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India over Pakistan

Om Puri’s West is West denied permission to shoot in Pakistan due to security concerns and British company’s rules.

bollywood Updated: Jun 11, 2011 15:25 IST
Priyanka Jain
Priyanka Jain
Hindustan Times
West is West

Om Puri's West is West was forced to change its shooting location from Pakistan to India over security and insurance issues. Says producer Leslie Udwin, “The story is set in Pakistan and we were keen to shoot there. The writer of the film, Ayub Khan Din and I had even done a recce, but the British Insurance Company refused to cover us if we went ahead with shooting in Pakistan." She adds, “Thankfully, since the topography of Punjab is similar to that of Pakistan, we didn't lose out on much.”

Eventually Leslie hired set designer Aradhana Seth, who recreated the feel of Pakistan in a small town in Punjab. Seth, who has earlier worked on Don says, "My team and I traveled to Pakistan and picked up props to give an authentic effect to a house that was built from scratch in Punjab." However Om Puri was a bit upset that he couldn't shoot in Pakistan. He says, “Production decisions around films should be kept above business decisions. I would have loved to shoot in Pakistan. I had been there long ago and love the place.”

Om PuriOm Puri's character in the film is a rural Pakistani man who moves to England in search of a better life. The sequel, directed by Andy De Emmony is set five years after East Is East (Part 1), where the Khan family is shown to be taking a journey from Salford, England to rural Pakistan. It's a coming of age story of 13-year-old Sajid and his father, 60-year-old George Khan. In his last attempt to instill family values in his son, George packs him off to his first wife and family in Punjab, which he had abandoned 30 years earlier.