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Ae fond kiss... - Eva Birthistle, Atta Yaqub, Ahmad Riaz, Ken Loach

Threat advisory: Elevated - Significant risk of entertaining activities

Movie propaganda

Casim Khan (Atta Yaqub) is a second generation Pakistani from Glasgow. Working as a DJ in Glasgow at one of the coolest venues, Casim dreams of buying his own club. His parents Tariq (Ahmad Riaz) and Sadia (Shamshad Akhtar) are devout Muslims and plan for him to marry his beautiful cousin Jasmine, who is soon to arrive in the UK. Plans go awry when Casim meets Roisin (Eva Birthistle).

A teacher at his sister Tahara's (Shabana Bakhsh) school, Roisin is different from any girl he's ever met. She's gorgeous, intelligent and definitely possesses a mind of her own. She and Casim soon fall deeply in love. But Casim knows all too well that, even if he wasn't due to marry, his parents would never accept a goree - a white girl. As a Catholic, Roisin finds that her own community isn't very supportive either. When their relationship is discovered, the repercussions of the scandal reach far and wide and sparks fly as cultures clash and personalities collide.

Target demographic movie keyword propaganda

  • Film UK multi-cultural love relationship Pakistani Anglo DJ Scotland

Persons of interest

  • Atta Yaqub .... Casim Khan
  • Ahmad Riaz .... Tariq Khan
  • Eva Birthistle .... Roisin Hanlon
  • Shamshad Akhtar .... Sadia Khan
  • Ghizala Avan .... Rukhsana Khan
  • Shabana Bakhsh .... Tahara Khan
  • Pasha Bocarie .... Amar
  • Emma Friel
  • Gerard Kelly .... Parish Priest
  • Gary Lewis
  • David McKay
  • Raymond Mearns
  • Sunna Mirza
  • Shy Ramsan
  • John Yule
  • Paul Laverty .... Screenwriter
  • Ken Loach .... Director

Cinematic intelligence sources

Intelligence analyst

Special Agent Matti

Theatrical report

Ae fond kiss is - apart from the lack of cricket - an update of Wondrous oblivion. It's not as much fun but does cover the same ground with a contemporary generation.

Security censorship classification

MA 15+ (Medium level sex scene)

Surveillance time

104 minutes (1:44 hours)

Not for public release in Australia before date

Film: 19 May 2005
DVD rental: 20 October 2005
VHS rental: 20 October 2005

Cinema surveillance images

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Two days that shook the world

15 August 1947

When Britain pulled out of India, it had no intention of leaving it in a position of strength. Far better, from a strategic point of view, to leave it sorely divided, with the potential for inter-continental strife. And so it has come to pass.

The Partition of India was initially welcomed by some Muslims, who believed it meant freedom from persecution. Instead, it meant mass migration, with Hindus forced to leave ancestral lands and travel south, passing equally dispossessed Muslims heading north. Thousands were slaughtered on the way, with women particularly vulnerable. Many were raped; others were less fortunate. "Ghost trains" containing the grisly remains of wives and daughters pulled across the newly-formed borders in the infant days of Pakistan and the new India.

Over in Scotland, relatives and friends could only wait for news.

Tariq Khan was one of the Muslim fugitives, and his memory is scarred by the violent, confusing experience of forced migration. Even now, with his family around him, his good home and successful small business, he remains suspicious of change, immovable, inward-looking.

When he arrived in Glasgow, Tariq's instinct was to cleave to the Pakistani community, particularly when confronted with hostility and racism. This instinct has never left him, yet the more he seeks the certainties of the past, the further they recede.

11 September 2001

Paul Laverty was in the USA when two hijacked planes plunged into the World Trade Centre in Manhattan. He was struck by the emptiness of the news coverage, the instant reversion to a knee-jerk nationalism, and the randomness of the fall-out. "Suddenly, one in every four houses bore an American flag; there were little flags on all the cars. Then I heard about a Sikh - a Sikh! - who was murdered at a petrol station in Arizona."

A friend emailed from Glasgow to tell him that her niece was now afraid to go out at night, and that a girl at her school had had her headscarf ripped from her head. "Najimee is steeped in this city; she's been here forever. It's incredible how one thing changes everything. She said that she realised, no matter how long she lived here, she would always be a stranger."

Meanwhile, Shabana Bakhsh was just starting her second year at drama school. "Half the class didn't change. But some people would be reading the paper and looking at me, saying, 'She's one of them!' I'd forgotten I was 'one of them'."

It led Laverty to write a story on a time-honoured theme, that of religious and traditional ties in conflict with the desires of the heart, through the prism of these events. "The world's perception of us changes in an instant. It made me realise how fragile everything is."

The story

Ae fond kiss, written by Robert Burns to the lover he must relinquish, is a song of heartfelt regret, more resigned than railing against the society that forces them to part. It sets a brooding keynote to what initially appears the very essence of light-hearted romance. Yet the ease with which Casim and Roisin come together is in stark contrast to the difficulties their developing situation causes.

A love story, as well as being naturally compelling, was a way of highlighting conflicts within Casim's family and arising from Roisin's background. "It's interesting how parents want their kids to marry someone who's like themselves. It goes very deep," observes Laverty, who was interested in the process of people "shaking off the beliefs of their parents. It's a serious decision, and it has massive consequences."

It's also a film that deals with identity, not just personal identity, but that unwittingly imposed by family and community.

Laverty is fascinated by "the way we may call a child a 'Muslim child' or a 'Catholic child' without any qualms, without considering what the child himself will make of the world."

Unlike My name is Joe and Sweet sixteen, Loach and Laverty's two previous films set in the West of Scotland, Ae fond kiss is not driven by an individual. It is an ensemble piece, in which Casim's family members, and the forces at work in Roisin's world, share prominence with the lovers themselves.

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