Oz Arshad’s directorial debut Finding Fatimah brings us the story of Shahid, a Muslim divorcee looking for love on dating app Single Muslim. He stumbles across the beautiful Fatimah, but with divorce considered a scandal within his community, he must decide whether or not to tell her about his past.
The characters are rapidly introduced at the start, with their personal plights brought to the forefront from the get-go. Unfortunately, they’re all so two-dimensional that you really don’t feel you have a chance to get to know them. Truly random, weak storylines are thrown into the mix which confuses the narrative. There’s Shahid’s attempt to win “Muslims With Talent” with a comedy act that’s just so bad you find yourself cringing throughout, and then there’s Fatimah’s bizarre anger-management issues which attempt to give her character some depth, but come across as completely unnecessary and unbelievable.
There’s some comic relief to be found in Shahid’s useless best friend Nav, who brings potentially the only laughs to this very flat comedy, but jokes that actually hit the mark are few and far between. The sad thing is, the cast genuinely give it their all, but the flabby script and lack of direction let them down. Even the editing, which should be so smooth it goes unnoticed, is poor – with lingering shots after the characters move out of view.
Finding Fatimah would have worked nicely as a TV series, with more time available to really flesh out the characters and their idiosyncrasies. It’s a cute plot with genuinely good actors, who, given more space to evolve, could really make this story work. However, the 99-minute running time drags and by the very end it’s hard to care what happens to the characters.
CAST: Danny Ashok, Asmara Gabrielle, Nina Wadia
DIRECTOR: Oz Arshad
WRITER: Oz Arshad
SYNOPSIS: Shahid struggles to find love in the Asian community due to the stigma of his divorce several years prior.