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'If Choli Ke Peeche was vulgar, DK Bose is a sin'

Jun 17, 2011

Last Friday saw the release of West is West, the interesting sequel to East is East that was released more than a decade ago.

Ila Arun, singer, theatre and film actor, plays a pivotal role as the wife left behind in Pakistan who is suddenly visited by her husband (Om Puri) and the family he has had with his English wife.

Here, she speaks to Patcy N about the film, her acting and singing career, and makes some caustic comments on popular hits like D K Bose, the gharana system in the film industry, and reality shows.

You are part of a film which is a hit. So what made you sign West is West?

I was interested in the film because I have lived in London for a while, but when I went there for the first time, I was very na ve. I had gone from Jaipur and I was the bhenji-type. Also I have seen many Asians -- Indians and Pakistanis -- married to British women and I would wonder whether the man has been honest to the woman, has he told her all about his life back in his country. I could understand their humility and rigidity and inhibitions.

I've seen that British women are more willing to adjust than the Asian men they are married to, even those who come to India and marry Indian men. Take Shashiji's (Kapoor) wife Jennifer. She was his great support. 

Eleven years ago when I saw East is East I liked it because it was about the writer Abdul-din Khan's own experience and so it was realistic. Throughout that film George Khan keeps saying 'Don't forget there is Mrs Khan', but she never appeared in the film and I was very curious about her. Eleven years later, they make a sequel and approach me to play the part! It's destiny - the first international film that is offered to me is the role of Mrs Khan.

So, I did not have any second thoughts and grabbed it as it would be my first international film too. Audiences will be curious to know who Mrs Khan is, what type of person she is.