Finding Fatimah is the feel good film which provides much needed relief from the all too prevalent anti-Muslim rhetoric that has become common place today.
This heart-warming film follows the trajectory of Shahid (Danny Ashok), the endearing protagonist looking for love whilst contending with a struggling business, a failed marriage and aspirations to be a comedian.
The film highlights the very real dilemmas when it comes to finding a partner as a British Muslim, from the stigma of being divorced to the scathing judgement of marrying outside ones culture or age bracket, as experienced by the ‘cradle snatching’ widow adeptly played by Nina Wadia.
The script, written by Oz Arshad, is full of bon mots as well as lashings of bitter acrimony that manifest when pushy parents get involved in match making.
Both Shahid and Fatimah (Asmara Gabrielle) are subjected to wholly plausible halal dating scenarios, leaving the viewer more than empathic with their woes.
The sweet, budding romance that inevitably develops between Shahid and Fatimah is satisfyingly awkward and undeniably charming.
Finding Fatimah is mercifully free from any clichés, unnecessary dazzling aesthetics or exotic stereotypes that come with the mention of an Asian wedding in a British film.
There must be special mention for Nayna (Mandeep Dhillon) who plays the fiercely protective best friend of Fatimah. The charismatic Nayna delivers her dialogue with perfectly projected dramatic nuance. Yes, we all need a Nayna in our lives.
Ambreen Razia who plays Shahid’s sister Hafsah, is another delightful highlight of the film, particularly her feisty exchange in a hilariously brusque introduction to Shahid’s ex-wife.
Shobna Gulati invites empathy as the long suffering wife of a doltish man whose gauche ambitions include social climbing and maintaining a rigid criteria (Pakistani only) for a prospective son-in-law.
Finding Fatimah is a well-executed and refreshingly honest take on life as a single British Muslim.
Finding Fatimah is in Cinemas on April 21 and on tour with Penny Appeal at selected venues.