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May 2, 2024 91 mins

This week, Jamie, Caitlin, and special guest Pireh Moosa chat about Polite Society! Check out our tour dates at  

Follow Pireh at @conspirehcies on Instagram, and check out her piece on the movie at 

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Episode Transcript

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Speaker 1 (00:00):
Hello Bechdel Cast listeners. It's May, which means the Shrek
Tannectur kicks off this month, starting on May twenty second.
We've got two shows in London, then we are scooting
over to Oxford for the Saint Audio Podcast Festival on
May twenty fourth. Then we're doing shows in Edinburgh on

May twenty sixth, Manchester on May twenty eighth, and finally
on May twenty ninth, we will be in Dublin. And
speaking of I me Caitlin, am doing a stand up
show in Dublin on my birthday on May seventeenth, So
you're gonna want to come to that as well, and
you kind of have to because it's my birthday and

it would be rude not to. So all of the
ticket links for all of these shows can be found
at link tree slash Bechdel Cast and we will see
you there.

Speaker 2 (00:57):
On the bechdodcast, the questions asked if movies have women
and them all their discussions just boyfriends and husbands, or
do they have individualism? It's the patriarchy, zephim vast start
changing it with the Bechdel Cast.

Speaker 1 (01:12):
The gods whispered to the podcaster. You will not withstand
the fury. The podcaster whispers back, I am the Fury.

Speaker 3 (01:24):
And then and then we eat shit live on YouTube. Yeah, yes, perfect, perfect,
Welcome to the Bechdel Cast. I think you know personally,
I know it's an audio medium, but Caitlin did just
do the full stunt.

Speaker 4 (01:40):
Sorry, I don't know. I'm not yunis.

Speaker 3 (01:43):
I don't know what stunt words. They did the whole stunt.

Speaker 1 (01:46):
It was a flying reverse spin kick and I executed
it perfectly.

Speaker 3 (01:51):
Uh huh uh huh absolutely.

Speaker 1 (01:54):
Hello and welcome to the Bechdel Cast. By the way, Yes,
my name is Caitlin Dorante.

Speaker 3 (01:59):
My name is Jamie Laughtus, and this is our podcast
where we talk about your favorite movies using an intersection
of feminist lens.

Speaker 1 (02:07):
It's so true, and we use the Bechdel Test as
a jumping off point. It's a media metric created by
a queer cartoonist, Alison Bechdel, often called the Bechdel Wallace Test.
And one passes this test when two characters on a

test is no, I don't know what I'm saying.

Speaker 4 (02:31):
Sorry. It's eight am for us listeners today.

Speaker 3 (02:34):
It will soon become clear why this is necessary, but
it is eight in the morning, and so sometimes the
sentences are gonna come out a little crooked.

Speaker 1 (02:42):
It's very true. Anyway, the Bechdel test is passed, at
least our version of it. When two characters of a
marginalized gender have names, they have to speak to each other,
and their conversation has to be about something other and
a man. Ideally, it's a plot relevant, juicy, little piece

of conversation.

Speaker 3 (03:07):
So give us, give us them, little Chris. Okay, I
think honestly, we got to just get our guest in
here because our guest has actually been awake for a
whole day, and I think we need their support.

Speaker 4 (03:22):
This week, we are covering a.

Speaker 3 (03:24):
Movie that I feel like did not get enough at
least wasn't on enough screens.

Speaker 4 (03:29):
In the US.

Speaker 3 (03:32):
But when I was really excited to watch and we've
gotten some requests for Polite Society, I loved it and
I'm so excited to bring in our guest in chat.

Speaker 1 (03:42):
Yes, she is a writer, journalist, musician. She wrote a
piece about this very movie entitled Unhinged and Unafraid. Polite
Society is a story told by and for Brown women.

Speaker 4 (03:56):
It's Piere Mussa.

Speaker 5 (03:57):
Hello, Hi, It's so great to be here.

Speaker 4 (04:02):
Thank you for joining us.

Speaker 5 (04:03):
No, thank you, I'm so sorry.

Speaker 4 (04:05):
Live from eight pm. Yes, how is your day?

Speaker 5 (04:09):
My day was full, fuller than yours at least our.

Speaker 1 (04:14):
It's just well, now that we're doing this podcast with you,
I feel full.

Speaker 4 (04:20):
I do.

Speaker 6 (04:21):
I do.

Speaker 4 (04:22):
Wow, that was really beautiful.

Speaker 5 (04:24):
Did we did? We just fast the beck of guest?

Speaker 4 (04:27):
We did? I guess, So we'd like to start.

Speaker 3 (04:33):
We really loved your piece, and we usually start the
conversation by asking our guests what I mean, it's a
very recent movie. But what's your history with this movie?
And also how did the piece come to be? Because
we're going to link it in the description as well.

Speaker 5 (04:47):
Awesome Okay, So I came across this movie because I
was already such a massive fan of the director, Nada Mansour.
I had seen her show We Are Lady Bart's couple
of years ago for a course called Female Friendships in
World Literature, and it blew my mind, and it like,

I have so much to say, I feel like that's
another podcast episode entirely, but that show changed my life.
It showed me so much about South Asian diasporic representation
that I had never ever seen before, Like it showed
me how South Asian diesport women, South Asian disport Muslim

women can be represented in a way that isn't sanitized.
Is kind of ugly, very honest, hilarious, fun and so cathartic.
And I had never seen anything that felt more like me.
So I was like, I need to do a deep
dive into everything this woman has ever done. And I
found the trailer for Polite Society and I was super

super excited. And when the I mean, you might have
to edit this point out, but.

Speaker 7 (05:57):
Like the way I watched it was not the most
legal of ways. That's fine, but yeah, because that's the
only way that we got access to the movie.

Speaker 5 (06:09):
Like, it wasn't officially released in cinemas, but I needed
to get my hands on it. So when I watched
the movie, I think like it came out in twenty twenty.
I watched it in twenty twenty three at least, and
I think it also released in cinemasn And yeah, so
like there's been like a lot of talk around action

films revolving around women, like The Black Widow one came
out a few years ago. Then there's before that Captain Marvel,
and then there's also been most recently Madam Webb. And
it's like there was this constant trend of people not
giving a crap about women action films. Like it was
like there has to be, like, you know, either we

have to sell it with some kind of a narrative,
like she has to be sexy, she has to appeal
to a certain trope, she has to be like the
one single badass bitch that like men can and enjoy,
or like she has to like there has to be
some kind of marketable selling point or we're not gonna
care about writing it and no one's gonna care about
watching it. And it was it was really frustrating to

see because it was like I was so tired of
men coming to me and being like, oh, did you
see Captain America catch thorsh Hammer in the fifty seventh
mor like I don't, I don't care. I want to
see something about women fighting that feels real, that feels honest,
and that feels like I can place myself in that scenario.
And when this film came, that was finally it. So

it was not just like, you know, they didn't just
put like this one woman in a spotlight to be
like a sexy temptress kind of figure, like yeah, Priya
PRA's the actress right now. Riya Hahn the main character
in this movie. She she feels so authentic. She feels
like she's hilarious. She's she falls over a bunch, We

laugh at her. She's embarrassing sometimes and we see we
see like she isn't the most conventionally gorgeous person in
the world, and that's so refreshing to see, especially like
especially for someone that looks like me, because we never
like there's there's barely a mold that I can talk
about when it comes to representation for people that look

like me in global media, and when there is, it's
mostly like like when I'm looking for representation for people
that look like me, it's like what I've seen is
so horrendous. It's like, you know, either we have to
paint like a super sanitized picture of like what we are,
like what South Asian culture is like even in Uh,

What's Love Got to do with It? Like it's like
like there's something so weird about like a white girl
coming with a camera to Pakistan to explore Lahore and
it's like, I like, I want to see something that
doesn't need to be explaining my culture to white people,
Like I'm done with trying to explain myself, right. So

there's that, and then there's also like, I don't know
if you guys have seen this movie, Like it came
out a while ago. It's called What Will People Say?
It's like a Norwegian Pakistani film, and it was like
one of the very very few Pakistani dice wort films
that came out a while ago. In that movie, it's
just like Norwegian Pakistani girl is oppressed in Norway, then

she gets sent back to Pakistan. She's more oppressed in
Pakistan than she had sent And it's like, I'm so
tired of seeing people get beaten up and oppressed so
that like white people can go to a cinema cry
about what they did to us and leave, Like I
want to see something fun, Like I want to see
some action. I want to see something that celebrates my

existence or the existence of South Asian women, but also
something that tackles very very real themes and things that
we go through on a day day basis. And I
think that this film was really it.

Speaker 1 (09:57):
Yeah, Yeah, what a breath of fresh air this movie is. Yeah,
Jamie what about you? What's your relationship with it?

Speaker 3 (10:07):
This was my first time actually seeing this movie. I
missed it in theaters when when it was out here,
But we were talking about this before we started recording.
I loved We Are Lady Parts when it came out
on Peacock a couple of years ago.

Speaker 4 (10:20):
Fuck it rocked.

Speaker 3 (10:21):
Nita manzur Is she's like close to our age, Like
it's so, I don't know.

Speaker 4 (10:26):
I find her so personally inspiring because she's like making
her shit.

Speaker 3 (10:31):
I also I remember being so blown away that she
like directs and wrote every single episode of We Are
Lady Parts.

