What Will People Say was one of the first films we here on FERNTV had the privilege to watch. The film which made its world premiere at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival really set the tone for what types of films we were going to watch at this year’s festival. It is neat that we here on FERNTV stated that it was great to see more films at TIFF last year that were focused on the most important aspect in our life which was family. That has continued at this year’s slate of films and What Will People Say is where we question if we can still bridge the gap between old school family traditions to the way the next generation lives today. Director Iram Haq‘s film of a Norwegian Pakistani teenager named Nisha struggles with the traditions and values of her Pakistani family which clashes with her coming of age Norwegian lifestyle where her family resides. As she begins to explore her own identity and sexuality, her invested father, played by Adil Hussain, takes this as a major disrespect to himself and his whole family in which he struggled to make ends meet for and in a country where he is a visible minority.
To prevent Nisha from falling into the Western trap of sexuality, she is kidnapped by her own father and brother and taken to Pakistan where she is taken care of by her aunt and uncle. Her father expects Nisha to learn the hardships of what his family and himself has gone through and how their traditions should be carried on even though they are living on another side of the world. Nisha continues to resist the expectations of her father as she feels that her own freedom, identity and above all her sexuality is stunted. What Will People Say shows the true struggle within a family because of a generation gap and a lack of vital communication. Nisha’s father has absolutely no empathy or understanding of the world her daughter lives in and above all punishes her for her actions because it reflects his upbringing. He is more concerned of “What Will People Say,” rather the true feelings of his daughter.