Enable Javscript for better performance
Cinema Without Borders: Inshallah A Boy — Mother's courage- Cinema express

Cinema Without Borders: Inshallah A Boy — Mother's courage

In this weekly column, the writer explores the non-Indian films that are making the right noises across the globe. This week, we talk about Amjad Al Rasheed’s debut feature Inshallah A Boy

Published: 29th August 2023

There’s much to relate to as an Indian with Amjad Al Rasheed’s debut feature Inshallah A Boy. Be it the opening sequence of the chaotic spread of houses in an underprivileged neighbourhood of the Jordanian capital of Amman. Or the introductory shot of the protagonist Nawal (Mouna Hawa) getting embarrassed at her innerwear falling from the balcony on a passerby.

But more than a few odd scenes like these, the most relatable aspect is the larger issue of unceasing battles that women must wage within a patriarchal setup. The fate of a woman in an educated, wealthy household in Amman is no different from a woman of an underprivileged background. On the one hand, is the newly widowed Nawal, being told by the women in a condolence meeting that she has lost everything with the passing of her husband Adnan. On the other is the daughter of her rich employer unable to find her parents’ support despite her husband cheating on her.

Rasheed claims the inspiration for his directorial debut goes back to growing up in a family full of women, being privy to their candid conversations and more specifically to the struggles of a close relative who found herself confronting existential questions following the sudden death of her husband. Rasheed takes several brave and subversive swipes at Jordanian society, supposedly a more progressive country in the Middle East but still steeped in conservative values. On the one hand, you have a widow being asked not to step out of the house for four lunar months and ten days from the death of her husband. On the other is a young woman talking rebelliously of intimacy with a man and dismissively of motherhood. It’s not a virtue for her or a mandatory role she wants to get confined in. The no-holds-barred portrayal of illegal abortion then feels revolutionary in the context of this schizophrenic reality.

Rasheed lays bare the hypocrisy and opportunism of men. How in the name of helping, they are ready to exploit women in vulnerable situations. How Jordon’s inheritance laws—based on Islamic Sharia jurisprudence—are stacked against women and under which a widow in the absence of a male heir can be forced to relinquish rights to the property to the closest male relative. So, even as Nawal is struggling to cope with the loss of her husband, she realises her brother-in-law Rifqi (Haitham Omari) has eyes on their home and even wants custody of her daughter Nora. In her desperation to delay court proceedings for nine months, Nawal resorts to faking pregnancy. A choice that forces her to face moral dilemmas and conflicts within herself and her conscience.

The finale does feel a trifle easily negotiated. Even though it doesn’t offer a resolution, there’s possibility and promise of hope for the future. Ultimately, Inshallah A Boy is all about resistance and survival against the odds, fighting for the bonafide rights and taking control of one’s destiny, breaking the shackles and finding liberation in something as basic and banal as being able to drive.

Related Articles


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.