Speaker 4 (10:37):
It's so distinct, it's.

Speaker 3 (10:39):
So funny, and it's just so her. And I love
woman oh tours and especially in comedy because I feel like, oh,
it's just really exciting. So I was really looking forward
to seeing this movie and I loved it. I was
raving about it to my boyfriend at like six thirty
this morning. I was like, no, because I knew that

martial arts was a big part of the movie.

Speaker 4 (11:03):
That was like half of why.

Speaker 3 (11:04):
I was like, wow, like it's so because like you're saying,
like it's there's not a lot of action movies led
by women, and when there are, they're often like, I
don't know, like kind of like even when they exist,
they're kind of samey or there's still a lot of
like male gaze applied, and it's I don't know that said.

I thought Madam Webb was fun at the movies.

Speaker 1 (11:30):
Anyways, Uh web connects them all. It's as simple as that.

Speaker 3 (11:35):
Look it delivered on the tagline her web did actually
eventually connect them all, and that was all I needed
to be happy, and so I left knowing that her web. So,
I mean, I guess my one note for play Society
is like where was her web and why.

Speaker 4 (11:50):
Didn't it connect them all?

Speaker 1 (11:52):

Speaker 3 (11:52):
But outside of that, I just I truly was like
there were gonna spoil the movie because it's a movie podcast,
but like the midpoint in this movie where I just
like did not see it coming, like I feel like
she subverts what you because I was like, Oh, this
is gonna be like a really fun martial arts like
coming of age comedy, and then in the middle it

gets fucking.

Speaker 4 (12:16):
Weird and like wild, and.

Speaker 3 (12:19):
I'm so excited to talk about it because I was
just like, whoa, this is so fucking cool.

Speaker 4 (12:24):
It's such a like.

Speaker 3 (12:26):
Strong, weird, wild choice. I'd never I don't know, I'd
just never seen anything like it, and I loved it
and I'm excited to talk about it. Caitlin Winter History
with Polite Society.

Speaker 1 (12:39):
I saw trailers for it when it did get its
theatrical release in the US. Also, I think it premiered
its Sun Dance, so it like it. It's screening origins,
at least were happening in the US. I think it
didn't come out until sometime in the spring, but I was.
I had been seeing trailers for it, and I was like, Ooh,

this movie looks so up my alley. Because I love
action movies. I love obviously, I love a ROMP. I
love a romp. I love action comedies specifically obviously. I
love movies where women are the driving force. So this
had everything I was looking for. And I also am
a big fan of We Are Lady Parts. I had

seen it a few months prior, so I was like,
really ready for this, And I went to the AMC
Theater because we come to this place for magic, and
I saw the movie and I loved it, and I
bought it as soon as it was available to purchase,
like digitally, I rarely do that because most movies, I'm like,

it'll end up streaming somewhere something like that. But I
own it now, thank you so much, and hell yeah, yeah,
I'm a huge fan of the movie. Also very excited
to talk about it. So, uh, let's take make a
quick break and then we'll come back for the recap.

And we're back. Okay, We are in London. Ever heard
of it? And we meet two sisters. One is Rhya
Khan played by Priya Kansara. She is a teenager and
her dream is to become a stunt performer in movies.

There's a famous stunt woman named Eunice Huttart, who she
admires is real. He's a real person.

Speaker 4 (14:42):
I didn't realize.

Speaker 3 (14:43):
I love that this movie is like No, she's like
she was the stunt double for Angelina, Joe Lee, Mila
Jovovich and Uma Thurman.

Speaker 4 (14:54):
She's a legend. Yep, she's in Titanic.

Speaker 3 (14:57):
Caitlin Sorry, wait what Yeah, she's a Oh now you care.

Speaker 4 (15:02):
I've cared this whole time. She worked on Titanic.

Speaker 5 (15:06):
Oh I did not know about the Titanic thing.

Speaker 4 (15:09):
Wow? Yeah, wild, This feels great.

Speaker 3 (15:11):
This feels great to know I feel so safe knowing
that Unie was working on Titanic.

Speaker 1 (15:17):
Yeah, that's very exciting. In any case, she is Ria's idol,
and there's a move of hers, Unice's signature move, the
flying reverse spin kick, that Ria is trying to master,
but she can't quite get it. The other sister is

Lena Khan played by Rito Ariya. She is a painter.
She was in art school, but she recently dropped out.
She seems to be in a bit of a depressive funk.
Despite that, though, the sisters have a close supportive relationship
where Lena helps Ria train and make stunt videos for

her channel.

Speaker 3 (16:02):
Did you and question, did you recognize Rito Ariya from Barbie?

Speaker 4 (16:07):
Yes, yes I did.

Speaker 3 (16:09):
It took me till halfway through the movie, as like
journalist Barbie got it, got it, got it, because I
don't watch The Umbrella Academy anyways.

Speaker 1 (16:16):
That is I think what she's best known for, I
think these days. But yes, So Lena helps Ria train
a mixed videos. Ria encourages Lena to keep doing her art.
She's very supportive of her sister's artistic pursuits. Then we

see Ria at school and we meet her two best friends, Clara,
and Alba played by Sarapina Bay and Ella Brooklary, respectively.

Speaker 3 (16:48):
These characters are the most friend friend characters of all time.
Like there, I like that. I mean it's like clearly intentional,
and I feel like she keeps doubling down on it.
She's like they've got a secret handshake. They know about
screenwriting structure. They like they're finishing each other's sentences. They're

like the friendliest friend characters in all of friendship.

Speaker 1 (17:13):
And I'm not mad about it.

Speaker 4 (17:14):
No, I love it worked.

Speaker 5 (17:16):
Yeah, their friendship also felt like an actual, like real friendship,
because like Rio was as weird as they were, and
it wasn't like there's like one you know, indie main
character that somehow has like two entirely wild, strange best
friends that are just like token characters. Like it felt
like an actual, real friendship and that they would actually

get along totally.

Speaker 4 (17:40):
They're great.

Speaker 1 (17:41):
Yeah. I like the Clara and Alba are like constantly
ragging on each other and like doing like playful name calling.
Other people might not like that, but I was having
a fun time with it.

Speaker 3 (17:53):
Just felt very like I don't know, teenageen friendship where
team friends. And also there's like an element of kiss already, Like,
you know, just teen friends.

Speaker 1 (18:04):
It's complicated, right, Okay, So we meet them, and we
meet this bully girl named Edith Kovaks. And Ria and
Kovaks get into a fight in the middle of the
school day, and Riya tries the flying reverse spin kick
again during the fight, but she fails and she loses

the fight. Ria goes home. She and Lena live with
their mom and dad, who don't really get what their
daughters want to do with their lives, but they try
their best to be supportive their mom, Fatima played by
Shelbu Kapor. She goes to tea with her friends, one

of whom is Rakhila Shah played by Nimrabucha. She is
an intimidating woman. Will say that she is trying to
set up her son with a nice young woman to marry.

Speaker 5 (19:05):
I also, I also want to add I've met Nimra
in real life. She was the sweetest person. Yeah, I have,
And it was it was so wild because I was like,
I've just seen you be like a wicked, like scary person.
This isn't this is computing for me. But yeah, no,

she was so sweet and I have a picture with
her somewhere.

Speaker 1 (19:30):
If you can find it, send it to us and
we'll put it on our Instagram. If you're cool with that.

Speaker 5 (19:36):
Yeah, yeah, that's fine. I'll send it if I find
it nice.

Speaker 3 (19:39):
That part must have been so fun to play. I
just like, I understand why not everyone is gonna love
like that.

Speaker 4 (19:49):
The choice to go the way they did with her character.

Speaker 3 (19:51):
But I was like, it's so she when the turn
takes place, it was like reminding me of like Glenn
Close Kruella Deville, Like she was ohing for it.

Speaker 4 (20:03):
It was awesome.

Speaker 1 (20:04):
Yeah, it's great. And Rahuila invites the con family to
her id soiree at her mansion, and Ria reluctantly goes
with her family to the Soare. There they meet Rahila's son,
Selim Shaw, played by Aksha Khana. He is rich, and

he's a doctor slash geneticist, and he's handsome. And I
have the biggest crush on the actor, not the character.
Obviously the character is not a good person, but I'm
in love with akshay Kana, just so everybody knows. Anyway,
And many of the women at the soare are swooning

over Selim, except for Ria. She thinks he's a prick.
She thinks he's suspicious. She notices a creepy dynamic between
Selim and his mom, so she goes snooping around the
house and then she finds all these photos of young
women which seem to be like possible candidates for a

future his wife, and one of the photos is her sister, Lena,
so she's like, what the folk's going on here? This
is gross? And then Ria sees Lena flirting with Salim
and then they make plans for a date. And Ria
is super worried because she thinks that Lena getting married

will mean that it will derail her future and her
like prospects as an artist and things like that. But
Lena and Selim go out on a date and they
have a nice time, and then they keep going out
over the next few weeks, much to Ria's dismay, especially

because Lena is no longer doing her art or helping
Ria make her stunt VIDs for her channel. And then
Lena reveals that she and Salim are engaged, and this
obviously makes Ria very upset, so she forms a plan
to take down Salim, and she enlists the help of

her friends Clara and Alba Phase one of the plan
to take down Sealim is diplomacy good for her, where
Ria tries to talk sense into her parents and into Lena,
who reveals that once she gets married to Salim, they're

moving to Singapore, so the stakes are even higher and
the diplomacy thing doesn't work, so they move on to
phase two, which is trying to get dirt on Salim.

