Interview: Shan Khan on Honour

With his debut feature Honour – starring Paddy Considine and Aiysha Hart – out now in cinemas across Britain, we had the distinct pleasure of discussing the project with the film’s writer and director, Shan Khan.

The film tackles the themes of honour killing, as we delve into the life of a young girl (Hart), victim of her own family, who seek is murdering her for bringing shame upon their family – hiring the fascist bounty killer (Considine) to see the job through.

Where do you feel honour sits with the rest of contemporary British thrillers?

We’ll, I’d like to think it sits right at the top, but unfortunately that would be wishful thinking on my part. I’m glad that people are seeing it as a thriller and not seeing it as an issue-based movie, so that’s a really good thing; a great big tick, because it’s a very dangerous topic to deal with in many different ways, and one of those is that [it has] to be a worthy movie, and we’ve done everything we could from the conception of the script to make sure that it was worthy and it wasn’t just a thriller. So where does it sit? You know man, I’d like to think it’s a good ol’ thriller, and it’s in the tradition of nice thrillers from the seventies, like, not to compare myself with the great filmmakers like Robert Redford and whatnot, but at the same time I like those movies. That’s what my influence was. Especially Marathon Man and All The President’s Men, French Connection; these were great movies that were thrillers but they also had the message, and you didn’t feel like you were being hit over the head with a big issue-based hammer. So that’s certainly the intention. Where does it sit? It’s not a gangster movie, you know, none of that, so I’d like to think you’re going to pay your money, you’re going to be entertained.

Do you feel like the film should entertain rather than educate, perhaps?

I think that’s an absolute given. This is the entertainment business, I think documentaries and things like that are for dealing with the subject matter – we can deal with the subject matter, but I think there’s a mistake to try to do much in terms of educating. Education? Yes – but only in sparking the debate. That’s all. We’re in the entertainment business, that’s what I’m up for, that’s the movies that I liked. I like my Captain Americas, I like Jurassic Park as well. But I want my movies to be a bit more than that. A wee bit more.

Do you feel your next film, whatever it may be, is going to push the boundaries in that respect again?

We’re definitely going to push the boundaries in the next film. You should see it, man.

Is there anything planned yet?

Oh yeah, we’re in the process of raising finance on the next movie right now. And I think that it’ll be a bigger and better, funkier – not necessarily bigger in the sense, but certainly it will rattle a few cages. That’s definitely one that’ll give you much more than this one. Much more.

Do you feel most comfortable taking English issues and putting them onscreen? Or would you feel more comfortable making a film in another country?

Well, I don’t mind, man – it’s what interests you, I guess. I live in Britain, so naturally there are things that are gonna… you know, entice my creative juices, so to speak. But yeah, whatever the issue is, if it’s something that – there’s that word, ‘issue’ – but whatever the thing is, the ‘issue’-thing, I’m there man, if there’s an entertaining angle. You’ve got Honour entertaining whilst being entertaining and appealing to me. But it’s the fact that this white bounty hunter is being hired to kill Asian children by their own families. That’s what gave me the angle to make that a thriller, because up until then it was just an issue-based movie.

Is there anything else you’d like to add?

Yeah; I’m gonna miss the Manchester United and Munich game, because I’m going to Belfast – but Celtic have won the league, so I’m very happy.

A link to the article can be found here.