‘What’s Love Got To Do With It?’ Director Shekhar Kapoor and writer Jemima Khan discuss politics, culture and climate change

When I was invited to the Red Sea Film Festival, I saw it as a great opportunity? Opening of the second session of the Red Sea Film Festival.

“For all the politics, and let’s leave that aside, I think this region is getting more and more important. I think the resources that this region can put into a festival can make it a really important event, and we need an important festival that comes from this region, something that can come out.” And it competes with the big Western film festivals. We need other novels, so I like the idea of ​​being here.”

Jemima Khan, who wrote a screenplay about a documentarian (played by Lily James) following her friend’s marriage process, adds: “Art and culture have the power to bring people together. I know we say politics aside, but, equally, I think it’s really important not to forget that just five years ago, it was illegal to watch movies in this country, women can’t drive, and here we are, celebrating women in movies.

“This is a movie that has very strong heroines — which is Sheka’s specialty — and it’s about multiculturalism, tolerance and love. I think it’s very important to get that message around the world and be willing to open up with people.”

Shazad Latif and Lily James in “What’s Love Got to Do With It?”

Kapoor adds, “When I first read Jemima’s script, even though it is a Pakistani family, I felt exactly the same as in Indian families, Arab families, and Chinese families. I know Jewish mothers in New York who look like the mother in this movie. It is an international idea of ​​family, marriage and intimacy. What you wrote is a gift to the world.”

Khan, who rose to fame from her marriage to Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan, drew inspiration from her own experience as a British woman navigating Pakistani culture to write her first screenplay. However, diving into a weakness of character wasn’t her biggest challenge.

“Learning how to write a screenplay took time. It’s about what you leave out, not what you include. Screenwriting is about deleting, tearing it up until everything means something. It’s very hard for a writer to do that, you need other people to help with the process.” “.

Kapoor says of the collaborative process between the two: “I have to understand why she went through those doors and then every actor has to walk through those doors as an explanation. , I feel bad, but you have to let other people in.

“If two highly creative people always agree, then one of them is lying. Creative collaboration is a conflicting collaboration and creativity arises from conflict. If we agree on everything, the movie will be flat. There is a script, there is a director and every actor interprets it differently. All of these interpretations are what he gets.” The audience “.

Emma Thompson and Lily James in “What’s Love Got to Do With It?”
Courtesy of Robert Viglaski/StudioCanal

Kapoor stressed the importance of promoting non-Western culture when presenting the film during the festival’s opening night (“Until now, winds have come from the west and the east”), he said. The director likewise opened his introduction to the film’s world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival by taking an assertive political stance, highlighting the critical ripples of climate change when referring to the recent floods in Pakistan.

“I think it’s getting more important every day,” he said when asked how important it is to use his platform to raise awareness of political issues close to his heart.

“I think filmmakers have more responsibility than ever before. Look at COP27! Someone should have said it… Nothing happened! It’s really important for filmmakers to give everything we have — our profession, our abilities, our resources, our creativity — to ask the right questions. We have a gift, We’re lucky; people listen to us, we’re privileged; people give us money to make movies, we’re lucky; our movies are theatrically released, we’re lucky. Privilege brings responsibility. If we don’t take responsibility for our privileges, we’ll abuse life.”

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