Speaker 3 (22:46):
This whole sequence and I like, looked to the whole
sequence is great. I was really interested in what Nita
Mansur's inspirations were because I felt I was like, ooh,
this is like a mean girl's reference and I checked
and it was with the chalkboard and the turning to
your friends and being like work on a fuck is
life up? I was like, this is me and girls

and she confirmed there's like I don't know. Her list
of inspiration was really fun. She cited a lot of
like she's like Jane Austen Tarantino. It is every single
which I do. I feel like you could feel a
lot of like kill Bill in this. She had a
lot of Bollywood inspiration, like she just like I love

reading interviews with her because it just seems like she's
seen everything and she's not a snob, and I just oh,
I was like, it's mean girls, and it was Yeah.

Speaker 1 (23:38):
I've also read that she draws inspiration from Jackie Chan
movies as well as Cohen brother movies, Edgar Wright movies,
and old Hollywood, so she's seen it all. Wow. Okay.
So they're trying to get dirt on Salim, so they
stage a heist where they go to the gym where

he works out they steal his laptop.

Speaker 4 (24:05):
Ria is in.

Speaker 1 (24:05):
Drag so that she can sneak into the men's locker room.
They get the laptop and Clara downloads everything off of
his hard drive. There's a point where Ria takes off
her disguise and kind of like interrogates Salem about his
intentions with her sister. And then Lena finds out about
this interaction at the gym and she's pissed. She thinks

that her sister is meddling in her life. So they
have this big, like action movie fight in the bedroom.
Ria is like, I don't know who you are anymore.
The Lena I know would never give up on her art.
And then Lena's like, well really because I already did,
because I'm not good enough and it implied that, ugh,

I know, it's like, I know.

Speaker 4 (24:51):
You feel there was okay there.

Speaker 3 (24:53):
I had two instincts there where I was like, you
are good enough, Lena, and then I was like I
had an evil thought.

Speaker 4 (25:00):
I'm like, well, we haven't seen her art. What if
it sucks? Not really? What if she's right there but
no feminism.

Speaker 3 (25:08):
She's the world's best artist, She's so good. But I
was just like, m suspicious that we haven't seen any
of this amazing art.

Speaker 5 (25:18):

Speaker 1 (25:18):
We see her painting something, but we like don't get
a good view of it at the beginning.

Speaker 5 (25:24):
And she also stabs it, so, you.

Speaker 1 (25:27):
Know, kind of compromising the integrity of the.

Speaker 3 (25:30):
Piece or maybe defining it. Maybe maybe she's deconstructing what
this is meon five cups of coffee at eight thirty am.

Speaker 1 (25:40):
Yeah, yeah, it's exactly that. Meanwhile, Clara is not able
to find any dirt on Salim from his laptop, so
Ria moves on to phase three, a smear campaign where
Ria plans to plant dirt on Salim by way of
breaking into the Shaw residence and putting quote unquote used

condoms all over Salim's bedroom, which is really just condoms
filled with so much lotion.

Speaker 4 (26:11):
It's a bold move.

Speaker 3 (26:12):
It's give her credit where credit is due.

Speaker 4 (26:15):
It's a bold move.

Speaker 1 (26:16):
It's just funny that she doesn't seem to know how
much come gets ejaculated.

Speaker 5 (26:23):
No, I was like, what what ceatures we're on?

Speaker 4 (26:29):
Wait, guys, is that that's not normal?

Speaker 1 (26:33):
Jimmy, you might want to have your sexual partners get
looked at by a doctor.

Speaker 4 (26:37):
That's not a regular amount of.

Speaker 1 (26:38):
Com Yeah, that's like a blue whale amount of comic.

Speaker 5 (26:45):
And this is this is the point where I ask
my mom to not watch this. Yeah, but it's.

Speaker 3 (26:52):
Like such a good detail. I just God, I feel
like I'm just gonna it's like the Nita Manzor fan hour.
But like, she just has such a good eye for details.

Speaker 4 (27:04):
She's so awesome.

Speaker 1 (27:05):
It's so funny. Yeah, Okay. So and then Ria does
all of this alone because she is being an ungrateful
jerk to her friends Clara and Alba, so they bail.
While planting this incriminating evidence, Ria discovers a wedding photo
of Salim and another woman, so she thinks he's already married.

And Ria gets caught by Rahila. She's like, what are
you doing in my house?

Speaker 4 (27:35):
Because of course she gets caught. I was like, I
don't know.

Speaker 3 (27:37):
I think I was just movie pilled where I was like,
she's gonna get away.

Speaker 4 (27:41):
You're like, no way to get to get away.

Speaker 3 (27:43):
She's like sixteen and walking around with fake come like it.

Speaker 4 (27:47):
She's gonna get caught.

Speaker 1 (27:49):
Yeah, and she does, and then her whole family comes
over and they're like what the fuck Ria, And then
Salim explains that that photo of the other one is
his first wife, who died of a heart attack during childbirth,
and that's why he does the work that he does now.
He's focusing on women's symptoms so that something like that

won't happen again.

Speaker 3 (28:14):
Really awesome acting choices by actually Khana here, I thought
were like this was the first time where when he's like.

Speaker 4 (28:22):
No, I just cared too much about it.

Speaker 3 (28:25):
I promised I would never let a woman feel pain again.
And you're like, m he's lying, he's lying, he's lying.
It's all a bit dramatic.

Speaker 1 (28:35):
I was too distracted by how hot he was.

Speaker 5 (28:39):
Of course, I feel like I've seen too many of
the same face here doing the same things that he does,
so I'm immune. No, there's nothing.

Speaker 1 (28:50):
That makes sense either way. Everyone is furious with Rhea,
and she is devastated that she's going to be losing
her sister. She feels like, also, Lena isn't talking to
her right now, so things are messy. We then see
this weird dreamlike scene where Lena is sort of half

conscious and Selim is kind of hovering over her, and
we're like, hmm, what's that about. And then we see
Ria going over to Rahila's house to apologize for breaking
in and being messy, and Rahila is like, it's okay,
come in, I'm having a spa day. But then it

immediately gets weird and Rahila is like, this wedding is
going to happen. Stop trying to interfere. And there's this
part where a body hair waxing scene is mapped onto
a like evil mastermind in an action movie torture scene,

and it's very very funny.

Speaker 3 (30:00):
So this twist though, is like this is like where
the movie starts to You're like.

Speaker 4 (30:05):
What thinking's going on?

Speaker 3 (30:07):
So fucking awesome here where I feel like there's I
was expected at this point. I'm like, okay, I feel
like the younger sibling, Like all these tropes are a
younger siblings they're little stinkers.

Speaker 4 (30:19):
They're projecting.

Speaker 3 (30:21):
You know, this movie's gonna end with Ria accepting that
Lena has to move on with her life and blah
blah blah blah blah, but they'll always.

Speaker 4 (30:29):
Love each other.

Speaker 3 (30:30):
But then it's like, no, all of her worst fears
are true and the only way to get out is
through martial arts that she learned on YouTube.

Speaker 4 (30:39):
And you're like, whoa, Okay, it's so awesome. I love
the twist. It's great.

Speaker 5 (30:46):
Yeah, so good.

Speaker 1 (30:47):
Yes, so what we're about to find out? Because Ria
is freaked out and she runs off and there's another
kind of like action movie fight scene where she's fighting
off the SPA people, and then she runs into this
room to hide, where she discovers a medical lab with
all of this like freaky equipment, and there are fetuses,

and then there's data on her and on Lena about
like fertility levels and uterus strength, and Lena's numbers are
really high, making her a quote unquote ideal host. And
Ria realizes that the Shaws plan to use Lena as
some kind of like uterine vessel.

Speaker 4 (31:34):
Freaky vessel.

Speaker 1 (31:36):
Yeah. So Ria runs home and explains all of this
to her mom who doesn't believe Ria and tells her
to drop it. So then Ria goes back to her
friends Clara and Alba to apologize and enlist their help
again to rescue Lena at her wedding and get her

away from Salem and Rahila before they can abduct her
and take her to Singapore. So they hatch a plan,
but they need a way to escape, so they ask
the bully girl Kovas for help because she has a car.
She refuses at first, but then agrees to help, so
then we cut to the wedding. Ria has been asked

to perform a dance and she does it before she's
supposed to, but that's part of the plan to distract Rahuila,
while Alba and Clara, who are disguised as waiters, sneak
into Lena's room to chloroform her and kidnap her. And
then Rahela realizes that Lena is gone, and so she

and Ria have this big showdown, during which Ria finds
out the full story of what's going on. Raheila was
married off at a young age and had to sacrifice
everything she wanted, so Selim is going to clone her
and use Lena's womb to host the clone baby so

that Rahela can start over fresh and reach her full potential.
And we're like mm hm, yes, yes, exactly, what wouldn't
you exactly? I mean I would like to start over sometimes.

Speaker 4 (33:24):
Yes, I think that.

Speaker 3 (33:27):
Like again, just like really cool reveal of her motive.
Like she's like, no, I'm I don't want your sister
as a baby machine, but that doesn't mean I respect
her bodily autonomy.

