Asia House Pan-Asia Film Festival review: Honour

A still from Honour which is being screened at Genesis Cinema on Saturday, March 8

A still from Honour which was screened at Genesis Cinema on Saturday, March 8

Asia House Pan-Asia Film Festival review: Honour

05 March 2014

By Chitra Mogul

“You tell me your story, I’ll tell you mine,” says the bounty hunter to his target, Mona, a young British Asian girl played by Aiysha Hart (star of BBC serial Atlantis).

Mona, a young British Muslim girl has fallen in love with Tariq, a British Punjabi from outside her community, who she wants to elope with. Her ultraconservative family decides to take drastic steps to remove this blot on the family honour and when Mona goes on the run they seek the help of a bounty hunter (BIFA-winning actor and director Paddy Considine).

While the subject of honour killings has often been cast as the offshoot of a patriarchal mindset, in this film the women in the community are often just as complicit in the horror crime. Mona’s mother, who tends to overplay the role of sinister seamstress and matriarch, orders her spoilt-rotten son Kasim to bring his errant sister to heel. Mona shares a close bond with her younger sibling, Adel, but their relationship is put to the test in this matter of family honour.

The pace can’t be faulted as BAFTA-nominated director Shan Khan (Candy Bar Kid) keeps you attentive and guessing with some effective switching back and forth in time. The sound track does its bit to build up the frequently eerie tension in each scene. Kudos to Hart as the young and feisty Mona, while Kasim (Faraz Ayub), the villain of the piece, brings to his part a boorish and swaggering conviction. But it is Paddy Considine’s nameless character that carries the film, wrestling with his own demons as he goes about his morally-dubious business.

The film shows the widening gap in values and attitudes between the older and the younger generations within the British Asian community. Any filmmaker that sets out to create awareness about the heinous practice of honour killings deserves to be applauded, as there are few enough of them who dare to take on the task. The fact that Shan Khan skilfully uses the less common device of a racy urban thriller rather than a documentary to shine a light on this often hidden crime, might well ensure that the message reaches a wider audience.

Directed by: Shan Khan

Released in: To be released in the UK in April 2014. This is the London premiere.

Starring: Paddy Considine, Aiysha Hart

Running Time: 104 minutes

Language: Mainly English with some Hindi (and English subtitles)

Plot summary: Mona, a British Muslim girl from West London, elopes with her Punjabi boyfriend.  In an attempt to preserve the family honour, her mother and older brother hire a bounty hunter to track her down.

This film was premiered in London at the Asia House Pan Asia Film Festival on Saturday, 8 March at Genesis Cinema in Mile End Road, the East of London.

Following the screening there was a panel discussion, attended by the director Shan Khan, Shubham Saraf (Mona’s young brother in the film)  and Nikesh Patel (Mona’s boyfriend)

Type of film: thriller

Key selling point of film:  fast pace and captivating soundtrack

Honour can be found at


Click here to see the trailer

Chitra Mogul is currently doing an internship at Asia House.