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Movie Analysis: East is East and Loins of Punjab Comparison

Loins of Punjab Presents (Acharya, 2007)

Loins of Punjab is an Indian English-language comedy-drama film that follows the lives of a diverse cast of characters in the Indian diaspora. Manish Acharya directed the film, which depicts four people competing in a reality show called Loins of Punjab. The film is set in New Jersey and follows the stories of four people who have migrated from India for various reasons and now live in the United States of America with different objectives and goals. Their presence in the film demonstrates that these characters can confront and negotiate various cultural norms and expectations regarding their homeland and the United States of America, as well as how they express their personal experiences. Therefore it can be drawn that the Loins film is a moving piece of entertainment that focuses on immigrants’ lives and the complexities of being a diaspora.

Themes of the Movie

Loins of Punjab offers a unique perspective on the South Asian Diaspora and the transnational cultural studies that surround it. The various protagonists presented in this film live in the United States but have strong ties to their homeland in India (Desai, 2004). The film explores the complexities of the South Asian diaspora and the related issues of identity, culture, and belonging through these characters. The film commences with the introduction of two main characters, Jaspal and Pinky, immigrants. Both immigrants left their homes in India for a better life in the United States. Throughout the film, we see their struggles to find a place in their new home and maintain their cultural identity. Just two of the many South Asian immigrants who underwent a comparable journey are Jaspal and Pinky. According to Desai (2004), diaspora is a potent theoretical tool for understanding the international experiences of South Asian immigrants who, despite being geographically dispersed, have developed a shared sense of identity and culture. As they travel between India and the United States, the characters in Loins of Punjab Presents illustrate this idea of transnational identity.

The relationship between Hollywood and South Asian diasporic cinema is another theme covered in the film. It can be said that South Asian diasporic films are, in part, a response to the dominant Hollywood film industry, with its ubiquitous impact on the representation of South Asians (Desai, 2004). This is demonstrated by Loins of Punjab, where the movie combines aspects of Bollywood and Hollywood filmmaking. The film features elements of conventional Bollywood filmmaking, including vibrant costumes, intricate dance sequences, and a love interest (Scarlata, 2013). A linear plot and the usage of popular music are two Hollywood movie tropes that are also adopted by this work. The film exemplifies how South Asian diasporic films blend Bollywood and Hollywood aesthetics to provide distinctive cinematic experiences.

On the other hand, the Loins of Punjab Presents, as directed by Manish Acharya, can be termed a lighthearted comedy that addresses the social and political problems that the South Asian diaspora faces. The film emphasizes the complicated connection between Bollywood and the South Asian diaspora. In order to preserve her Punjabi heritage and foster ties with other South Asian immigrants, Prashant, a Punjabi woman living in the United States, opts to organize a singing competition. The film features a variety of South Asian characters attempting to balance their cultural history with their present-day lifestyles in the United States.

“Loins of Punjab Presents” demonstrates how South Asian diasporic films can contradict the conventional Bollywood narrative regarding its influence on Bollywood. The struggle of South Asian immigrants to reconcile their history with their present existence in the United States is portrayed in the film. The conventional Bollywood narrative, which frequently depicts South Asian immigrants as the “model minority” and stresses their success in their new contexts, contrasts sharply with this (Khubchandani, 2016). Moreover, the film offers a more accurate and nuanced perspective of the South Asian diaspora by examining the cultural and political problems frequently ignored in conventional Bollywood films. The film also discusses the cultural politics of films produced by the South Asian diaspora. The film examines how South Asian immigrants are frequently compelled to choose between their home countries and their new life in America. The character of Prashant, who fights to integrate into her new environment while also attempting to preserve her Punjabi heritage in the United States, is an excellent example of this (Khubchandani, 2016). The movie can examine the complicated problems with identity, belonging, and cultural heritage that many South Asian immigrants deal with via the lens of this character.