Speaker 4 (33:38):
And you're like mmmmmmmm yes.

Speaker 1 (33:43):
So they have this fight and Ria effectively loses, and
Rahela gets her hands on Lena again and locks Ria, Clara,
and Alba away, but then Kolvax comes to rescue them
and freeze them. Then the wedding star ceremony starts and
Lena is in this daze, probably from the Chlora form,

and she doesn't really know what's going on. She's about
to marry Selim, but Ria and her friends come storming in.
Ria now has a gun that she stole from a
security guard.

Speaker 3 (34:18):
Also, this is a minor character, but Ria's established as
having a bully who has I don't like the phrase
daddy issues, so I'm choosing from here here onward to
call it father problems.

Speaker 1 (34:33):
Okay, sure, papa problems.

Speaker 3 (34:36):
Yeah, she she's got She's exactly. It's just so infantilizing
to say daddy issues and but I have them, but
their father problems. So she has father problems and then
she returns they I like that. It all comes around,
and now now the bully is friend love when that happens,
but her, like father problems are resolved in the space

of two line of dialogue, like where Ria's like, hey,
thanks and sorry about all that stuff we said about
your dad not loving you, and She's.

Speaker 4 (35:07):
Like, it's all good. I don't my dad's a fucked
up person.

Speaker 3 (35:11):
You're like, well, okay, cool, and like that resolves in
the middle of this huge set piece. You're like, oh,
good for that bully.

Speaker 4 (35:19):
She fixed it.

Speaker 1 (35:22):
She realized that her papa does have problems. Yeah, and
it's not her fault.

Speaker 4 (35:30):
Boost Yeah exactly.

Speaker 3 (35:32):
And she goes through all of that in the middle
of an active kidnapping. Yes, and I celebrate.

Speaker 5 (35:37):
That martial arts is always the solution.

Speaker 4 (35:41):
Violence is the answer fixes things.

Speaker 3 (35:45):

Speaker 1 (35:46):
Okay. So she takes everyone at the wedding hostage with
this gun she has, and she explains to Lena that
Selim is going to put a clone of Huila into
her uterus, which trugs some memories for Lena of like
these weird and invasive experiments that Selim was doing on her,

and so she's like, whoa, my sister's right. And then
Ria and Lina and their family and friends fight back
against everyone else at the wedding. So there's like this
big fight, and then there's the final showdown between Ria
and Lina and Rahela and Selim basically the cons versus

the Shaws, and Ria finally does the flying reverse spinkick
to defeat Rahila. Meanwhile, Lena is kicking the shit out
of Selim, and then the sisters drive off and they
make amends, and then they go get burgers at a
diner and then Ria gets an email from Unice Hooteart

inviting her to brunch and they all live happily ever after.
So that's the movie. Let's take another quick break and
we'll come back to discuss and we are back, right,

So where shall we begin? There's lots to talk about
so much.

Speaker 3 (37:19):
Yeah, Peter, where would you like to start?

Speaker 5 (37:22):
Let's talk about the sisters. I mean, like, yeah, there's
barely like any content out there own sisters, and it's
so like like for a movie that passes the Bechdel Test,
like this is like such a gold mine to start with,
Like sister relationships are so like I love that this
was like a like a Shaddy, which means wedding, like

wedding based movie, but like based around women's relationships and
sister relationships, because there's so much conversation around weddings that
revolves around women's relationships and how they're affected and how
they're traumatized by it, and there's such little representation of
that that corner spec typically like the sister corner of
like what weddings and Shadi's result in. And it's like

like I I love that the sister dynamic was so
turbulent and so chaotic and it wasn't like sanitized, and
like the fight scene was so like like I was
like washed is going on.

Speaker 1 (38:22):
It's intense. Yeah, they're like bashing each other's heads against
broken glass.

Speaker 3 (38:27):
They just destroy their parents' house like it's it's great, It's.

Speaker 5 (38:32):
Yeah, it's it's messed up, and like I love that
it's so messed up. And Nitha Manzuo does this thing
where like she doesn't shy away from anything ugly or
messed up, and like the choices that she makes are
so interesting, like to have the like this gigantic action
scene with like shattering glass and screaming and blood be
about like the relationship between two sisters. Says like so

much about their relationship and it isn't like, oh, you know,
we love each other, we support each other, Like that
relationship has so much the governor, and I'm glad that,
like she she took the initiative to show all the
kind of complex shades and that relationship and like, like
I love so much that in that specific fight as well,
like she was just like, oh he thinks he knows

you or something, and he says you're kind, but like
you're arrogant, you're an egoistical, and you're an artist, and
like it's it's so true that like like there's this
thing with sisters where they just like know each other
so well, and I don't know, I don't know that
anybody else will be able to, especially not like men.

Speaker 1 (39:35):
Yeah, and I love that they're so unwaveringly supportive of
each other's interests, like.

Speaker 3 (39:42):
Yeah, even when they're being assholes to each other.

Speaker 1 (39:45):
Yeah, yeah, and it's really cool to see because, like,
you know, they're they're in the same generation, and so
they're like, all right, I get it, you want to
be a stunt woman. This is not something that our
parents really understand or are that supportive of. And then
the other sister wants to be an artist. Similarly, their

parents are like, going to art school isn't serious and
you were brave for dropping out. So there's this, you know,
generational gap where their parents don't really understand their interests.
But the two sisters are supportive of each other because
they kind of have to be because their parents are
not really on board. So that was really cool to see.

I feel like that's a very relatable thing. Yeah, I
just I love that we see the supportive side of it,
the loving side of it, but also the very messy
them bashing each other against walls and stuff. But also
it's revealed that like it probably didn't happen as violently
as it seems to be on screen, because then cut

to the next scene and Rhea doesn't have any of
the blood on her anymore, or any of like the
cuts so very exaggerated, like it's magic.

Speaker 3 (40:58):
Yeah, yeah, I really, I mean I thought that it just,
I mean, just I agree with everything you both said.
I wanted to also add I don't know, I really
like the older younger sister dynamic going on because even
though I don't I don't have I mean I have.
I grew up with all my cousins, and I feel
like I had a couple of different older sister you

know figures that I was constantly like admiring but arguing with,
and you know, projecting onto and all this stuff. And
I think it's like really well built out where it's
like and Ria eventually understands this and vocalizes this, but
like she is first of all afraid for her sister
because she views her sister entering this relationship, which I

think is convincingly like this relationship might not suck at
the beginning. Those early scenes are very convincing. But like
I think that, like it makes total sense that Ria
is like, well, if this could happen to you, this
could happen to me, and I don't want and so
I will fight against it with with everything I've got.

And it just felt like such a specific little sister
like mentality and clearly comes from love and to some
extent being naive, but then also she ends up being
totally correct.

Speaker 4 (42:18):
So I don't know, like.

Speaker 3 (42:21):
It's it's a little like you can you can see
it in a lot of ways, but I just like, yeah, there,
their relationship was cool and I liked that, you know,
even though it turns out he was doing evil experiments
on her in the night time. Uh that Lena is
very you know, like stands her ground and you know,

I don't know, they're both smart and which is why
they're always arguing. And I just yeah, I thought like
the very particular older younger sister dynamic was like very
clear and very specific and and I just love where
I feel like it's uh difficult, especially in a comedy,
for like the characters to be developed through action scenes,

but that is happening in almost every scene.

Speaker 4 (43:06):
It's great.

Speaker 1 (43:07):
I know, I love it. I mean just to like
zoom out a little bit. Like this movie, like you said,
it focuses so much on women and their relationships with
each other. Because not only do we have this sister dynamic,
we've got a focus on friendships among women with Rhea
and her friends and then the bully girl becomes their friend.

We also have a mother daughter dynamic where like their
father is present in the story, but he gets way
less screen time than their mom Fatima. So I like
that that is like given focus and I mean just
in general, like this is representation we rarely see in

Western movies of you know, brown Muslim women. The movie
was written and directed by brown Muslim women. Again, it
focuses on women. It focuses on women in action where
women are like doing the action and that's moving the
story forward, which is usually not what we see in
action movies. It's women being funny and generating the humor. Again,

it shouldn't be a rare thing, but like comedy movies
often don't let women be the funny ones or have jokes.
And all of the humor in this movie derives from
from the women and their antics. And I don't know,
there's just so much to love. Sorry, I just had
to like give a list.

Speaker 5 (44:46):
No, that's so like, that's so true. I was thinking
about the Bechdel test again while you were saying this, Like,
I think this one like actually wins because it's like
there's it's it's not like there's like a conversation with
doing women, Like there's no men like that there's no
men doing any like women did all the fighting. I
think there was maybe, Like so I wrote this in
the article the first time around, Then the second time

round when I watched it, like I realized, there's maybe
like one tiny shot of like a dude kicking someone
from the distance, and that's it, Like that's that's the
representation that men fighting get and like it's so cool
to like see that, like, Okay, the protagonist and like
the leader the driver is a woman, and then the
her rival, like the evil, wicked nemesis that she has,

is also a woman, and that power just like revolves
around women characters and all of the side characters that
have like narratives and storylines alongside all of this also women,
And it's it's so refreshing to see that we didn't
need to see like any men's arcs. Like Slim, they

didn't like I mean, yes, like he sucks, he's terrible,
and like, well, I feel like we need a section
on Mama's voice, but like he didn't do much, Like
there wasn't even an arc Like with Rahila. I think
there's still like an arc like where you've got to
know her a little bit, like with Salim. It's like
in the first instance where like Ria catches him at
the eight party and you see like kind of his

dynamic with the mom, like you're like, okay, Mama's boy,
and that's just essentially I mean, it grows more horrendous,
but that's that's what it is. And with Rahila, we
still get like a little bit of an arc. We
learn her backstory, and I'm glad that, like for once,
it isn't like women that get like a really cheap
side narrative that ends up eyeing the whole story together

and the end just for convenience. And it's like the
convenience storylines were the men, and the drivers were the women.
And that's I think that's really cool.

