Halal Love Story Movie Review Rating: 3.5/5 Stars (Three and half stars)
Star Cast: Indrajith Sukumaran, Joju George, Sharaf U Dheen, Grace Antony and ensemble
What’s Good: That we are finally making this film!
What’s Bad: If you don’t want to see through the toxic narratives being fed to us in abundance.
Loo Break: You don’t need one.
Watch or Not?: Please do. If an atheist like me tells you that faith not only divides people into groups, but can also give out beautiful stories, you got to give this one a chance.
The title in itself explains what the film stands for. Halal means ‘permissible’. Two men are out there hustling to make a Halal love story. “Why should people like us not have halal films to watch?” Asks a character. It’s a simple journey of a film being made in the conforms of the guidelines of an Islamic organisation. There’s love; there’s longing, curiosity, top of all a zest to make something for everyone.
Halal Love Story Movie Review: Script Analysis
Halal Love Story comes in at a time when the religious divide and its dark bi-products are rampant around us. In this case, Sudani from Nigeria maker Zakariya’s film comes as a breather. Zakariya doesn’t stereotype Muslim people; instead, he shows how normal, humane and honest they can be in their approach.
Heads up, films about films is one of my favourite dynamics to watch. Zakariya, who is also the writer, is aware of the perception of the Muslim community. So he cleverly begins the film with the footages of the 9/11 attack. This paves the way and tells us that the film is set in the 2000s. Old mobile phones, public phone booths, small engine vehicles add to the era.
Rahim, head of a progressive social Muslim organisation, wants to make a film that doesn’t have ‘haram’ in it. What’s haram? Romance, violence and seductive songs. So he equips a school teacher Thoufeek to write a halal script. Here comes my favourite scene. The board is deciding a director; a member suggests a Muslim man. Another says a Hindu name would be widely appreciated and accepted. To which, the previous member states, “The director’s name is Siraj, but he is acceptable for the public”. Brownie points Zakariya.
While sticking to faith plays a significant role, a parallel story has Indrajith and Grace playing a married couple. We get into the dynamics of their relationship. Here’s a man who tick marks a checklist every night. He makes sure that he has been fair to his wife, kids, parents, responsibilities throughout each day. Can such a human possibly have done any wrong in his life? Well, let Zakariya take you on tour. Amid this, there is also a father who is longing to see his daughter, who is with his separated wife.
Halal Love Story is not just about the faith or the importance of it; it is about the people following it and how their mind-sets are not stereotyped robotic. Instead, their problems are the same as ours. Their fights are the same as ours. Even they try to find beauty and hustle for it amid all the buzz around.
The film also has undertone humour. One has to be woke and accepting to understand that.
Halal Love Story Movie Review: Star Performance
Earnest and heart-warming are the two words that instantly pop up in my mind for every single person that graces the screen in Halal Love Story. Indrajeet, Joju, Grace and Sharaf are all in synch of what the filmmaker is trying to convey through this film.
Even Shoubin Shahir and Parvathy in their cameo, which I won’t reveal what they are, know what this script needs.
Halal Love Story Movie Review: Direction, Music
I am a fan of Zakariya’s Sudani From Nigeria. The subtext of his writing here too remains the same. Showing the honest side of the community, it is based on without making a judgement about them, is evident in both his films.
Zakariya here in Halal Love Story is not making any commentary as to we start rooting for everything he stands for. He gives us a clear view of what it looks like and leaves the space for us to understand what we make of it.
Music in Halal Love Story walks hand in hand with the film. And it’s like a breeze and fresh just like the green visuals.
Halal Love Story Movie Review: The Last Word
Halal Love Story is a simple tale and a way how one should use cinema as a tool to create awareness. Zakariya metaphorically uses film in a film to show the vulnerable side of the community we have stereotyped majorly as vultures. Not saying this is the perfect film, but it is very important to have these light-hearted aware stories to give us necessary reality checks.
Halal Love Story Trailer
Halal Love Story releases on 15th October 2019.
Share with us your experience of watching Halal Love Story.