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Their choices are reflective of the stubborn limitations of an industry where straight men still dominate, and where whiteness remains an integral component to what love looks like onscreen.
There’s a scene early on in the new romantic comedy The Big Sick, where the comedian Kumail Nanjiani (playing a version of himself) is sitting next to his girlfriend Emily (Zoe Kazan), talking about wine.
During their conversation, which begins flirty and fun but soon turns emotional, Emily looks at Kumail and suddenly says, “I am overwhelmed by you.” They’ve only been dating for a short while, so her admission comes as a bit of a surprise, but Kumail, looking into Emily’s eyes, unable to repress a smile, replies that he is also “overwhelmed” by her.
It’s the kind of sweet moment, heightened by the levity that surrounds it, that exists only in the best romantic comedies.
In these cases a white woman being a Hindu would be encouraged for family unity and continuing culture.
If I had planned my life more carefully, maybe I would have been more on the lookout for an Indian husband.But what makes it especially notable here is the fact that Kumail is a Pakistani-American man, and when the camera cuts to his face receiving and then expressing love, it upends what we’re accustomed to seeing in most classic movie romances.