“East is East has been a big part of my life”
IF there is one ‘East is East’ cast member who has more than anybody to thank for the blockbuster success of the film it has to be one Jimi Mistry. The 1999 film helped launch a career that has taken the actor to Hollywood and beyond. Jimi returns to our screens this month as the rebellious Khan sibling ‘Tariq’ in West is West. Here he reveals why he would do anything for the ‘East is East’ big screen journey
Jimi on THE CHANGE IN HIS CHARACTER
Tariq Khan has changed in ‘West is West’ into a bit of a transcendental George Harrison hippie character, and we see him doing what he is best at, which is chatting the lovely Esther up. Although Tariq has now changed, his objective is almost the same, which is to impress lovely ladies.
He’s in business with Nazir — they have a shop together, which is a spiritual shop that Tariq runs and works in. I think he’s still very much (although now as a chilled out version) a rebel without a cause.
Jimi on HIS NEW LITTLE BROTHER
One of my best friends Chris Bisson, who played my other brother Salim in ‘East is East’, bumped into Jordan Routledge, the first boy who played Sajid in ‘East is East’, recently in Leeds. He’s in his early twenties, he’s got kids and he is an accountant, cooler than the rest of us. I think Aqib is the perfect Sajid! He’s got the talent, energy and the cheek to carry this character. He is perfect for this role. He’s a good lad. And it’s actually amazing how similar he looks. And he’s got a really cutting sense of humour, which is definitely suited to this film.
Jimi on BEING CAST IN West is West
I got a call from Leslee, the producer, and she said ‘it’s happening’. I actually thought she was calling me tell me ‘it’s happening, but sadly you are not in it’, which I kind of prepared myself for because I heard that it was about other members of the family. FINE! Honestly, do it without me, I DON’T CARE! But she rang me and said ‘we’d really love to have you. People will really love to know what happens to Tariq and get a flash of his life at this part of the story. So it would great if you could come in and do your bit.’ I said of course I would. I’ve worked with Leslee and Ayub for such a long time. I was involved with the ‘East is East’ play as well. It’s been a big part of my life and the springboard for my career. I will always be there for it. So I came back and I’d say: Thank you for having me back!
Jimi on KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH THE cast FROM EAST IS EAST
Since we made the first film, we made a bond that we will always be brothers.. Obviously there are some people who I haven’t kept in touch with, such as Om. I did other films with Om but I haven’t seen him for 7 or 8 years. It’s quite emotional seeing him and Linda, who I haven’t seen for 4 or 5 years. I unfortunately just missed seeing Auntie Annie, Lesley, which is a shame. Apparently we were on the same platform on the train; I was getting off while she was getting on. It’s been really great, like a family reunion.
Jimi on WHAT WILL FOLLOW WEST IS WEST?
North is North and South is South. Obviously the first was my film. The second one was Sajid’s film. The third is going to be mine. The fourth one is going to be about me and my girlfriend Ester. Yeah, I think Tariq is going to reclaim his crown in the next one!
West is West is released across the UK on 25th February 2011