In Shekar Kapur’s “What’s Love Got to Do with It?” around the film’s last act, we see Lily James’ documentary filmmaker character receive a call from her producers saying that they cannot go ahead with her film because of ‘White Lens.’ It is a diverse subject narrated by a White filmmaker. The producers might have been wrong in the film, but they would have been right about this film. Granted, neither Kapur nor writer Jemima Khan is White.

Still, this vanilla-soaked attempt to masquerade the toxicity of  ‘Arranged Marriage’ as the nostalgic tradition that can work as an ‘option’ can only stem from a place of ignorance. Ignorance is born out of a longing for everything home. When you are homesick for too long, you miss not only all the good parts of your homeland but also some of the questionable parts.

Kapur’s  “What’s Love Got to With It?” has invested so much in bringing out the message of finding a middle ground between ‘Arranged’ and ‘Love’ marriages that it has stereotyped its two leading characters into puppets of their agenda. The depiction is blunt, and despite Emma Thompson’s earnest attempt to be the alleviating balm, it comes out as an eyesore.

What’s Love Got to Do with It? (2022) Plot Summary & Movie Synopsis:

The Khans and the Stevensons are next-door neighbors. Their multi-cultural camaraderie has blossomed into a genuine friendship. The same has happened between the children of the two families. Namely between Zoe (Lily James) and Kaz (Shazad Latif). On the evening of Kaz’s brother’s wedding, while Kaz’s mother, Aisha (Shabana Azmi), is handing out the biriyani to Zoe’s mother, Cath (Emma Thompson), Kaz informs Zoe while sitting at their favorite hangout spot, The Khans’ treehouse, that he is planning to marry a girl of his parent’s choice. The Khans are a Pakistani family who are practicing Muslims, and an arranged marriage is quite common for them.

And it is something that Zoe, a modern independent woman of the West, cannot possibly fathom. But she tries as she sees Kaz’s arranged wedding as an interesting documentary subject. Especially one that would be ‘feel-good’ enough for her producers. After a bit of cajoling, Kaz agrees. The documentary shoot opens up the many aspects of the two different cultures—one of Zoe and another of Kaz.

Meanwhile, Cath, probably inspired by the Khans, tries to get her hands on matchmaking. She tries to set Zoe up with the lovingly decent veterinarian, James (Oliver Chris). But, before this could materialize into anything, Zoe and Cath must travel to Pakistan for Kaz’s wedding. Kaz’s bride, Maymouna (Sajal Ali), seems to be less than spiffy about the wedding. Maymouna seems to enjoy her wedding only when the elders leave, and she could be free to party—dancing around with her friends with whiskey and joints. This makes Kaz a little concerned about the person he is marrying to.

What’s Love Got to Do with It (2022) Movie Ending Explained - HOF
Rahat Fateh Ali Khan in What’s Love Got to Do with It? (2022)

To make matters worse, Kaz seems to enjoy some tender moments with Zoe in the streets of Lahore. The next morning, they have a row about love, marriage, and everything else. Everything else largely refers to Jamila, Kaz’s older sister, with whom the Khans do not speak. Jamila is cut off from the family because she chose to marry a non-Muslim guy. Kaz’s grandmother requests Kaz not to do the same, indicating his growing fondness for Zoe. So, Kaz marries Maymouna and starts their married life in London.

Zoe finishes her documentary and invites the Khans for the screening. Kaz and the Khans are shocked to find that Zoe has an interview with Jamila at the climax of her film. Kaz accuses Zoe of humiliating him and his family. James, whom Zoe has been dating after returning from Pakistan, realizes that Zoe is settling when it comes to him. James breaks up with Zoe by saying that he refuses to be ‘Plan B’ of her life.

What’s Love Got to Do with It? (2022) Movie Ending Explained:

Why Did Maymouna Marry Kaz?

After the screening, although all the Khans attack Zoe, Maymouna earnestly thanks her. Zoe’s inclusion of Jamila’s story inspires Maymouna to fight for her love. Sadly, that love is not Kaz. It appears that the ‘arranged’ marriage might not have been forced on Kaz, but it was forced on Maymouna, who loved some other person.  Maymouna comes clean to Kaz the night after the screening. She shows her messages to her lover, whom she still loves. She only married Kaz due to the pressure from her parents. Living in London, Kaz might see ‘Arranged Marriage’ as an option. But in the subcontinent, it is not always the same.

How Did Zoe and Kaz End Up Together?

This opens Kaz’s eyes regarding love and its importance. Kaz has been pretending, too. It has been clear that he harbors feelings for Zoe, as does she. So, Kaz and Maymouna send a video message to Zoe, saying that her film’s climax will need to be changed. On the occasion of Eid, Kaz also invites Zoe and Cath into their house. The Khans are in for a rude shock when Kaz appears without Maymouna. Kaz informs that they have decided to end their marriage.

Everyone argues against that, but Kaz says that he cannot pretend anymore. He reveals that Maymouna agreed to the marriage because she was coerced. A marriage cannot just survive via adjusting. Love needs to be there, despite Kaz not believing this before. After this, Zoe asks Kaz to come to their treehouse and commits to what she has never committed to. She professes her love for him, and they kiss. Thus embarking on a relationship while agreeing that they will have the freedom to break it if they feel like it.

Did the Khans ‘Forgive’ Jamila?

Kaz brings another surprise for the family apart from his divorce news. He has brought Jamila, her husband, and their newborn child. If there is one thing that parents and grandparents cannot look past, especially in the Indian subcontinent culture, it is grandchildren or great-grandchildren. Looking at the newborn baby, Aisha immediately hugs Jamila. All forgotten. Then Jamila takes the child to Aisha’s mother, the family matriarch, whose forgiveness seems quite important. And the great-grandmother cannot take her eyes off her great-grandchild. Thus, all is forgiven. And the Khans lived happily ever after. Cath is also happy that Zoe found someone, and she will not be alone.

Read More: 25 Best Indie Romantic Comedy Movies Of the Century

Trailer:

What’s Love Got to Do with It? (2022) Movie Links: IMDb, Rotten Tomatoes, Wikipedia, Letterboxd
What’s Love Got to Do with It? (2022) Movie Cast: Lily James, Shazad Latif, Shabana Azmi, Emma Thompson, Sajal Ali, Oliver Chris, Asim Chaudhry, Jeff Mirza, Alice Orr-Ewing, Rahat Fateh Ali Khan
What’s Love Got to Do with It? (2022) Movie Genre: Romance/Comedy, Runtime: 1h 30m
Where to watch What’s Love Got to Do with It?

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