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What Will People Say 2017

What Will People Say | Hva vil folk si | Was werden die Leute sagen | Vad ska folk säga | Hvad vil folk sige | La Mauvaise Réputation

What Will People Say-Hva vil folk si-Was werden die Leute sagen-Vad ska folk saga-Hvad vil folk sige-La Mauvaise Reputation

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Sent to a country she's never known... she must risk everything to break free.

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About the What Will People Say 💬

  • Based on the director's own experiences.

WHAT WILL PEOPLE SAY is a tense drama about love, social control, women's rights, immigrant identity, familial duties and a young girl finding her own way between Norway and Pakistan. Based on director Iram Haq's own experiences as a young Pakistani woman in Norway, it features an astounding debut by 18-year-old Mozhdah.

Sixteen-year-old Nisha (Maria Mozhdah) lives a double life. At home in Oslo, she obeys the traditions and values of Pakistani family life, but outside with her friends she is just like any other Norwegian teenager. But when her father (Adil Hussain) catches her alone with her white, Norwegian boyfriend in her room, Nisha's two worlds brutally collide. To set an example and escape the judgment of their peers, her parents send Nisha against her will to a small town in Pakistan to live with extended family. There, in an unfamiliar country surrounded by people she barely knows, Nisha must adapt to a rigid culture that denies her the freedoms she once enjoyed. After returning to her family in Norway, Nisha faces another crossroad as her parents continue to plan for her future and the hope of repairing their collective honor.

WILL PEOPLE SAY is the second feature film by director and scriptwriter Iram Haq. Her first feature, I Am Yours (2013).


The story of WHAT WILL PEOPLE SAY is my most personal so far. When I was 14 years old, I was kidnapped by my parents and forced to live for one and a half years in Pakistan. I have waited until I felt ready as a filmmaker and as a person to be able to tell this story in a wise and sensible way. That is to say, without making the girl appear as just a victim and her parents as merely her perpetrators. I wanted to tell an impossible love story between parents and their child; one that cannot have a happy ending as long as the gap between these two cultures remains so wide. I want to put the audience side by side with Nisha and her emotions throughout the film. After a long casting process, we finally found the perfect actress for the part in Maria Mozhdah. It was an amazing discovery, and she was a joy to work with alongside the more experienced actors in the other parts.

Iram Haq

  • Director Q&A

Q: Let's start with the film's title. Where does it come from?

Iram Haq: The saying 'WHAT WILL PEOPLE SAY' (log kya kahenge) is an expression all Pakistani and Indians can relate to. In Hindi and Urdu, it's an expression that's used frequently in families and environments where tradition and honor are highly valued. And this focus on what other people's opinions are is something I want to get rid of; actually, pull out the roots once and for all.

Q: But on a more personal level, what does this saying actually mean to you?

Iram Haq: Behind all of this there's a personal wish to live an honest life; to be faithful to myself. To do the things I want to do and not to live for others. It's just not in my nature to conform to others. Which is why I find it interesting to take a closer look at what conforming to other people's - or an entire system's - wishes and needs actually does to people. There's a kind of freedom in telling girls that are being socially controlled, that it's hard while it's going on, but that they should never let themselves be cowed by someone else's wants and needs.

Q: What type of conversations do you hope the film will create?

Iram Haq: I hope the film will open for a deeper understanding for the dilemma parents and children find themselves in, especially when they come from such different worlds like Nisha and her father. I'm not interested in provoking anyone, but I have a strong need to tell something true.

Q: What inspired you to create the emotional story behind this film?

Iram Haq: The movie is inspired by several events from my own life. Like Nisha in the film, I mostly had Norwegian friends and it felt really unfair being a young girl and not being allowed to do what the others were doing. I was kidnapped by my own parents and had to live with my relatives in Pakistan when I was 14 years old. That being said, I've added a lot of fictional elements to the film.

Q: How has your creative process changed from the time you initially conceived the idea for the film?

Iram Haq: I've waited to become mature enough to be able to convey this story in a nuanced way, to avoid it being a story about terrible parents and that poor girl. To put oneself into their situation is naturally harder for me than it is to relate to my own generation, but I had to try to put myself into their mindset; look at it from both sides. I also spoke with psychologists that work with the child protective services and other multi-cultural girls.

Q: What are some of the key elements you tend to gravitate to when writing your scripts?

Iram Haq: Narratives that interest me will always come first. And social control, family relations and especially the dynamics within the family is something I've been interested in for quite a while. I like exploring close human relationships and how we interact with each other.

Q: The shoot was split between Norway and India. What was it like working in India?

Iram Haq: Working in Rajasthan in India was a magical experience. My father and ancestors are from there. I do know the language and that helped a good bit. I felt like I found myself there. I was in India five times and got to show pictures and share some memories with my father while he was still alive. That meant a lot to me.

Q: What was it like working with a wide range of actors, in terms of age, professional experience, and cultural backgrounds?

Iram Haq: I loved having a whole Indian team working together with Danes, Germans, and Swedes. The actors have been amazing the whole time; I love all of them. You do get very close to each other in an intense creative process such as making a movie. Maria Mozhdah who plays the leading role is a really amazing girl. There is something simply extraordinary about her. We had such amazing chemistry on set that at times I even forgot she was only 17.

What Will People Say Movie Details 🎥

Directed by

Iram Haq

Writing Credits

Iram Haq


Maria Mozhdah

Adil Hussain

Ekavali Khanna

Rohit Saraf

Ali Arfan

Sheeba Chaddha

Jannat Zubair Rahmani

Lalit Parimoo

Isak Lie Harr

Nokokure Dahl

Music by

Lorenz Dangel

Martin Pedersen

Cinematography by

Nadim Carlsen

Genre: Drama

Countries: Norway, Germany, Sweden, France, Denmark

What Will People Say Official Trailer

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