‘Ali’s wedding’ is a Romeo and Juliet for the modern era. Shakespeare gave his young star-crossed lovers a tragic ending but in this telling, as in the very similar American movie ‘The Big Sick’, true love triumphs against family and cultural tradition.
Like The Big Sick, Ali’s Wedding is about muslim families who’ve emigrated to the west. Both are based on the true how-I-met-your-mother stories of the young man who went on to write a screenplay about it. In the American film the young Pakistani falls for an Anglo girl; in the Aussie movie it’s a young Iraqi man falling for a Lebanese girl, and I like Osamah Sami’s honesty in acknowledging that there can be unreasoning prejudice within the muslim community as well as against it from outsiders.
There’s also honesty – and humour – in the depiction of family and cultural customs such as arranged marriages. This is obviously the shared experience of countless young muslims in the West and it’s rich in comic (as well as tragic, although I don’t think that’s been done yet) potential.
As in The Big Sick there are some droll references to the darker side of global Islam. Ali dreams of making it big in movies because, as he observes to a mate: ‘Hollywood always needs people like us to play terrorists.’
The status of women is touched on but somewhat glossed over, and now that these young muslim men have had their turn, I look forward to the first such story told by a young muslim woman.