SXSW: I’ll Meet You There
“The yearning of the dance was the yearning of the spirit to be reconnected with god.”
Written and directed by Iram Parveen Bilal, I’ll Meet You There is a moving portrayal of a family trying to reconnect with each other. The story follows three generations of a Pakistani-American family living in Chicago. Majeed (Faran Tahir) is a city cop tasked with investigating the local mosque’s potential terrorist ties. It’s a great opportunity for his career but it also means he’ll have to bridge the divide between himself and his faith while also betraying his community. Majeed is a widower trying to raise his teenage daughter Dua (Nikita Tewani) on his own. Dua is a dancer, something she inherited from her mom, who teaches dance at a local nursing home and is preparing to audition for Julliard. But as she connects with her Muslim faith she realizes that her culture and passion for dance are at odds with each other. She takes private lessons with her aunt Shonali (Sheetal Sheth) to learn the dance style her mother used to perform. Dua must hide her freer lifestyle from her grandfather Baba (Qavi Khan). Baba has been estranged from his son Majeed since the death of his daughter Fatima, Dua’s mother. Baba’s traditional ways are at odds with Dua’s more modern lifestyle and Majeed finds himself in the middle of a contentious family dynamic. At the heart of it all is their love for each other which transcends the generational divide.
“I’m a better filmmaker and human being because this film exists; by its existence, this project is questioning mainstream discourse on Muslim American identity, immigrant assimilation and the question of nationalism.”Iram Parveen Bilal
I’ll Meet You There is a heartfelt film with complex characters who grow and change as the story progresses. It’s a sweet, sensitive film that adeptly explores all the nuances of Pakistani culture and the Muslim community. For Pakistani-Americans it offers a mirror and for everyone else a window into a culture that is not our own. I’m drawn to films like this one that explore the family dynamic and how individuals forge their own destinies. I highly recommend I’ll Meet You There to anyone who wants to broaden their horizons or just wants a sincere family tale.
I’ll Meet You There was set to premiere at the 2020 SXSW Film Festival.