WATCH: Clint Drieberg Asks Lily James: “What’s Love Got To Do With It?”

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Picture: Robert Viglasky

From the makers of “LOVE ACTUALLY” and “BRIDGET JONES’ DIARY”, “WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?” is a new British rom com that asks the question: How do you find lasting love in today’s world?

For documentary-maker and dating app addict Zoe (Lily James), swiping right has only delivered an endless stream of Mr Wrongs, to her eccentric mother Cath’s (Emma Thompson) dismay. For Zoe’s childhood friend and neighbour Kaz (Shazad Latif), the answer is to follow his parents’ example and opt for an arranged (or “assisted”) marriage to a bright and beautiful bride from Pakistan.

As Zoe films his hopeful journey from London to Lahore to marry a stranger, chosen by his parents, she begins to wonder if she might have something to learn from a profoundly different approach to finding love.

Directed by Shekhar Kapur (ELIZABETH) and written by Jemima Khan, “WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?” stars the Primetime Emmy® Award nominated Lily James (PAM & TOMMY, BABY DRIVER, DARKEST HOUR, MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN, REBECCA), Shazad Latif (STAR TREK: DISCOVERY, PENNY DREADFUL, PROFILE, TOAST OF LONDON), Shabana Azmi (HALO, FIRE, RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST, IT’S A WONDERFUL AFTERLIFE, CITY OF JOY, MADAME SOUSATZKA), Sajal Aly (YAKEEN KA SAFAR, MOM, ALIF) and Academy Award and BAFTA winner Emma Thompson (MATILDA, GOOD LUCK TO YOU, LEO GRANDE, CRUELLA, SAVING MR BANKS).

The film also stars Asim Chaudhry (BLACK MIRROR: BANDERSNATCH, PEOPLE JUST DO NOTHING, THE ELECTRICAL LIFE OF LOUIS WAIN, THE SANDMAN), Jeff Mirza (ETERNALS, BLINDED BY THE LIGHT), Mim Shaikh (FINDING DAD, INFORMER, PLS LIKE, KING GARY), Iman Boujelouah, Mariam Haque (FINDING ALICE, HOMELAND, FLOWERS) and Sindhu Vee (MATILDA, STARSTRUCK, FEEL GOOD).

Ivor Novello Lifetime Achievement Award-winning and Mercury Prize nominated composer, Nitin Sawhney CBE has created the music for the film, with British-Pakistani record producer, DJ, songwriter, and musician Naughty Boy bringing his production and writing skills to the soundtrack, alongside three-time BRIT Award and Mercury Prize nominee, Joy Crookes. Kanika Kapoor and Rahat Fateh Ali Khan will also feature on the soundtrack, with Rahat appearing in the film itself.

“WHAT’S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT?” began life more than ten years ago as writer, Jemima Khan, looked to explore a story inspired by her experience of living in Pakistan for a decade.

She intended to show a more joyful and hospitable Pakistan than the one more commonly seen on our screens. “I wanted to do the Working Title romcom version of Pakistan for Western audiences for whom there is a tendency to view the country as either backwards or frightening. I hope this film shows some of the joy and colour I encountered in my ten years living there.”

Before the film project, Khan wrote about the “arranged marriage business” in the UK for The New Statesman and The Sunday Times, as a journalist and made a radio documentary for Radio 4. The speed dating scene with Mo was based on a ‘Practising Muslim Marriage event’ she attended in London’s East End while researching a piece for the New Statesman.

“Arranged, or “assisted” marriage is big business in the UK and worldwide”, Khan says. “Around 55% of marriages worldwide are still estimated to be arranged. In Pakistan that figure is 85%, and in India 90%. The South Asian population of the UK numbers over 3 million people, which is roughly 5% of the population, and around 4.4% of the UK population are Muslim. Arranged marriage is still the norm for the majority in these communities, though that is changing with the younger generation. Yet despite its continued popularity and prevalence, arranged marriage – based on choice and consent – is still regularly confused with forced marriage in the West or else considered an alien concept.”