Speaker 1 (46:42):
Salim is just a puppet of Rare heelas she's like,
do my bidding, son, right.

Speaker 3 (46:50):
I wanted to I wanted to flow this because it's
I don't know if it's if it's a stereotype or
a stock character that we've talked about at the show,
but just because I saw I mean, for the most part,
the reviews of this movie were glowing incredible, and like,
I don't know, I am hard pressed to be to

criticize it because I feel like it's it's just like
so much shit that I'm like, I don't want there
to be any But I did see a little bit
of criticism around the slim character as falling into stereotypes
around South Asian men as being Mama's boys, and a
few other characters being cited. I don't feel like I'm

sort of able to intelligently comment on it, but I
just wanted to, I guess float that i'd seen that,
And yeah.

Speaker 5 (47:37):
So I like, I mean, I don't think we have
like enough representation of like South Asian people on a
global platform for us to for me to even like
make a decision about whether this is stereotyp because we
don't even get this kind of representation. So like this
is a celebration for me. And I think that it
did like so many things right, and like there is

an existing stereotype of Mama's boys in South Asia that's
like in Pakistan, It's very very prevalent amongst like, like
it is an existing stereotype that I have ranted about
to my friends like godless times, and there have been
there's there's been so many examples. So I wouldn't like

I have some qualms with the film, but I don't
think this would be it because I was like, yes,
this is I've seen like seventy of Salima like yesterday
at all.

Speaker 4 (48:33):
That's the thing.

Speaker 1 (48:34):
Some tropes are born from reality.

Speaker 4 (48:39):
I felt the same way.

Speaker 1 (48:41):
To some extent about Rahuila as yeah, the villain and
some of the tropes that are employed there because I
but I have mixed feelings about it because on one hand,
kind of on the surface, you could read it as, oh,
it's an older woman who is resentful of younger women

and she wants to relive her youth and all of
this stuff. It is contextualized because we learn that she
was married off kind of against her will as a
young woman. She presumably got pregnant soon after with Selim,
and basically just didn't have the opportunity to live the

life she wanted to live and to realize her full potential.
And totally fair to resent that, but she does it
at the expense of another woman's body and autonomy. But
that's why she's the villain, and like framed as the villain,
the movie is obviously recognizing that that's bad, but I

don't know, it's tricky maybe I just wish we knew
more a little more about her backstory and a little
more about what she did want to do, like what
potential she wanted to try to achieve.

Speaker 3 (49:59):
That could have been easy place to even connect, like
did she want to be an artist? Like there they
were like sort of connect her story to Lena's a
little bit.

Speaker 4 (50:08):
Yeah, I had the same thought.

Speaker 3 (50:10):
I I get, like, I I it sucks because I'm like, oh,
but she's so I love how evil she is.

Speaker 4 (50:18):
I like and and I love like the big action.

Speaker 3 (50:21):
The big boss is very rarely a woman much less
like a woman who's like over forty or fifty or
what I had a who knows how it but like,
you know, like a grown woman villain is awesome. And
also I feel like it comes, yeah, like with all
of this baggage that you sort of have to untangle.

I think it like probably could have been handled a
little better. I liked that there was at least an
attempt to contextualize it, and like it played on the
idea that you know, she and Salim are really invested in,
you know, almost forcing Lena to reproduce, but then reveal
that it's like the evil thing about her is that

she is so like, she is so hurt that she
didn't get an opportunity to live out her potential, that
she has no issue with taking that from someone else.
So I feel like that like got around some of
the tropiness, but it definitely is.

Speaker 4 (51:21):
Like you can't avoid it. It's for sure there.

Speaker 3 (51:24):
I just like, I just do love it so much.

Speaker 1 (51:28):
So it almost feels like the modern update of the
evil queen in snow white kind of thing.

Speaker 3 (51:37):
Yeah, Like it's step like an evil mother in law
stepmother kind of thing.

Speaker 1 (51:42):
Yeah, And it's definitely more contextualized than it is in those,
you know, like evil stepmommy fairy tale movies, but I can't.
Every time I watch it does rub me the wrong
way a little bit. But then I listen to an
interview with the writer, director Nida Monsur in NPR where,

when asked what she wanted to explore by writing a
villain who's a woman, Nita says, it's been the women
who've uplifted me the most in my life, but who've
also cut me down the hardest. There's something about the
pain of a woman critiquing another woman that hurts more

than when a man does it. Like you should be
on my team. It just cuts deep on a whole
other level. And so for me, I'm most interested in
seeing the matriarch who upholds the patriarchy. The dark feminine
is so beautiful because it's something that we have to quash,
we've had to deny. Getting to show the light in
the dark sitting together was really so exciting for me unquote.

Speaker 3 (52:52):
So yeah, that whole interview is like, is so insightful
and thoughtful, and like, I don't know, I think with that,
I'm like, you know, let her cook.

Speaker 1 (53:02):
I don't know, like right, especially because yes, Rahila is
framed as this you know, like overbearing mother who has
created this like mama's boy son and all of that.
But we don't see those same tropes applied to Riha

and Lina's parents. And that's also something that Nitemunsor spoke
about in this interview. She said how she deliberately wanted
to subvert the trope of the like super strict immigrant
parents for Ria and Lena's parents. She says, quote, it
was so important for me to see the parents kind

of occupy this very nuanced space of loving and supporting
their children but also being worried for them and nudging
them in a certain direction. The film is joyful because
our stories can be more than just sad and traumatic.
They're full of joy and nuance unquote. So again, yeah,

like the trauma that a lot of us feel based
on what our parents are trying to kind of foist
us into, or the direction parents want their kids' lives
to take, is traumatic in many cases, and so the
director wanted to avoid that for at least with Rhea

and Lina's parents, where again, they like they're trying to
be supportive. They don't really get what their daughters want
to do, but they're just like, well, let it happen
and we can't do much about it.

Speaker 3 (54:39):
So yeah, it's like a very common like parent experience
where they're like, all right, get it out of your
system and then grow up.

Speaker 1 (54:48):
Where yeah, yeah, my mom was like, wait, you want
to get another degree in film? You already have one,
And I was like, trust me, mom, this is going
to work. And look at me now I host the
Bechdel Cast.

Speaker 4 (55:03):
It's true anyway, amazing.

Speaker 5 (55:06):
I love that.

Speaker 1 (55:10):
What else?

Speaker 3 (55:11):
I guess I started to talk a little bit more
about Ria. I've got no I mean I've got nothing
bad to say about Ria. I love her so much.
I like that she has the out of everyone, she
has like the you know, most fully built out world.
I like that we get to know her friends. We
don't get to know her friends super well because they

are I feel like that's almost the joke of them.
It's like they know all about movie, they know how
movies work. Because their characters in a movie, you kind
of don't find out more about them.

Speaker 4 (55:45):
You actually get more context with her bully. But I
really like how Ria.

Speaker 3 (55:49):
It's like like subtly sort of placing her between two
worlds where she is being like teased at school and
like teased for wanting to be a stunt woman, but
there is like prejudice and there's like racism cooked into
that because they're like, well, you should be a doctor actually,
and she's like, no, I'm going to be a step

from it. And then like she's also not getting support
for that dream at home, but for a totally different reason,
and like she's having it's I mean, obviously I cannot
speak from experience, but it seems like a fairly common
like diaspora kid experience where you're kind of taking criticism
and shit from all sides and have to be processing

it in real time while also just like trying to
be yourself and do your thing and.

Speaker 4 (56:38):
Real like she's just the coolest. I feel like she's
just the blueprint.

Speaker 3 (56:42):
And I like that she's a fucking weirdo and not
in a like not like other girls kind of weirdo,
Like she's a weirdo who hangs out with weirdos and
people treat her like she's weird because she is, and
you're like, this is the but we love her and like,
I don't know, I just I.

Speaker 4 (57:00):
Really really love that character.

Speaker 3 (57:02):
Same and just like big Sister obsession, it's like it's
such a such a thing. And then on Lena's end,
I like, I mean that she's like clearly dealing with
some depression, maybe because she's a bad artist, we don't know,
but also that like the fact that she she's not

like well, I guess she kind of is quote unquote punished,
but like the movie doesn't look down on her for
wanting love or relationship and even though obviously Selim is
not the one the guy for her and perhaps should
be locked away from people. I like that I don't

know you're left in like an optimistic place with her,
and that it that weirdly like Lena's ending after this
like completely wild sequence that had all these reveals about
bodily autonomy and like viewing women's bodies as property and
things to be controlled and blah blah blah, and and

then at the end she's like, I don't know, I'm
just gonna like take some time off and figure it out.
And you're like, wow, very pragmatic after everything we just saw.
It's really nice.

