This modern age romantic comedy, ‘Finding Fatimah’ is actually quite refreshing as it did not take itself too seriously. Courageously addressing many stigmas in the Muslim, particularly Asian community I wonder why such issues are always addressed with humor perhaps they are easier to openly address this way.
The British movie set in Manchester stars Danny Ashok as the young Muslim ‘Shadid’ on a quest to find love in the form of his future life partner, which turns out to be quite a struggle. The movie opens with a self video of Shadid recorded for a dating site which insantly adds a does of reality and something we could all relate to – wanting to find the right partner to share our lives with. At the age of 30 with no career prospects, as a struggling stand up comedian, his quest to find love is further complicated by the fact he is a — divorcee.
He is accused of being a, ‘bad Muslim’ for experiencing a marriage which didn’t work out, as a result he feels he is forced to eventually hide this fact from his potential partner which goes on to complicate matters. This storyline allows the writers freedom to address many other taboos which are faced in the Muslim community, even today such as inter ethnicity marriages – Shahid is Bangladeshi and Fatimah is Pakistani and even though both are Muslim, this is an issue for their families.
Misconceptions of status in society, it’s common for Muslim parents to want their children to marry rich and successful partners (such as Fatimah’s sister in the movie) however she tells Fatimah to break the cycle by marrying the one she loves – Shadid. This was futhur reinforced by Fatimah’s father trying to set her up with Jahid who is involved in politics, but he turns out to be a recreational drug user which her father is willing to overlook – once again I think this is very true to reality when sometimes ‘being a good Muslim’ is confused with being ‘successful in society’. This whole theme is echoed by Fatimah’s parents almost ‘loveless’ marriage where communication between the couple is very weak.
Another point which was touched on was domestic abuse on men by women which I have never seen mentioned in the Asian community it is usually the other way around, so I felt this was a brave move.
I really enjoyed the varied camera angles and extensive use and reference to social media reinforcing that in this day and age many Brit Asians turn to apps and online websites to find their life partners. I felt some of the stereotypes were slightly overdone but perhaps this was to make them very apparent such as Shadid’s ex Wife Fiza who had ridiculously penciled on eyebrows. As a British Muslim myself I can’t personally say I have friends such as those characters but they were entertaining none the less!
Overall it was good to see some up and coming Brit Asian actors in an entertaining movie, lightheartedly addressing some very real issues within the British Muslim community which I think would be entertaining and thought provoking to everyone both Muslim and non-Muslims as we can all relate on trying to find the right life partner.
Finding Fatimah Is in cinemas now.