When director Shekhar Kapur first read Jemima Khan’s cross-cultural script What’s Love Got To Do With It that offered a different perspective on finding everlasting love and explored the notion of arranged marriages, it was a subject he was keen to explore and flip on its head.
“Ultimately what I loved about this is the idea that we can explore a new sexuality, a new way of looking at love, a new way of finding intimacy and to see whether this traditional way of a family, you just can’t write it off – there’s something there that has weight,” the director said at Deadline’s Red Sea Studio on Friday.
Kapur, who was in Jeddah with the Working Title and Studiocanal title which opened the Red Sea International Film Festival on Thursday night, said that his own parents got together through an arranged marriage that was successful. He also added that these types of family suggested unions were not specific to Pakistan and Asia, suggesting that grandparents and parents from all cultures can be persuasive in who they suggest will be an ideal partner for their children.
“It’s a worldwide phenomenon,” he said.
What’s Love Got To Do With It sees Lily James co-star as a documentary-maker and dating app addict, with a string of Mr. Wrongs in her past. Her eyes are soon opened to the potential of an arranged marriage when her childhood friend Kaz (Shazad Latif) heads to Lahore to marry a stranger chosen by his parents. The film is produced by Working Title
Jeff Mirza, who plays Kaz’s father in the film, reflected on the issue and admitted his own parents wanted him to have an arranged marriage, which he “escaped.”
“So much marriage has taken place in my own family that I am my own uncle,” the comedian quipped.
About attending the Red Sea Festival for the first time, Kapur said: “I hope it grows because they have the resources and I’ve been watching and they’re very passionate about it and it’s time to have more festivals in this part of the world that actually can shift the narratives because the narratives of this world are becoming too singular. All the narratives have been coming from the west and the world is becoming singular and that’s not very good for storytelling. It’s not very good for cinema, it’s not very good for culture, it’s not very good for politics or human life.”
Check out the video above.