In some cultures, such as South Asian and Middle Eastern, arranged marriage is a normal custom. It sometimes happens that two people from the same family get together. But not always. It’s believed that if two people get married with the help of their relatives, it will secure a stronger bond, prosperity, and strength in the new family that can grow closer with time. There are also situations when the two do not want to be together yet are forced to join a union that is doomed to fail.
Screenplay by Jemima Khan and directed by Shekhar Kapur, “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” is set in London and Lahore, Pakistan. When filmmaker Zoe Stevenson (Lily James) learns about Kazim’s (Shazad Latif) upcoming arranged marriage to a bride from Pakistan, she immediately is armed with her camera to document his journey. Kazim is her childhood friend. Therefore, the man does not hesitate to approve of her filming him. Kazim does not want the marriage to take place. When a Muslim ‘matchmaker,’ Mo, sets up the call between Kazim and Maymouna, his potential bride, it will be easily noticeable – she is hesitant as well. All that does not miss Zoe’s eyes either, and neither does her heart, as she slowly begins falling in love with her childhood friend.
The film is not a conventional romantic comedy some are used to. In fact, there will be someone in the audience who would like to see two Pakistani actors portray lead characters. But let’s remember that love stories do not necessarily happen only between two people from the same culture, and we should have an open mind when we watch comedies like “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” As we watch Kazim’s story progress, we realize his family values and the importance of fulfilling his duty as a son. He goes against his own wish and demand of his heart to do what is right for his culture. But as the title of the film asks, what’s love got to do with culture, tradition, and pleasing others if what you want, who you love, and who you want to be is not the same as what the home country’s custom dictates?
That being said, the film brings up an interesting topic for discussion. It’s not about the white girl falling in love with the Pakistani man. It’s the twenty-first century, and we should get used to multiculturalism and learn from history as to why love has always been proven to be blind. Therefore, when we meet Zoe and Kazim, it is no secret they are in love with each other. However, they must fulfill their destiny and go through the interesting experience to find their way to each other. Yes, it’s funny at times, but also a heartwarming story I am sure you will find delightful to watch.