Speaker 1 (58:19):
Yeah, I love that too. And I also think that
it's cool that there's no real like love story or
romantic subplot, excluding like the Salem of it all, which.

Speaker 4 (58:34):
He had me going. He had me going, I have
to say.

Speaker 1 (58:38):
I mean, because this is a tricky little thing that
happens sometimes where a man will seem like an ally
because for example, Salim is like I care about symptoms
that affect women, and he isn't bothered by period blood and.

Speaker 4 (58:57):
I hate that.

Speaker 3 (58:57):
I fell through It was like, wow, he doesn't think
her period is gross, And you're like, what is this? Bar?

Speaker 4 (59:04):
Jab come on?

Speaker 1 (59:05):
The bar is so.

Speaker 5 (59:07):
Low actually so sad, it's so.

Speaker 4 (59:10):
I know, sad.

Speaker 1 (59:11):
It's depressing, but it makes him seem like an ally,
which I think is a smart writing choice because it
throws the audience off the scent of all this freaky
stuff that's happening behind the scenes.

Speaker 5 (59:25):
Like as soon as the like with the period thing
that happened, and like you know, at some point, like
when they're on a dinner day and he goes like, oh,
you know, you don't have to you don't have to
do what your parents want, like you can take your
time to figure it out. And then like Namands who
are like Plantsy's kind of like, oh, you can maybe
trust this guy. But then it's just like like it

was an entire like get out esque flip. And like
what I remembered from these from these little scenes was
like can go like in Barbie learning about how like
the patriarchy has gone really smart and like they know
how to cover it up now, And I was like,
they really do. This is wild.

Speaker 1 (01:00:05):
A lot of men are now weaponizing the facade of
being an ally or like feminist language to manipulate people.

Speaker 5 (01:00:18):
Oh my god, like this I cannot like the number
of men that are resharing like anti harassment laws and
like the same men that are sending unsolicited images. Yeah,
this is a.

Speaker 4 (01:00:32):
Whole world, dude.

Speaker 3 (01:00:34):
I've been feeling the same way, where like I don't know,
and I feel like this exists across a lot of
different issues where people are learning the like I think
mental health is something that clicks for me a lot
of time, Like people are learning the like therapy language
and then weaponizing it to do something fucked up. I
was I like, wow, I was like, maybe it's just early,

but I was in a relationship like that where I
was like a guy knew therapy words but then was
using it to guess like me, you know, or it's
You're just like wait, what is this? Yeah, and I
feel like, yeah, the language of feminism. I think the
issue exists around race as well, where it's just like
people know what to say, but their actions.

Speaker 4 (01:01:20):
It's not squaring.

Speaker 3 (01:01:22):
And I feel like we're conditioned to expect so little
of people that it's easy to get away.

Speaker 1 (01:01:27):
With and sad but true.

Speaker 4 (01:01:30):
I fell for Salim's trick.

Speaker 3 (01:01:32):
I was so disappointed in myself that is like I
would have fallen for this in real life if you
was like, no, your period is normal, I'd be like really,
I think so.

Speaker 4 (01:01:45):
Oh, bleak. Yeah it is.

Speaker 1 (01:01:48):
It's very bleaching you. But aside from that, like faux
romance that doesn't end up actually being a romance between
Selim and Lena, there's no other romantic subplot like Rhea
or her friends. Aren't given any kind of little like

love story or anything, which is also rare for I
mean most genres but action movies. The protagonist usually has
some kind of love interest, but that's not the case
for this movie.

Speaker 3 (01:02:22):
Especially if they're like a young like teenage, like a
high school college.

Speaker 4 (01:02:27):
I feel like it's almost a given right.

Speaker 1 (01:02:29):
And we're not saying that, you know, romantic subplots are
inherently bad or anything like that, but so many of
them just feel wedged in or they feel patronizing because
it's like, well, this is a movie starring a bunch
of really tough men. How would a woman ever like
a movie like this? Well, let's put in a romantic
storyline so that women can come and watch it and

enjoy it, because women love love and men love punching
or whatever. We're watching it.

Speaker 3 (01:03:00):
Yeah, I like a very focused test, like we just
covered Herbie fully Loaded the other day, where there's a
very like shoehorned, like, well, of course, young woman a
young man need to kiss. And it's like, clearly the
Landsay Lohan character wants to have sex with Herbie the car,
like you know, like you're getting in the way of

the story by forcing this random relationship. This is a
love story about a beautiful woman and her elderly car.

Speaker 1 (01:03:34):
It's so true.

Speaker 3 (01:03:35):
Yes, anyways, anyways, the sixth cup of coffee is really
kicking in.

Speaker 1 (01:03:41):
I have had no coffee, so my brain is still
soup for doing great.

Speaker 3 (01:03:47):
I like, just again, I really appreciated Nitemanzur's commentary on
the Parents.

Speaker 4 (01:03:55):
I liked it.

Speaker 3 (01:03:55):
I feel like the parents were like it was such
a good balance of parents and like teen comedy trope
I feel like is to like turn the parents up
to a fifteen and make them super kooky and super
over the top, and like, I don't know, I always
think of I don't know why I'm always like the
parents and that's so raven, but like parents that are

so or just Disney Channel parents in general, where they're
so kooky that you're like, how does this person function?

Speaker 4 (01:04:24):
Like what do they do at work? They're always falling and.

Speaker 3 (01:04:27):
While there are like slapsticky really like physical comedy here.
I like that the parents are fairly grounded. You don't
get a lot of dad, and I'm not complaining about it,
but I liked that, like during you know, like Rhea's
diplomacy attempt, that you get a really clear idea of
who her dad is and how he's squaring like generation differences,

how he's squaring cultural differences and basically talking about weddings
like their math, and you're like, yeah, that feels very
dad coded. He's like, actually the love portfolio, oh is
even when you you're like all right. And then mom
gets precedents, not only in the like I like that
Fatima gets that big action moment where she wax you know,

Cruella on the head with a big heavy chair and
that rocks, but also she gets like little moments. I
really liked the moment where you know, Rho's getting in
trouble right and left because she's planting mayonnaise come in
other people's houses. But you get like a sweet moment
with her and her mom where her mom is like
I understand why this is happening, and like I love you,

but you've got to make it right, Which does inadvertently
put her daughter into the scary Dexter's lab thing.

Speaker 4 (01:05:44):
But I don't know.

Speaker 3 (01:05:45):
I just like this movie's so well balanced, where like
things could get so off the rails, but there are
enough like grounded moments and like really sweet relationships that
all of it feels earned.

Speaker 5 (01:06:00):
It's nice, yeah you Like you said something earlier about
like attention to detail as like a directorial trait that
Nitha Manzoo has and like she's she like this film
does feel really well balanced. Like there were these like
small moments with the mom, Like I really like one
that somehow has stuck with me is like when she

comes into the kitchen and she's like, oh, is a
scarf too much? And like that just felt like such
a such a regular person anxiety, especially for moms, and
like just like what you were saying about how parents
are so coogy and strange and a lot of these
comedy films, and like this parent actually felt like a
real person and I'm so glad that she did. Because

it's also like there are already enough tropes about brown
parents and like how they are with their kids, and
this really like this felt like there was love there,
like and we barely get to see that, so it's nice.

Speaker 1 (01:06:54):
Yeah. Also, Fatima's dealing with something where she's clearly like
trying to fit in with the other moms in her community,
and like she wants to be seen as like cool
and hot and fun, and you know, she's like, I

want to be friends with the popular moms, and she's
like trying to get into that group. And it's like
the same stuff we were doing teenagers, and I feel
like it does kind of keep happening throughout our lives.

Speaker 5 (01:07:32):
So wait, do you guys know about like getty party
culture in South Asia? Like I don't know if you
know about what kitty parties are?

Speaker 4 (01:07:39):
No, not really.

Speaker 5 (01:07:40):
Yeah, so there's like so they really got this like
kind of accurate where like I mean, it happens here
as well, but in the diaspora there's like this I mean,
like now it's it's prevalent everywhere, but like there's this
super South Asian thing called kiddy parties, and it's where
like moms kind of gather and they do their little

like peas and brunches and whatever, and they come and
get together and they they're when I go out to
lunch and there's a katie party going on. It'll be
like super loud, and everybody will be complaining about their
husbands or talking about their kids or doing something, and
it's like sometimes it's like it's really fun and wholesome
to see, but a lot of the time it's also
like there's a lot of judgment and there's a lot

of like like interesting polite society esque dynamics that happen
in these katy parties. So I'm glad that like she
took that concept and put it in a movie, because
it's a real thing where like moms are also trying
to fit in in these specific situations and are recreating
those teenage childhood dynamics because there's like an incompleteness that
they're also trying to fulfill with like everything that's going

on with their husbands at home with their children, and
it's just, yeah, a space to air it out, but
also a space where they need to police themselves and
kind of exhibit who can be the most polite or
the most like put together the best trophy y for
you know, those kinds of things.

Speaker 4 (01:09:02):
Yeah, that's that's really fat. Yeah, I I didn't know
about that.

Speaker 3 (01:09:06):
It's it sounds like in the way that that like
manifests in the in the story. It is very it
feels like just so many upper class stories like across
the board of just like.

