Polite Society Director Explains Her Continued Focus On Action, And Wanting To Tell More Women-Centric Stories In Genre Movies

Priya Kansara with boxing gloves in Polite Society
(Image credit: Focus Features)

Among the 2023 new movie releases we recommend you should go out of your way to check Nida Manzoor’s Polite Society in theaters. The blast of a martial arts comedy blew us away at the 2023 Sundance Film Festival, and now it is finally available for the masses. This movie follows a British-Pakistani teen with aspirations to become a stuntwoman as she tries to break up her older sister’s shady marriage, and it's safe to say, it has earned Manzoor a spot on our personal lists for new filmmakers to watch. So, when the writer/director stopped by CinemaBlend’s podcast to talk about the movie, she shared some of her visions for future projects. 

On an upcoming episode of the ReelBlend podcast, Nida Manzoor shared what she is thinking about in terms of future projects. After making one of the best shows on Peacock, We Are Lady Parts and Polite Society, which is a brand new and very original badass action movie by a female filmmaker, the director explained that she wants to stick with action, saying:

I definitely want to keep working in the action space and the genre space. There’s some comedy horrors that I’ve got that I’m interested in developing as well as some historical action, ancient Iraq. I don’t know how my tone will work in that place but that’s exciting to me.

Well, that is exciting! It sounds like we’ll be seeing a lot more from Nida Manzoor following her feature debut with Polite Society. The filmmaker spoke of getting into the horror space, along with being interested in exploring a story about ancient Iraq, which we definitely haven’t seen Hollywood tackle before. 

With Polite Society, Manzoor made a fun action movie out of a sweet family comedy about a teen named Rhia (Priya Kansara) who is fighting for her own and her sister  Lena's (Ritu Arya) life aspirations amidst the latter quickly dropping out of art school and getting on a fast track to marriage. The honest and wacky movie that has been called a cross between a Quentin Tarantino movie and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, also brings even more great South Asian characters to the movies. Manzoor spoke of her experience making Polite Society as well, saying:

I had such fun directing the action elements and the genre and trying to find ways to tell women-centric stories in genres that we don’t usually get to see. People of color in genres that don’t include them such as action and comedy even. So those are the kind of things that are exciting to me.

Polite Society

Priya Kansara in Polite Society

(Image credit: Focus Features )

Release Date: April 28, 2023 (In Theaters)
Directed/Written By: Nida Mansoor
Starring: Priya Kansara, Ritu Arya, Nimra Bucha, Shobu Kapoor, Renu Brindle, Seraphina Beh, Ella Bruccoleri
Rating: Rated PG-13 for strong language, violence, sexual material, and some partial nudity
Runtime: 103 minutes

Manzoor has cited influences such as Jackie Chan movies and old Hollywood when it comes to her filmmakers, she also said she looks up to filmmakers like Edgar Wright and the Coen Brothers as well. If Nida Manzoor can make that good of a movie under a smaller budget than your average big action movie, what could she do with even more resources? 

Even in 2023, there are not enough genre movies with women leading both in front of and behind the camera. We cannot wait to see what her perspective brings to the big screen in the future. There are truly not enough talented Pakistani Muslim voices like Manzoor being given the opportunity to front major projects, and we hope she gets the chance to have a long career. Check out Polite Society in select theaters now, and coming to more this Friday, April 28, and check out We Are Lady Parts with a Peacock subscription

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

YA genre tribute. Horror May Queen. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.