From the moment that Amir arrives illegally in England from Pakistan, packed in a vegetable crate, nothing is as he expected. Instead of streets paved with gold, he finds himself holed up in a dismal house in the North of England with seventeen other ‘illegals’ (all men), who dare not use the electric light for fear of discovery and exist in a twilight world of agents and police informers. Every Sunday, a prostitute comes to service the whole house and the men queue in order of seniority on the stairs - safer than going out for sex and lower unit costs!

In spite of this unpromising start, Amir befriends would-be writer, star struck Sakib and finds work in the wool-washing sheds of the local mill.

Then their ordered world is rocked when Hussein Shah, the house leader, brings home Mary, a strange white girl he has picked up in a cafe. At first, she brings warmth, fun and light (literally). But then she turns out to be pregnant.

To everyone’s consternation, the birth takes place in the house and the baby is not Shah's. Dishonoured and humiliated, Hussein Shah reacts by trying to force Mary to marry Irshad, his nephew, so that he can come to Britain legally. The others side with Mary and call Shah to account but, in a masterly speech, he appeals to their Muslim solidarity and brotherhood and rallies the household behind him.

Hurt and betrayed, with nowhere to go, Mary agrees to go through with it - but at a terrible price. lrshad spells danger. Emotions are running high and the house is about to go up like a volcano.

Director's Biography

Udayan Prasad came to the UK from India at the age of nine, and subsequently went to art school in Leeds and the National Film and Television School. After graduating, he made a number of documentaries, including A CORNER OF A FOREIGN FIELD (Channel Four), about a Pakistani community in Britain, and INVISIBLE INK FOR ARENA (BBC-tv), an insight into authors from the sub-continent writing about the British way of life. It was during work on this documentary that he came across the work of Abdullah Hussein and his novel The Return Journey, which inspired BROTHERS IN TROUBLE. He has directed a number of successful productions including the award-winning 102 BOULEVARD HAUSSMAN, written by Alan Bennett and starring Alan Bates, FEMME FATALE by Simon Gray, starring Simon Callow and Ronald Pleasence and RUNNING LATE, also written by Simon Gray, and starring Peter Bowles.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Udayan Prasad

Written by: Robert Buckler

Produced by: George Faber

Cast: Om Puri (Hussein Shah), Pavan Malhotra (Amir), Pravesh Kumar (Sakib), Angeline Ball (Mary), Badi Uzzaman (Old Ram)

Nominations and Awards

  • Feature Film Selection 1996