Speaker 6 (01:09:20):
Very nicely criticizing your daughter's body, like really like they're like, no,
this is actually normal, and this is what people in our.

Speaker 4 (01:09:30):
Like class and stature do.

Speaker 3 (01:09:32):
Of course, we're policing women's bodies, which I mean, you know,
Selim's mom is doing at the highest possible level, but
like a little bit of like internalized misoggy, which I
guess you know. Nida Menzur was like, uh, sorry, I
keep saying her name. Nida Manzor was saying in the
interview as well.

Speaker 4 (01:09:53):
About like how it really.

Speaker 3 (01:09:54):
Hurts when it comes from a maternal figure who theoretically
has very likely experienced that same thing. I like that
their mom doesn't fit in because like why wohilch like
she's like how weird her daughters are. Of course she's
like a little weird, Like I like, I like it.

Speaker 1 (01:10:14):
Yeah. And on that note of gently judging someone's body,
there's a moment in the movie where Fatima is body
shaming a friend's daughter, and I like that you see
her daughters challenge that and say, whoa mom? Not cool? Like,

don't body shame? I feel like that is undercut by
an earlier moment where Rhea makes a fat shamy comment
about someone. I can't remember exactly who she's talking about,
but there's some body shaming comment. But at the very least,
I like that you see representation on screen of body

shaming and fat shaming being challenged, and I appreciated that.
Does anyone have anything else they'd like to talk about?

Speaker 5 (01:11:06):
How do you guys feel about the dance scene that
Rio did like at the wedding.

Speaker 1 (01:11:11):
I loved it. I thought it was beautiful and fun
and exciting and oh, something that you mentioned in your
piece and I also appreciated a lot was the fact
that a lot of the action is happening while they're
wearing these like beautiful ornate dresses. That's something you never
see because even when in the rare example where a

woman is allowed to do action in an action movie,
she's often characterized as having kind of like masculine features
or wearing masculine codd clothing or something that kind of
like makes her one of the guys.

Speaker 3 (01:11:50):
Yes, or worse, like one of the guys from a
very male gazy perspective of like I mean, we've talked
about this and a lot of our episodes where it's
like combat clothes that are like wildly unsafe in like
favoring the male gaze, where you're like, oh, she would
be gone, She's a goner if this is the real world.

Speaker 1 (01:12:15):
And to be clear, I'm of course not criticizing women
who dress in a masculine way or anything like that. Obviously,
people of all genders can present any way they want.
I'm just commenting on the tropes of how women tend
to be portrayed in action movies and the usually rigid
and gendered implications those tropes have. That's just what I

meant by that. And then again, as far as action
movies go, you rarely see any example of like femininity
being attached to an action moment. And so when she's like, yeah,
flipping around and the dress is flowing and it's so beautiful,

I just loved it.

Speaker 5 (01:13:04):
Yeah, that's so, that's so true, Like I'm seeing that
connection so clearly now. And there's also like bride tropes
around this and in our culture where it's like, you know,
a lot of the time brides are told to kind
of like walk very slowly, look down, not smile, and
then they're they're covered in these really really heavy dresses

where they're barely even able to move, and it's like,
I mean that can be a bit dramatic, that doesn't
happen all the time, but this is like a real
trope that happens like significantly, and it's like, so it
was so it was so nice to see like women
dressed in these shaddy outfits be so mobile and so
free and so like you know, like not restricted in

their movement and making their own choices and looking fierce
and even like drawing blood and like it was it
was so cool to see all of that backed into
this like one image of them bride, which is supposed
to be just like pretty and quiet and immobile. The
like it was just it was so nice to see
that like completely shatter totally.

Speaker 3 (01:14:10):
And also gives us another iconic the bride combat sequence.

Speaker 1 (01:14:15):
It's all like in Kill Bill.

Speaker 3 (01:14:17):
Kill Bill three, Baby, I love a fighting bride and
that like I liked that because I was wondering because
it is like thoroughly established, like Lena also is a
great fighter, and we see it in like you're saying kayl,
like where like you said earlier, like kind of this
heightened sequence where were like did it actually happen? But

then at the wedding, it's like she'd better get to
fucking fight, and she does and it's great.

Speaker 1 (01:14:45):
Because she helps Ria train. So yeah, she's like picked
up some fighting skills along the way.

Speaker 4 (01:14:51):
She's got the juice.

Speaker 3 (01:14:53):
Yeah, that's like just the whole like Act three climax
battle sequence was just wah.

Speaker 1 (01:15:00):
Beautiful, and then they have burgers at the end, they're
chowing down again something as little as like seeing women
eat on screen shouldn't be this like monumental thing, but
they're like again chowing down on some hefty burgers.

Speaker 3 (01:15:17):
I that like, I mean, I love obviously seeing women eat.
I have no problem with I feel like I've like
made fun of it. I don't think the thing I've
made fun of applies to this, because it was like
that is just also a funny joke of like, oh yeah,
they were supposed to be at a wedding, like of
course they're fucking starved, and also they just like kicked

a million people's asses. I was thinking more of do
you like how the menu ends and how Anya Taylor
Joy is pensively eating a cheeseburger. She's like this hot
girl eating cheeseburger thinking about all she's learned. I'm like
rolling my eyes. But those are usually written by men,
almost without fail. Yeah, this was great, And I just

loved that the movie ends with them together. It's really nice.

Speaker 5 (01:16:03):
Yeah, like after after you mentioned the hamburger thing, I
so the movie ends with them eating, but it also
kind of starts like I mean, it starts with with
Rha and the the yes, Oh my god, I love that,
Like like we see Lena stab her art and then
just going to wrote this ree chicken on the floor.

Speaker 4 (01:16:26):
Like it's really beautiful, bending over.

Speaker 5 (01:16:29):
And it's like really like she's hit rock bottom and
like I'm glad that it's on screen because I've been there.

Speaker 1 (01:16:38):
Yeah, and then a couple moms see her and recognize her,
and she like powers away in a little corner, but
that she keeps eating. It's so funny. This movie is
so funny.

Speaker 5 (01:16:52):
It is it, Like I I love how like there's
so many like wild hilarious moments where like like her
her quick cuts are so funny, like where where the
mom's at a party and then someone asks like, oh,
how are your daughters, and it just cuts to them
like jamming out to some song.

Speaker 6 (01:17:11):
Like the Chemical Brothers.

Speaker 1 (01:17:14):
Yeah yeah, or like when Ria's like, there is no
chance in hell I'm gonna go to some hoity toity
ad sware and then smash cut to them at the
ad SWA. It's good. It's good filmmaking. I love it.

Speaker 3 (01:17:29):
It is and it most definitely. I mean, I feel
like it's you've listened to the episode at this point. Listeners,
you know it passes the Bechdel test. It passes the
Bechdel test. Basically every exchange that isn't about Salim and
Rhea's suspicions around Salim.

Speaker 4 (01:17:47):
Passes the Bechdel test.

Speaker 3 (01:17:48):
I like, I don't even think it's necessary to like
rattle off which matches. It's basically between every.

Speaker 4 (01:17:55):
Pair of women in.

Speaker 3 (01:17:57):
The movie, it passes the Bechdel test at some point.

Speaker 1 (01:18:01):
And even when they are talking about men, it's like,
stay away from that man, he's scary, yeah, which I
feel like it doesn't pass the Bechdel test, but I
feel like there's some exceptions that you can make where
it's like it's okay to talk about men if you're
criticizing their bad behavior and or advising that you stay

away from them.

Speaker 4 (01:18:27):

Speaker 3 (01:18:27):
Yeah, I mean it's like it's the whole movie like
spiritually and actually definitely passes the Bechtel test with flying colors. Yes,
but the most important media metric of all time the
Bechtel cast nipple scale.

Speaker 1 (01:18:43):
Our scale, where we rate the movie zero to five
nipples based on examining it through an intersectional feminist lens.
This is a high one. This gets high marks. I
think I'm gonna go four and a half. I'm going
to take off a little bit of nippleage for that,

leaning into the trope of like the evil older woman
who resents the younger generation. Yes, it is contextualized, but
because it's rooted in so much I don't know, just
kind of nasty tropy lore. Again, it always kind of

rubs me the wrong way. But as Nitemunsor points out, like,
there are women who uphold patriarchal standards and there are
women who cut other women down. And just because we're
living in a slightly more enlightened time in twenty twenty
four doesn't mean that there aren't women who are very

much upholders of the patriarchy and Rhela is a woman
who will gladly sacrifice another woman's freedom and autonomy so
that she can try to have her own. So I
don't know, maybe I'll bump it up to four point
seventy five. There's so much else that this movie is

doing as far as representation and inclusion. And again, it's
an example of a movie about Brown Muslim women written
and directed by a Brown Muslim woman, drawing from her
own perspective and experience and representing these characters on her terms,

which is why the representation is so thoughtful and authentic.
And again, it's a story about women and their relationships
and women looking out for each other minus Rahila. And
it's so funny, and it lets women be funny, it

lets women do action, and I think it's awesome. Four
point seventy five nipples and I will split them between Rito, Ariya, Priya, Cansara,
ooh who else? Oh? I love her friends too. Oh
and I have to give a little tiny nipple to

my crush Akshay Khanna. So I know that didn't make
any sense math wise, but the.

