The comedy-drama, The Persian Version, brings out the estranged relationship between an Iranian mother-daughter duo and how they work on it to make things better eventually. Directed by Maryam Keshavarz, the film has an amazing storyline exploring the tension in a family and the struggles that they have faced in America as immigrants. The film includes a wonderful cast that consists of stars like Layla Mohammadi and Niousha Noor, who have added a greater charm to the movie. The director has dedicated the film to her grandmother, mother, and all the other strong Iranian ladies! How will Leila and her mother, Shireen, resolve their differences? What struggles did they face in America as immigrants? Let’s find out!
Why Did Leila And Shireen Have An Estranged Relationship?
Despite belonging to a conservative Iranian family, we see a sense of rebellion and free-spiritedness in Leila. Leila has had a rebellious personality since she was a kid, as she did not hesitate to sneak in Western equipment when she traveled to Iran, like cassettes, as they were banned during the times of war between Iran and America. Later, as she ages, she is seen to go out to parties and engage in sexual intimacy with strangers, which bothers her mother. She also knows about her daughter’s preference for women over men, which bothers her a lot. She disapproves of her relationship with Elena, eventually causing their split up. When Leila was dating a man at a very young age, she wanted her to get married, but her rebellious nature kept her from tying the nuptial knot. On one occasion, when she had gone to a dress-up party, she got intimate with a drag queen and eventually ended up getting pregnant. When she announced it in front of her family, her mother did not appreciate it and wanted her to get married, as she considered getting pregnant before marriage to be a moral downfall.
Why Was Leila So Rebellious?
The contempt and hatred that she faced from both sides of the world made her rebellious at heart. She was considered too American by the Iranians and too Iranian by the Americans. She could never really fit in anywhere or make many friends. The hate and segmentation that she faced must have ignited the rebellious spirit in her. Having just one daughter, her mother, Shireen, was very dependent on her and expected her to help her with all the household chores. She, however, resented that and asked her mother if she was made to do all the chores because she was a girl. Her mother, however, told her that she was dependent on her because she trusted her. Later, as she grew up, she slowly stopped listening to everything that she was told and started making her own decisions, which she thought would benefit her in the long run.
What Issues Did Shireen Face After Marriage?
The narrative kept swinging to and fro from the present to the past and vice versa. We are taken to the time when Shireen was married off at a very young age to Ali Raza, a freshly graduated medical student. She ends up getting pregnant at a very young age, which hampers her physical and mental health. All her dreams were shattered, as she had wanted to continue her studies further. After a few days of their marriage, they are transferred to a remote village in Iran, where she helps her husband at the clinic. She also makes a friend, Roya, whom she confided in and learnt a lot of medical tricks as a nurse. However, after two years, when she is pregnant again, she learns that her husband had an affair with Roya and that she had also been impregnated by him. She contemplates suicide, but thinks of her baby and decides to live. She travels to the city on her own and delivers a baby girl there. Her world is shattered when she learns that the baby is stillborn. Later, her husband arrives and asks her to forgive him and tells her that he will take her away to America, away from all the chaos. He requests that she take Roya’s baby, as she had died during childbirth. Initially, Shireen is reluctant, but later nurses the baby and adopts him.
How Did She Sustain The Large Family?
When her husband, Ali Raza, get diagnosed with a heart ailment and needs a heart transplant, Shireen goes out of her way to earn money. It was immensely difficult to get a job at that age, and when she saw an advertisement for a course as a realtor, which could fetch her a job, she jumped at the opportunity. She takes up the course and clears the exams with a lot of difficulty. While still on the course, she breaks her neck, provides for her nine children, and ensures that they have money for Ali Raza’s treatment. She does not consider selling off her husband’s clinic as an option. She had faced a lot of difficulties as an immigrant in America, as she did not have any health insurance. She had to worry about all the medical expenses, which made her take up the course. A very determined Shireen eventually clears her course and gets a job as a realtor, which eventually helps her raise her children. The pain that she had endured for her family was extremely commendable!
Why Did Leila Decide To Give Birth To The Baby?
When Leila learns of her pregnancy, she is determined to give birth to the child. For the first time in her life, she wanted to go beyond Shireen’s wishes and make a decision for herself. Much like her mother, she is seen going to the hospital on her own and deciding to deliver the child. She bleeds just like her mother while giving birth to her stillborn child. However, later, Shireen is summoned to the hospital by the authorities, and she sits by her daughter as she delivers her child. Her entire family also comes to support her, and later she is able to safely deliver the child. She names the child ‘Arezoo’, which her mother had once wanted to name her stillborn daughter. She wanted to put a smile on her mother’s face by delivering her child and giving her the joy of getting close to her granddaughter. There is a possibility that the gap between Shireen and Leila was created because she never got to nurture her first daughter, and she felt a kind of void. Leila had, however, filled in that void by giving birth to a daughter, filling in the empty space that Shireen had in her life.
The struggle that Shireen has faced all throughout her life has been explored in the film. Leila’s contribution to providing her with a granddaughter was immense, as it was the only gift that she had ever received in her life. She had always been a giver and had never expected anything in return from anyone, but she is overwhelmed when she holds Leila’s daughter in her arms. The undaunting courage of the two women and the way they tackle the most difficult situations of life have been beautifully portrayed in the film The Persian Version. The plot of the film has, however, been a bit haphazard, but the amazing presentation has caught the attention of the audience, making the film one of a kind!