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Brothers in Trouble Review

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A brassy Irish girl brings hope, but also disaster, to a group of illegal Pakistani immigrants living in '60s London.

★★★★★

This story of a houseful of illegal immigrants during the '60s has an aura of "it's grim up north" but refuses to wallow in it, skilfully transforming itself into a touching, optimistic fable about friendship and survival.

Though the backcloth is a racist, suspicious white society, the film focuses on the characters themselves. Amir (Malhotra) arrives in a crate from Pakistan and gets work as a manure shifter, his watchful, gentle manner earning him much respect. When his housemates aren't queueing up for quickie sex with a drop-by prostitute, they're devouring lentils and smoking countless ciggies, not daring to embrace the world outside until resident head honcho Hussein Shah (Puri) shacks up with a messed-up Irish girl (Ball). She reluctantly agrees to a marriage of convenience with his nephew and introduces them all to the joys of the pub'n'puke scene. As cultures clash, it's brother eat brother as a fatal stabbing finally bursts the harmonious bubble and forces Amir to climb off the fence.

The film is scantily attired in the plot department but, notwithstanding the odd disconcerting leap in time-frame and a jarring finale, director Prasad nudges the proceedings along effectively. There are no shocking twists, few dramatic high points, and it doesn't exactly yank the emotions -though a stomach-clenching pre-natal scene has a good try.

It's a story with heart, a fine anchoring performance from Malhotra and earns creditable cinematic points as a witty, winsome window on a hidden world.