There’s a new ‘couple’ in town, it seems, if actor Ila Arun is to be believed. Well, it’s not really a new couple that Arun is speaking of, since the pairing she is speaking of is that of actors Om Puri and Linda Bassett, who first came together eleven years ago in the BAFTA-winning flick East Is East and now return in its smash-hit sequel, West Is West.
The two, Puri and Bassett, played husband and wife George and Ella Khan in 1999’s blockbuster comic drama set in Britain, about a traditional Pakistani father with control issues who finds his family, a Brit wife and six kids, rebelling against his rigid, sub-continental values. Written using inspiration from his own life by award-winning playwright Ayub Khan Din, the film picked up the BAFTA for Best British Film that year.
Now, when the sequel, West Is West, was being shot, Ila Arun tells MovieTalkies.com that Puri and Bassett’s chemistry on sets was exactly like that of an actual husband and wife, while she actually lived the role of a spouse abandoned for thirty years. In the new film, Ila plays Basheera Khan, George’s first wife, who he abandons in Pakistan to find himself a new life in the UK. "To get into the skin of the character, I actually kept very little interaction with Linda on the sets until I actually had my first scene with her, while she and Omji had the chemistry of an actual married couple on the sets," says Ila.
Now, with producer Leslee Udwin saying Ila is a revelation in the film while calling Linda and Om "fantastic actors", it waits to be seen whether audiences too find a connect with West Is West.