Asia House Film Festival movie released in UK

Pan Asian Film Festival shows director Shan Khan's film 'Honour'

A still from Honour

Asia House Film Festival movie released in UK

04 April 2014

By Naomi Canton

Honour, a film about honour killings in the UK, had a limited release at cinemas in the UK today. The film was premiered at the Asia House Pan-Asia Film Festival.

Director Shan Khan said he hoped the film would raise awareness of the difficult topic of honour killings.

“This is not only a British Asian problem. Let’s not shove it under the carpet and expect others to deal with it. It is all of our problems,” he said.

Khan did extensive research on honour killing cases to make the movie and said it was not a direct replica of any one honour killing in the UK, but based on research into many cases.

He said he deliberately made it entertaining as first and foremost that is why people go to the cinema.

Shooting of the film, which stars many newcomers, started in December 2011.

Khan said he tried to show all sides of the older brother, Kasim, who wants to kill his sister for losing the family honour and not portray him as one-dimensional, but rather to show his torment as well. There is no father figure in the British Asian Muslim family in the film. Kasim, his younger brother Adel and sister, Mona, live with their mother. “An Asian son often ends up becoming a surrogate husband and father, if the father is not there,” Khan said

Kasim has a job as a policeman and Khan says he did that deliberately to “wind up certain people” by the juxtaposition they would not expect – that this Asian man who wants to kills his sister to save the family honour, is also the person who protects the community.

“These are the paradoxes we have in multicultural Britain,” he said. He said he also wanted to show through the mother figure that “Asian mothers can be quite manipulative of their sons” and not every Asian mother was like the one in Bend It Like Beckham.

The film was made on a £2.5m budget and produced very quickly, taking under two years to being released.

Khan said he was delighted to get an actor with the gravitas of Paddy Considine, known for playing psychopaths and loners, to play the white bounty hunter.

“I went to Derby to meet him in person. My producer said ‘you have to get him to sign.’ I took him to the pub and he said ‘I’ll do it for the money’ and we chatted about football, music and kids. He took quite a bit of the budget but he did it and that was really important.”

Shubham Saraf, who plays Adel, said this was his first big break after auditioning for years. “The majority of roles I get to see are very stereotypical but ever so often a film like Honour will come along.”

To read the Asia House review of Honour click here.

To read more about the Asia House Pan-Asia Film Festival 2014, which took place earlier this year, click here.