A new clip from the upcoming action comedy Polite Society teases a sibling dispute to end all sibling disputes. The clip, which was released by IGN, shows sisters Lena and Ria Khan have a verbal disagreement that escalates to full-blown hand-to-hand combat. Directed by Nida Manzoor, Polite Society blends the visual humor of Edgar Wright’s movies with the slick martial arts of Jackie Chan’s cinema, for a “merry mash-up” of genre thrills and social satire.
Ritu Arya and Priya Kansara play the sisters Lena and Ria Khan, but when Lena accuses Ria of meddling in her relationships — particularly her newly announced engagement — the argument can only be resolved through a good, old-fashioned brawl. “Khan vs. Khan,” bold yellow letters declare in Street Fighter fashion as the two sisters start begind fighting in their bedroom. “I told you to piss off,” Lena tells Ria, as she rhythmically bashes her head against a framed photo of the two of them. As the sisters fight upstairs, we cut to their parents looking quizzically at the ceiling.
Despite what the clip might suggest, Lena and Ria actually love each other deeply. The real reason behind Ria’s anger is that Lena has agreed to an arranged marriage with someone she doesn’t even know, and Ria worries she has thrown her life away. Lena was, after all, the only person who supported Ria in her dream of becoming a stunt woman. And now, she’s giving up on her own dreams of becoming an artist in favor of settling down and resigning herself to what society expects of young women like her. Ria isn’t having it.
Polite Society satirizes the dictates that are often imposed upon women, particularly South Asian women. The “villain” of the film is what people from South Asian communities would call an “aunty”; and nobody has described what an aunty is better than Devi from Never Have I Ever. “Aunties,” she said for everybody’s convenience in the first season of the show, “are old Indian women who have no relation to you but are allowed to have opinions about your life and shortcomings.” In recent years, there has been a boom in stories about the South Asian experience, thanks in large part to the success of shows like Never Have I Ever. Last year, Ms. Marvel did more to bridge the gap between India and Pakistan than most elected officials.
Polite Society premiered at this year’s Sundance Film Festival to positive reviews. Collider’s own Chase Hutchinson praised the film’s heart and ambitious tonal shifts. He wrote in his review, “Polite Society proves to be a triumphant action comedy with wonderful characters you only wish you could get to know even more.” Also starring Nimra Bucha, Shobu Kapur and Ella Bruccoleri, Polite Society will be released in theaters on April 28. You can watch the new clip here, and read the film’s official synopsis down below:
A merry mash-up of sisterly affection, parental disappointment and bold action, POLITE SOCIETY follows martial artist-in-training Ria Khan who believes she must save her older sister Lena from her impending marriage. After enlisting the help of her friends, Ria attempts to pull off the most ambitious of all wedding heists in the name of independence and sisterhood.