Representations of South Asian Identity

The film makes an effort to discuss the South Asian diaspora’s cultural politics and tells the stories of various competitors in a singing competition modelled after Indian Idol. The people in the movie come from different origins and reflect a variety of South Asian diaspora races, faiths, and social levels (Ganti, 2012). The film tries to capture the complexity of South Asian identities, from African-Americans who converted to Islam to Indian immigrants.

The film also features a variety of traditions and practices, such as South Asian wedding ceremonies and more traditional Indian music. These depictions of South Asian identity highlight the diverse identities of those living in the diaspora and how their environment affects who they are (Ganti, 2012). The audience can learn about the various ways South Asians express their identities and live their lives through the characters in the movie. In addition to the many personalities, the movie also features several South Asian cultural symbols and images. The Taj Mahal and other images from South Asia’s rich cultural legacy are featured in the movie. The richness of South Asian culture is emphasized through the use of traditional Indian music, Bangladeshi and Pakistani flags, and traditional South Asian attire.

Impact of Transnationalism on Cultural Politics

The effect of transnationalism on cultural politics is also addressed in Loins of Punjab Presents while examining the lives of various singer competition competitors and how their global identities affect them (Acharya, 2007). The film depicts how the various characters’ lives are influenced by the nations and cultures they originate from and how they symbolize the diversity of the South Asian diaspora. The movie also deals with the problem of cultural appropriation because the characters are depicted as using aspects of other cultures to their advantage in the competition (Desai, 2004). The film also touches on cultural hegemony as the protagonists are depicted utilizing their international identities to get an advantage in the competition. As they seek to balance their various cultural roots with their global identities, the many characters in the movie similarly battle with the idea of identity.

The portrayal of the South Asian Diaspora in the film

The lives of South Asian diasporic people are fascinatingly revealed through Loins of Punjab Presents. The film explores the various effects that the candidates’ transnational identities have on their daily lives as they compete in a singing competition akin to “Indian Idol” (Desai, 2004). The audience can learn about the various ways South Asians express their identities and live their lives through the characters in the movie. Additionally, because the protagonists are depicted as utilizing their international identities to get an advantage over the competition, the film also confronts the problem of cultural hegemony (Ganti, 2012). The movie also addresses the topic of cultural appropriation because the characters are depicted as using aspects of many cultures to their advantage in the competition.

East is East (O’Donnell, 1999)


A Pakistani man and his seven children are the protagonists of the British comedy-drama East, set in Salford, England. The movie chronicles the challenges of the Khan family as they attempt to uphold their Pakistani ancestry and culture while coping with their father’s rigid and conventional expectations of them (Gopan & Sweta, 2022). As the Khan children must negotiate the cultural gap between their parents’ traditional ideals and the contemporary world around them, themes of identity, culture and family relationships are explored. Ella Khan, his British-born wife, is more sympathetic to her children’s existence in Britain and struggles to understand her husband’s demanding standards for their kids (Höppner, 2011). The Khan children have to strike a balance between their father’s expectations and their wants and experiences in their new house as the movie goes on. The movie depicts the cultural gap between the Khan families, giving viewers a thorough understanding of the challenges that people from the South Asian diaspora confront when juggling two very different cultures (O’Donnell et al., 2000). The complexity of family dynamics, identity, and cultural expectations, as well as how they interact and clash in the contemporary world, are highlighted in the book East is East.

Themes of the Film

The British-Asian comedy-drama East explores a Pakistani-British family’s 1970s cultural difficulties. It depicts George Khan, a Pakistani father, struggling to uphold traditional Pakistani values while raising his six children in Salford, England (O’Donnell et al., 2000). The movie follows George as he tries to honour his Pakistani roots as his kids struggle to fit in with British culture. In her book Beyond Bollywood, Desai (2004) covers South Asian Diasporas and transnational cultural studies. According to her, “South Asian diasporic movies have evolved into a means of expressing a common experience and forming a collective identity” (Desai, 2004). This is made clear in the movie East is East, which examines the tensions between Pakistan and Britain by fusing their respective cultures and customs. For instance, the movie frequently contrasts British and Pakistani practices to show how the two cultures collide. For instance, George is furious when his eldest son, Nazir (Ian Aspinall), weds his British fiancée. According to Sedgeley and O’Donnell (1999), he insists that Nazir wed a Pakistani woman. This scene demonstrates how the British culture of free love and the Pakistani tradition of arranged marriage collide.

