What’s Love Got To Do With It? Review: Shekhar Kapur changes the rules of the rom-com game

What's Love Got To Do With It?  Review: Shekhar Kapur changes the rules of the rom-com game

a still from What’s Love Got To Do With It?, (courtesy: youtube)

mould: Emma Thompson, Shazad Latif, Lily James, Shabana Azmi, Oliver Criss

director: Shekhar Kapur

Rating: three stars (out of 5)

Shekhar Kapur’s first narrative feature since 2007 Elizabeth: The Golden Age) Takes a clean break from the rest of his output as a director. What’s Love Got To Do With It? A warm, light-hearted and clever cross-cultural drama that works on most fronts, especially the lead actors Lily James and Shazad Latif.

What’s Love Got To Do With It?which marks the screenwriting debut of Jemima Khan, is a romantic comedy that borrows tropes from the playbook produced over several decades by Working Title (the company that also produced the two Elizabethan films), but incorporates important themes. style, which is usually clear.

The film is not just another version of the battle of the sexes. It plays on a broad canvas. It’s a lively, likeable, good-humoured exploration of the cultural quirks that separate a pair of neighboring London families – one British, the other Pakistani – and how these divergences manifest both during and after a wedding in Lahore. I stir things up. houses. It’s a wedding and there are a bunch of jagrans on time.

What’s Love Got To Do With It? It has a 1990’s vibe to it. Zoey’s thoughts on the love that punctuates popular fairy tales (Cinderella, The Frog Prince, Little Red Riding Hood) she tells a friend’s children which is reminiscent of Bridget Jones’ musings. But contemporaryism does not escape the film as the screenplay makes room for questions of contemporary relevance and resolves them with a light touch.

Kath (Emma Thompson), a longtime divorcee, lives with her daughter Zoe (Lily James), an award-winning documentary filmmaker who has found romantic relationships exceedingly difficult to maintain her mother’s compulsion .

Their next door neighbors are happily married Khans – Ayesha (Shabana Azmi) and Zahid (Jeff Mirza). Kaz Khan (Shazad Latif), her dapper doctor-son, willingly fulfills her wish to go for an arranged marriage – ‘assisted marriage’ as we say today, he tells his surprise bestie Zoe .

What’s Love Got To Do With It? Primarily a traditional rom-com, it strikes new directions in examining racial stereotypes, misconceptions about compatibility, the distortions inherent in Western vision, and the pitfalls of cultural conservatism.

The Lahore-born filmmaker, tasked with a script by someone who spent a decade in Pakistan due to her marriage to cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, offers a refreshing insight into the South Asian immigrant experience and how it affects those living there. acts that are physically influenced by an ethos moved away from but can never completely cut themselves off from their roots.

Zoe, looking for an upbeat subject for her next film after some of her ‘bleak’ ideas are nixed by producers, decides to document the whole process of a modern, UK-born professional who She chooses to marry a complete stranger, chosen by consensus. , The girl is Maimouna (Sajal Aly), a law student from Lahore.

The shooting that takes the London-based filmmaker to Lahore and back thrusts her into a world she didn’t know before and into the bargain, changing her ideas about romance and friendship.

Kaz, by his own admission, is “looking for someone who is British enough for me and Pakistani enough for my family”. Zoe can’t for the life of her figure out what her childhood friend who grew up on the same street is really hoping to get from an unsuspecting contact. But this is what piqued his interest in the first place and inspired him to record the event.

Zoe believes that fairy tales are only for gullible people. She says that in real life no one lives happily ever after. But her mother, whose own emotional scars are now occasionally visible, believes the daughter would be better off with a man in her life.

The trip to Lahore for a three-day wedding ceremony filled with dance, music and rituals defies Kaj’s preconceived notions about what life is like in Pakistan. If anything, she is the one who becomes a stick-in-the-mud among Maimouna’s fun-loving group of friends, a fact that Zoey can see with enviable clarity through her camera eyes.

strange way, What’s Love Got To Do With It? invites the viewer not to care about what happens next for Zoe and Kaz, as a momentous occasion in the latter’s lives unfolds under the watchful eyes of the elders of the two Pakistani families involved. Instead, Grant leads the two down a long rope in their search for what they believe is right for them. Zoe thinks she knows Kaz is going wrong, but she’s not quite sure where she’s getting herself. The Imponderables makes its journey with enjoyable, if not always unexpected, turns.

Yeah, that’s what I want, says Kaz in response to a question that Zoe posed to him on camera. But is he? This is what makes the script particularly interesting – the contrast between what the characters want and what is actually happening. Kapoor’s insensitive, non-judgmental approach to matters of the heart, an awareness that the dynamics of love are never static.

Beyond the romantic entanglements, this is a film about roots and family ties, especially those that hinge on mothers’ instincts to wish the best for their children. emotional pull of What’s Love Got To Do With It? Of two daughters – one has chosen love over family and is thrown out of the fold, the other repeatedly disappoints her mother by failing to mend her relationships.

Lily James’ easy charm and her chemistry with Shazad Latif make What’s Love Got To Do With It, More than just watchable. The wide range of emotions that the two express while staying within the boundaries of the genre elevates the film above average.

Shabana Azmi and Emma Thompson are never fully in action as the two mothers, but neither of the two veteran actresses, the former a touch more so than the latter, have any opportunity to make their presence felt cloying. Gives

Kapoor, ushering in a new genre, bends the rules of the rom-com game enough to translate into a reasonably happy marriage, if not a match made in heaven.


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