Eccentric at first sight, this ends up delivering pretty much what you'd expect from a 'Film on Four' movie: thoughtful scripting, solid acting, questions of cultural and sexual identity. Wilby and Leo play a well-heeled white couple in Karachi - she's Jewish-American with free-spirit mystic tendencies, he's a no-nonsense Brit conservationist. Unable to conceive, they have recourse to a holy shrine attended by a bevy of eunuchs in full drag. After a three-day fertility work-out, their dream seems likely to come true; but there, of course, the trouble begins. This is plentiful premise to be getting on with, but writer-director Dehlavi chooses to stitch in more subplot than his two hours can reasonably accommodate: Wilby's relationship with journalist Samira (Azmi) and her dying uncle; Cossins as a camp old colonial who steps out of line with Islam; and Leo's pushy diplomat brother (Choate), who turns up to nudge matters into the international incident bracket. Dehlavi goes out of his way to skirt the risk of sensationalism, but his diffuse, over-cautious approach dilutes matters to the point of tedium.
Cast and crew
James Wilby Melissa Leo Shabana Azmi Zia Mohyeddin James Cossins Ronny Jhutti Tim Choate