'Americanish' – Review

Chemistry, charm and comedy mesh delightfully in Iman K. Zawahry’s engagingly old-fashioned intercultural rom-com
'Americanish' – Review

Chemistry, charm and comedy mesh delightfully in Iman K. Zawahry’s engagingly old-fashioned intercultural rom-com about two sisters and their cousin as they deal with tradition, relationships and family life while living in Jackson Heights, New York.

Americanish is the first Muslim romantic comedy directed by an American Muslim woman which offers a clever take on the genre. The film follows the Khan sisters Sam (Aizzah Fatima), Maryam (Salena Qureshi), and their cousin Ameera (Shenaz Treasury) as they tackle their complex lives.

Co-scripted by Zawahry and Fatima, the film offers an astute perspective on the experiences of American-Muslim women. Both sisters are ambitious…Sam works for a public relations company and is set to get a promotion as team leader, while Maryam is studying to get into medical school. Despite that, their traditionalist mother Khala (Lillete Dubey) is proud of them, but she still wants her daughters to get married as soon as possible.

And while Sam and Maryam do embrace their Pakistan roots they also still embrace their American life.  Things get even more complicated when their cousin Ameera comes over from Pakistan to find a husband, ideally a Pakistani doctor who has made his fortune in American and fits her definition of the perfect Prince Charming.

The trouble is that the good old USA throws her a spin-ball and when she starts to grow closer to a young shopkeeper things get confusing for her given he does not fit into the guidelines for the man she is searching for.

The cast all deliver spot-on performances. Aizzah Fatima and Salena Qureshi are impressive and convincing as the sisters; Shenaz Treasury brings a whole lot of charm to Ameera, while George Wendt (the ever-loveable Norm from Cheers) is memorable as the racist Republican politician who Sam works for.

Americanish ticks all of the right rom-com boxes, and while it never re-invents the genre and is relatively straightforward in structure and tone it is fun, comfortable and astute in the way it delivers its cultural back story, convincing characters and a real sense of insight. The message of coexistence between cultures and races is an honourable and important one and Iman K. Zawahry delivers a film that is genuinely warm and gently enjoyable.


Dir: Iman K. Zawahry

Production Co: Autonomous Pictures

Producers: Aizzah Fatima, Paul V Seetachitt, Maddie Shapiro, Roy Wol

Screenplay: Aizzah Fatima, Iman K. Zawahry

Cinematography: Chloe Weaver

Editor: Jesi Rojas

Production design: Caley Bisson, Kait Murphy

Music: Russ Howard III, DJ Rekha

Main cast: Aizzah Fatima, Salena Qureshi, Shenaz Treasury, Lillete Dubey, Mohammed Amer, Anuja Joshi, George Wendt, David Rasche, Kapil Talwalkar, Ajay Naidu, Godfrey, Meghan Rafferty, Lucie Pohl, Lillete Dubey

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