Sixteen-year-old Nisha is just like all other Norwegian teenagers. She goes to parties, hangs around with her friends and has her eye on a nice boy. There is just one difference: Nisha has to do all of this in secret, because she is being brought up according to Pakistani traditions. And this doesn’t go well for long in What Will People Say. A seemingly innocent kiss lands the teenager in a vortex of fury and shame that draws her ever further away from her normal life. In her family’s eyes, she is a walking scandal that has to be neutralised. By any means necessary.
Aided by a strong debut from his lead actor, director Iram Haq makes it palpable how deep a divided culture can cut. On the one hand, the free life every teenager growing up in Europe would want, and on the other the parents who have fought for a better future and do not want to let go of their traditions just like that. A life full of clashes, gulfs and pain. Just try going your own way in circumstances like this.