Interfaith romantic comedy films are one thing that is rarely presented in the film medium. Senior filmmaker, Sekhar Kapur, direct a British romantic comedy film What’s Love Got to Do with It? The film stars Lily James, Shazad Latif, Shabana Azmi and Emma Thompson. This 108-minute film was released by the Prime Video platform recently. Is this rom-com film capable of presenting something fresh for its genre?
Zoe (James) and Kaz (Latif) have been neighbours since they were small until they grew up. Zoe is a native of London, while the Kaz family is an immigrant from Pakistan and a devout Muslim. Kaz, who has not yet found a mate, is finally helped by his parents to introduce a girl from Pakistan. Meanwhile, Zoe is a documentary filmmaker under pressure from her producers to find themes with big issues. Finally, Zoe made a film about a “family arranged marriage” that her best friend is currently going through. Along the way, Zoe and Kaz try to understand the true meaning of love for themselves and those around them.
The story raises a pretty sensitive theme through an exciting premise. The contrasting figures of Zoe and Kaz solidly represent the collision of modern culture and tradition (religion). Cross-religion romance is not the main issue here but a strong tradition amid the swift currents of diversity. Does someone want to make their family or themselves happy with their choice? Does hereditary tradition have to be flexible according to the change of the times? This is what the story wants to answer. This question is answered satisfactorily through a series of inner upheavals and conflicts with the people around the two characters. The impressive casting is the film’s biggest strength.
What’s Love Got to Do with It? explores cross-religious romance wrapped in local traditions with a less biting side of romance and comedy. This film is too half to be called a rom-com or drama because neither. Comedy inserts are too minimal, while the drama clash doesn’t bite. Playing with traditions and beliefs like this is a challenging matter. Many perspectives must be considered to avoid offending traditions and culture. Times have changed, and so have people. Tradition and culture will be eternal by its adherents, but love will find its way.