the film. It’s easy to understand that she loves her husband, and wants to please him, but when he starts to decide too much about their children, she doesn’t know what to do anymore · What is the obstacle? Is there more than one? She finds herself unable to stand up to George until he pushes her too far by abusing their children. Ella Khan Ella has a strong belief in freedom, fairness, family … and Salford.

Ella is ferociously protective of her kids. She’s learnt that society is hostile to them and also that their father is not prepared to allow them the freedom she herself feels they should have. So she spends a lot of her life fighting for them or keeping things from George to protect them from his anger. I think Ella is like someone who lives under an oppressive regime – she has had to develop cunning, she is sometimes passive, sometimes aggressive and will do anything to make allies. One thing she has above George is that she sees her situation with clarity.
He believes that moving to Bradford would solve their problems but Ella knows that the Pakistani community there, especially the women, will never accept her. This is why she has insisted on staying in Salford. Friendships with women are vital to her, with the affection and support they bring, and without Annie, Ella would perish. Whats the story? In EAST IS EAST, George (Om Puri), who is Pakistani, marries Ella (Linda Bassett) and they settle down in Manchester to have seven children and run a fish and chips shop.
George wants his children to adopt the religion and customs of Pakistan, yet oldest son Nazir objects to an arranged marriage and bolts in the middle of the wedding ceremony, and in all the family chaos, they have neglected to have their youngest son circumcised. With India at war with Pakistan, George’s fear of the loss of his homeland and culture makes him even more concerned about passing on that culture to his children.
They go to the mosque, grudgingly, but they feel like Brits and only one of the seven kids wants to live according to Pakistani traditions. The others want the freedom of Western culture. They may feel English, but they look Pakistani, and George fears that the culture they want will never accept them. His neighbors support a politician named Enoch Powell who is calling for repatriation of foreigners. But George and the neighbor do not know that their children are romantically involved.

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