Nida Manzoor Brings Home Screenwriting Award for “Polite Society”

Manzoor, who also created the award-winning British sitcom "We Are Lady Parts," is known for creating diverse and empowered Muslim women in her work.

Nida Manzoor Brings Home Screenwriting Award for “Polite Society”
Nida Manzoor's BIFA for Best Debut Screenwriter marks the fourth win this award season for her feature debut "Polite Society."

Nida Manzoor recently snagged a win at the British Independent Film Awards (BIFA) in London, taking home the award for Best Debut Screenwriter for her feature film debut “Polite Society” (2023).

Manzoor, who also created the award-winning British sitcom "We Are Lady Parts" (2021–), is known for creating diverse and empowered Muslim women in her work. "We Are Lady Parts" challenges stereotypes by featuring a punk band with members experiencing different part of life such as love, career aspirations and dealing with prejudice. The show has received praise for its representation of the multifaceted lives of young British Muslim women.

"Polite Society" — a merry mash up of sisterly affection, parental disappointment and bold action — follows martial artist-in-training Ria Khan (Priya Kansara) 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. 

In “Polite Society,” Manzoor blends genres and subverts expectations, drawing inspiration from Bollywood, martial arts films and teen comedies. The film explores the complexities of female relationships within a British Pakistani community. Manzoor, a London native with influences from both British comedy and Asian cultural productions, navigates the challenges of representing marginalized voices while maintaining a comedic and unburdened approach in her work.

Manzoor's career reflects her commitment to avoiding stereotypical narratives. Despite the weight of representation, Manzoor strives to maintain a lighthearted and authentic perspective. Manzoor's unique touch and willingness to subvert expectations contribute to a refreshing and diverse portrayal of women in her storytelling. Fann previously spoke with Manzoor here.

In addition to Manzoor’s win at the BIFA ceremony, Andrew Haigh's film "All Of Us Strangers" (2023) dominated with seven wins, including Best Film, Best Director and Best Screenplay. Paul Mescal won Best Supporting Performance for his role in the film as well, splitting the award with Shaun Thomas for his performance in “How to Have Sex” (2023), which won three awards total. You can find a full list of the evening’s winners here.

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