This Pakistani-Norwegian’s Film Has Made it to the Oscars

The film is Norway’s entry for “Best Foreign Film”

Another Pakistani film has made it to the Oscars. The Pakistani-Norwegian film has been accepted as Norway’s entry for the “Best Foreign Film” category.

Norwegian-Pakistani film-maker Iram Haq’s What Will People Say is set to compete in the 91st Academy Awards. What Will People Say is the doleful tale of a Pakistani-Norwegian girl Nisha starring Indian actors Adil Hussain, Ekavali Khanna and Rohit Sarafi.

You can check out the trailer of the movie here:

While we’re excited for the competition, Irum is just driven by her love for the art and isn’t concerned with competition.

“When I started making the film, the most important thing for me was to tell a story in an utmost honest manner. And as an individual, I strongly believe that art is never a competition.”

A still from the movie ‘What Will People Say’.

Irum said that she’s glad her film has been selected for its storytelling, what she really strives for.

The parts of the film that depicted Nisha’s life in Pakistan, were actually shot in Rajasthan, India.

Adil Hussian even bagged the Best Actor award at the Amanda Awards, which is also known as the Norwegian National Awards.


Haq’s What Will People Say focuses on the issue of culture shock that comes with raising a multicultural child, in this case Nisha, who is played by Maria Mozhdah. While the children grow up in a culture that is drastically difficult from their parents’, the difference in mindset and social values can often drive a wedge between families.

The story does not demonize parents that have difficulty adjusting to a new culture, but rather it empathizes with their struggles.

“It was important for me to put out both sides of the story. You see, the film is basically a love story between a father and his daughter and that does not really work because they are coming from two different generations, genders and mindset.”


The insight into the struggles of a multicultural child whose parents are well integrated came from the director herself. She also faced similar problems growing up as a South Asian in a Norwegian society.

The lead actress (left) with the director (right)

“I wanted the young generation to break free of that constant thought of log kya kahenge (what will people say) and assert that we are not here to live up to the expectation of ‘log (people)’… we are here to live our zindagi (life). This is how I always stand by my child as a mother,”

The point of ‘what will people say’ boils down to one between dependence vs individualism.

This isn’t the first time Haq’s film made it to the Oscars. Her earlier work I am Yours was also selected as Norway’s entry for Best Foreign Language Film category previously as well.

Written by Ummara Sheraz

Entertainment & culture writer at ProPakistani/Lens. Occasionally dabbles in other news.


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