Desai (2004) also looks at the connection between Hollywood and the South Asian diaspora in her book. A type of cultural negotiation between South Asian diasporic groups and Hollywood; according to the author, South Asian diasporic films are “not just a form of cultural resistance” (Desai, 2004). This is shown in the movie East is East, which blends aspects of Bollywood and Hollywood cinema to create a hybrid. The movie, for instance, combines elements of Bollywood, such as song and dance, with parts of the traditional Hollywood comedy-drama genre, such as comic relief. Combining different genres, the movie can appeal to South Asian and western audiences, forging a fascinating cultural fusion.

A fascinating examination of the cultural politics of South Asian diasporic films and their influence on Bollywood is offered by East is East. The movie centers on the challenges of the Khan family, a British-Pakistani family who resides in the UK, to strike a balance between their Pakistani and British identities (Walsh, 1999). The father of the family, George, is the center of the movie and strives to instill traditional Pakistani values in his children. On the other hand, his kids are increasingly embracing British culture. The movie explores how South Asian diasporic films have influenced Bollywood by illustrating how the Khan family is compelled to balance their British identity with their Pakistani heritage. Moreover, this film frequently features George’s attempts to preserve Pakistani culture in the face of the growing influence of British culture (Donnell, 2002). Bollywood films like Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge, which depicts a young Indian man’s quest to balance his Indian culture with his British identity, resonate with this issue.

The movie also discusses the cultural politics of films produced in the South Asian diaspora. The struggle of the Khan family to integrate their Pakistani culture with their British identity is an example of how South Asian diasporic films engage in cultural politics. The movie depicts the Khan family’s struggle to balance their Pakistani culture and British identity as they navigate a challenging cultural landscape (Donnell, 2002). This conflict reflects the larger cultural politics of South Asian diasporic movies, which frequently highlight the challenges of blending two cultures. The movie also looks at the dynamics surrounding gender and religion in South Asian diasporic movies. His children’s attempts to adopt British culture and reject traditional Pakistani values put George’s efforts to uphold traditional Pakistani values and to nurture his children in accordance with these beliefs to the test (Ganti, 2012). This highlights the gender and religious politics prevalent in South Asian diaspora movies, frequently highlighting the conflict between traditional values and modernity.


A Pakistani family is depicted in Salford, England, in the 1970s comedy-drama film East. The movie centers on George Khan, a father and husband from Pakistan who struggles to uphold his culture in an overwhelmingly white English society (Kazanc, 2021). The South Asian diaspora is examined concerning the movie’s themes of cultural identity, family dynamics, and diaspora (Gopan & Sweta, 2022). The obstacles and problems that South Asians who live overseas must overcome are perfectly shown in this movie as it exemplifies the South Asian diaspora experience. As George tries to preserve his Pakistani identity, the movie emphasizes the contrasts between traditional Pakistani culture and the mainstream culture of England. As George tries to force his traditional Pakistani beliefs on his family, the movie also examines the effects of transnationalism on cultural politics. At the same time, they gradually acclimate themselves to their new surroundings in England.

One of the most striking parts of East is East is how South Asian identity is portrayed. The patriarch of the family, George Khan, is portrayed as a rigid traditional figure who is adamant about upholding traditional Pakistani values. He is frequently portrayed as the family’s dictator, trying to impose his way on his kids. However, all of his children are starting to reject their Pakistani heritage and are more receptive to assimilating into the culture of England (Gopan & Sweta, 2022). This is demonstrated by adopting various languages, attire, and hairstyles, all of which denote a rejection of their Pakistani ancestry. A major issue in “East is East” is how transnationalism affects cultural politics. As his children gradually become acclimated to their new environment in England, George encounters resistance in his attempts to uphold his Pakistani heritage by imposing his traditional beliefs on his family (Höppner, 2011). This is shown in a scene where George forbids his kids from going to the movies, only to have his son retaliate. The power struggle between George’s conventional ideals and those of his children is exemplified.