Speaker 4 (01:21:21):
Live I'm gonna I'm gonna go four point five for this.

Speaker 3 (01:21:25):
I'll dock it for for the same reason it's sort
of unget aroundable. But also I'm just like, I simply
don't have the energy to be that mad about it
because this movie is doing so much else. I really
appreciated the context that gave for making that choice, and
it's just like such an amazing performance that I don't know,

it's it's hard to be mad at it. I feel
like this is like entering, definitely entering like one of
my favorite comedies I've ever seen. I think like I
can't wait to This just feels like such a like
future comfort.

Speaker 1 (01:22:01):
Movie for me. Totally.

Speaker 4 (01:22:03):
It's great.

Speaker 3 (01:22:04):
Yeah, I mean, I feel like we've sort of covered it,
but yeah, I think just like, developing a very funny,
very genuine sister relationship via kicking each other's asses and
the asses of others is a beautiful thing and I'm
never mad to see it. I am just like such
a big Nita Manzora fan, and I can't.

Speaker 4 (01:22:25):
Wait to see what she does next.

Speaker 6 (01:22:27):
I know, four and a half nipples.

Speaker 4 (01:22:29):
I'm giving them all to Nita.

Speaker 3 (01:22:31):
I think that she deserves it, and I hope we
get a season two of Lady Parts or just she
gets to make whatever she wants like I get whatever,
she's great.

Speaker 1 (01:22:41):
She's so great, pere how about you?

Speaker 5 (01:22:44):
So I'm torn between like a four point five and
a four point seven five. I'm gonna like list my
reasons and then ultimately qick one. But like, yeah, this
is such a like a fun movie. It made me
like get up and go to the gym after three
weeks of skipping the gym, and I was like, I'm
intellectually above all the men in this room who are
probably all Mama's boys, and and it was it felt

so so powerful to have seen this movie and then
to be moving around my room and doing things like
I felt like I had like a force with me,
and I think she, like Nina Manzur, it does like
an excellent job of giving women that power because it's
it's just so refreshing. There's so much to collect that
power from, like from all the relationships that we see

grow throughout the movie, from all the relationship like from
all the characters that we see driving the narrative and
fighting and kicking each other, and like even from all
the the ugly representations of women that we see that
we that we don't get to see usually, Like there
was nothing on that screen that was satisfying an old
dude alone in his room like this was this was

for us, and it felt so cathartic and amazing, and
like there were also so many like little interesting subversions
that she did, Like when the girls were fighting, they
were insulting each other's dads, and I was thinking about
how when men fight they tried to insult each other's moms,
And like, there's so much she did to like pick
out the ridiculousness of like gender tropes that we have,
and she does such a good job with it. And

also the comedy was so amazing, like the when Ria's
in drag and she has the mustache on and she's
doing a walk. It's and how like both friends have
to do the walk to be a man, Like it's
so funny and and just like the zooms and the

and the pants and the like bird sound effects, like
it felt like I was reading a comic and it was.
It was so much fun And I barely ever get
to see things like this, And I will say I
wanted like, although like Rahila may something like you know,
we didn't get enough of her character for it to
feel completely like complex and non trophy but like I

I will say that I like that there was this
completely evil witch figure that could also embody like kind
of like how evil the patriarchy can be when like,
you know, women get control of it, and it's like,
like we don't often get to see like the control
that women haven't often. It's like patriarchy is an oppressive

tool towards all genders. But it's like I like that
there was a side of women that we got to see,
where like she was smart enough to kind of manipulate
that system to get what she wanted out of it,
and there was an entire evil character built around that.
And it's like the men were just lazy and dumb
and privileged, and the women were the people that really
knew this system well enough because it screwed them over.

But it also like there was enough room for them
to resist, and we don't get to see that often.
So I like that she took up an entirely evil
role because like, in keeping with the comic book type
feel of the movie, like it felt like we really
needed a full villain and like a full protagonist, and
like we got like a her versus story that felt

really like like something I've never seen before, so I
like I liked it for that reason. I think I'm
like I'm lowering half a nipple for maybe like like
I wanted to see a little bit more authenticity with
like maybe the parents and children dynamic. I felt like
so something that like I'm such a huge fan of

Nidam and Zoo's content, but I feel like sometimes like
these relationships feel a little bit like like I love
that there's love there. We barely get to see that,
but there's also like like, you know, how are these
kids swearing in front of their parents as like brown teenagers?
I want to know where are these cheat codes? I
want them like there's this never happens. This is not

a thing, and it's like especially like with the kinds
of parents that like, you know, they had where they're
kind of like, you know, they are a little bit traditional,
even if they're they have love and they want good
things for their children. Wanted a little bit of that
authenticity there because like I think that was like the
one thing that was kind of missing, but it was
also so much fun that I don't I'm fine with it.

And then I wanted to like kind of forgive that
again and give it a four point seventy five because
so I don't know if you guys know or have
if you've heard the song or if you had heard
the song in the dance scene before this movie. But
it's like a really really iconic Bollywood song. It's called
Mardala and it's about like so originally it was in

this iconic Bollywood movie that like everyone has seen in
their childhood went probably when there when they weren't supposed
to have seen it, but like it's called Devdas and
the song Mardalla. Like in Devas, there's a woman who
does this dance to Mardalla and she's like she's supposed
to be the other woman and she's actually like a

sex worker and she does this iconic dance. The actress
Madari Dixit is this like incredible icon in Bollywood, especially
for dance, and she plays this this sex worker in
the scene where she dances to Mardala, and it's like
like there's I mean, that film is iconic in its
own right, but it also has like a lot of

like that's an entirely different discussion, but what was so
compelling was that everybody remembered this one song and this
one dance that this sex worker was doing. And it's like,
I find it so amazing that Niddha Manzour was like,
this is the song that I'm going to honor from
all of Bollywood and I'm gonna get Ria to dance,

because it's like Riha is a little bit like the
other woman figure in this movie, Like not in the
sense that she's competing for Salem, but in the sense
that she's the rival to the to the main relationship.

Speaker 1 (01:28:47):
She's trying to interfere with the romance.

Speaker 5 (01:28:50):
Yeah, yeah, exactly. So, I like, I find it so
cool that she found a way to honor like that
iconic performance that's been so timeless and that like we
still downset the weddings and yeah.

Speaker 3 (01:29:03):
I didn't even I didn't know that there were that
many layers to that choice.

Speaker 4 (01:29:07):
That's so cool. Thank you for telling us.

Speaker 1 (01:29:10):
Her web does connect them all.

Speaker 3 (01:29:12):
It's true, Nitamanzor's web, it connects us all.

Speaker 4 (01:29:17):

Speaker 1 (01:29:18):
Sorry, are you landing on four point seventy five nipples?

Speaker 5 (01:29:22):
I think so. I think so. I'm gonna end with four.

Speaker 1 (01:29:27):

Speaker 4 (01:29:28):

Speaker 1 (01:29:28):
I love it when a movie scores very highly on
the nipple scale, because it almost never happened.

Speaker 3 (01:29:35):
Yeah, a new classic in the Bechdel Cast pantheon.

Speaker 1 (01:29:40):
So true, and thank you for joining us on this discussion.
Where can people follow you and check out your work
you're writing anything like that.

Speaker 5 (01:29:50):
I'm notoriously horrible at advertising everything I do. But I
have one Instagram page where so it's called it has
my name in it, like it's a fun for Conspiracies,
and that's where I put out most of my music.
And in my bio there's a link tree. I barely
use social media, but like, please go go follow that

for occasional yearly posting.

Speaker 1 (01:30:17):
Nice, amazing, and we'll link your piece that you wrote
about this movie in the description of this episode. And yeah,
thank you again.

Speaker 4 (01:30:26):
For joining us.

Speaker 1 (01:30:27):
Come back anytime so much.

Speaker 5 (01:30:29):
I had so much fun. Yy.

Speaker 4 (01:30:31):
I just love this.

Speaker 3 (01:30:32):
I love this movie. So you can find us in
all the regular places. You can find us on Instagram
and Twitter at Bechdel Cast. You can follow our Patreon
aka Matreon, where for five dollars a month you can
get access to too bonus episodes, as well as our

back catalog of over one hundred and fifty episodes over there.

Speaker 1 (01:30:57):
Indeed, you can also grab our merger at teapublic dot
com slash v Bechdel Cast and grab all your merchandising
needs from there, and they're all designed by a one
Jamie Loftis.

Speaker 4 (01:31:11):
Wow, good for her au.

Speaker 3 (01:31:15):
And with that, uh, let's get cheeseburgers and get an
email from our hero.

Speaker 1 (01:31:20):
Oh my god, I'd love too.

Speaker 4 (01:31:22):
All right, brunch brunch with Unis.

Speaker 3 (01:31:24):
Let's go yes amazing, Bye bye.

Speaker 1 (01:31:30):
The Bechdel Cast is a production of iHeartMedia, hosted by
Caitlin Derante and Jamie Loftis, produced by Sophie Lichterman, edited
by Mola Board. Our theme song was composed by Mike
Kaplan with vocals by Katherine Vosskrosenski. Our logo in merch
is designed by Jamie Loftis and a special thanks to
Aristotle Acevedo. For more information about the podcast, please visit

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Caitlin Durante

Caitlin Durante

Jamie Loftus

Jamie Loftus

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