In addition, a vital aspect of this movie is how the South Asian diaspora is portrayed. The struggle of South Asians residing abroad to strike a balance between their own cultural identity and that of their new country of residence is depicted in the movie. This is demonstrated by the struggles the Khan family faces as they blend their Pakistani culture with the prevailing English culture (Kazanc, 2021). The Khan family frequently encounters hostility and bigotry from their English neighbours, another example of the widening gap between South Asians and the larger English culture. The film offers a complicated and fascinating glimpse into the nuances of South Asian identity and culture and is thus a superb illustration of the South Asian diaspora experience. Anyone interested in the South Asian experience must watch the movie since it examines cultural identity, family dynamics, and diaspora within the framework of the South Asian diaspora.


The films “East is East” and “Loins of Punjab Presents” offer a more in-depth examination of the issues of South Asian Diasporas and Transnational Cultural Studies. The relationship between South Asian Diasporic Films and Hollywood and the effect these films had on Bollywood was explored through these movies. Additional examination of the movies uncovered depictions of South Asian identity, the influence of transnationalism on cultural politics, and the movie’s depiction of the South Asian diaspora. The two movies provide light on the complexities of South Asian identity and how cultural and global forces influence it. It is clear from the analysis of South Asian diasporic cinema that these films’ cultural politics significantly impact how South Asian identity is portrayed. These movies also show how transnationalism influences South Asian cultural politics and identity and how these factors interact with Hollywood and Bollywood. The movies also emphasize how critical it is to comprehend the nuances of the South Asian diaspora and how it interacts with Bollywood and Hollywood.


Desai, J. (2004). Chapter One ‘South Asian Diasporas and Transnational Cultural Studies,’ Beyond Bollywood: The Cultural Politics of South Asian Diasporic Film. Routledge: New York. 1–32.

Desai, J. (2004). Chapter Two, ‘Between Hollywood and Bollywood’ Desai, Beyond Bollywood: The Cultural Politics of South Asian Diasporic Film. Routledge: New York.33-66.

Donnell, A. (2002). East is East. In Companion to Contemporary Black British Culture (pp. 128–134). Routledge.

Ganti, T. (2012). Sentiments of disdain and practices of distinction: boundary-work, subjectivity, and value in the Hindi film industry. Anthropological Quarterly, pp. 5–43.

Gopan, P., & Sweta, K. M. (2022). Critical understanding of the journey of Urinary Calculi from Inception till Cure. Journal of Ayurveda and Integrated Medical Sciences7(9), 127-138.

Höppner, K. (2011). East is East and Ae Fond Kiss: A Comparative Socio-linguistic Analysis. Explorations and Extrapolations: Applying English and American Studiespp. 14, 79.

Kazancı, G. (2021). Cultural Hybrid Identity and The Second-Generation Immigrants in East is East (1999). Journal of English Language and Literature Club3(2), 16–22.

Khubchandani, K. (2016). Terrifying Performances: Black-Brown-Queer Borrowings in Loins of Punjab Presents. Journal of Asian American Studies19(3), 275-297.

O’Donnell, D., Puri, O., Bassett, L., Routledge, J., Panjabi, A., Marwa, A., … & Nicol, L. (2000). East is east. Elleu Multimedia.

Scarlata, J. (2013). Outside/in: Performance and belonging in Loins of Punjab Presents…. South Asian Popular Culture11(1), 1–14.

Sedgeley, J. A., & O’Donnell, C. F. (1999). Factors influencing the selection of roost cavities by a temperate rainforest bat (Vespertilionidae: Chalinolobus tuberculatus) in New Zealand. Journal of Zoology249(4), 437–446.

Walsh, S. (1999). EAST IS EAST. Film Ireland, (73), p. 32.


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