Doctor, Director: New Short from Ummah Films [Islamic Arts Feature]

Ummah Films became a household name due to the popularity of the vlogs produced by the comical Baba Ali. They have now released their second short film, titled: Doctor, Director, which you can watch below. It only cost $7000 to make and was partly financed from public contributions. It falls under the genre of bitter-sweet romcom, providing a glimpse into the emotionally charged, socially awkward world of Islamic proposals. A Muslim version of Meet the Parents – without the gross out comedy.

[vimeo]http://vimeo.com/13427662[/vimeo]

I personally enjoyed the video masha’Allah, though I have decided to hold my full critique for another day. But what did you think of it?

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47 responses to “Doctor, Director: New Short from Ummah Films [Islamic Arts Feature]”

  1. sabri says:

    I don’t like the “AHUUUUU” “AHUUU” :)) it’s like in jungle AHUUUUU AHUUUUU .

  2. Omar says:

    MashaAllah, very good idea, very funny for much of it. Probably the most professional Muslim short film I have seen. For many parts of it, I was part of the dailogue, and did not feel I was watching a movie, it seemed pretty realistic for those parts – mainly the ones with the Ali, Lyla, and the Cab driver – very good actors.

    Points of improvement:
    The acting of the parents was pretty cheesy overall, and the way he got kicked out was very abrupt and unrealistic, even for a comedy.
    It seems there was a voice-over for the first taxi scene – too obvious
    May be more subtlety in declaring the “moral of the story”

    Overall it was a good watch, entertaining, with a positive message.

    The point about “I don’t care if you are a doctor or a dishwasher” is extreme. Some compatibility in the spouses’ level of education and professional aspirations is necessary, think of yourself as the parent giving your daughter away. Though all too often this side becomes everything in the eyes of parents, who ask for too much. A happy medium is ideal.

    salam

  3. Hala says:

    so it just ends with a sad ending? not cool…

  4. Art says:

    The good: It made me laugh and touched on an important topic :) I loved the cab driver!

    What could be improved: The parents were cheesy.

    Overall: I’m really really glad to see Baba Ali using his talents to make professional films that we can enjoy :)

  5. I liked it, masha‘ Allah.

    It’s good to see Muslim media being executed so professionally. There was some excellent dialogue, it flowed well and was very watch-able.

    I thought that perhaps the realisation of the director/doctor mix-up by the family could have been slightly more punchy in terms of the actors’ responses, perhaps if that scene had been more improvised than scripted it might have seemed more natural. But it certainly wasn’t bad, perhaps just an area for improvement. And anyway what do I know? I’m just trying to offer something more constructive here than merely saying “loved it.”

    Anyway, really good work by all concerned. Ummah Films have come up in leaps and bounds and I pray to Allah that they continue to do so.

    One last question though, was the halfourdate.com part a case of product placement or was this film more of an excellently produced advertisement for it?

  6. Hassan says:

    How did the girl and boy (to be married) knew each other? Is it normal that girl finds her own spouse to be without parents knowing much?.

  7. The video froze for me, so I’m waiting for the last bit to buffer, but I thought it was funny the Arab dad is reading an Urdu newspaper…heh

  8. akhan says:

    so the message of this movie was: Use HalfOurDeen.com because if you try to find a wife yourself you can risk being rejected by the parents?

    The movie was really good quality MashAllah, but other than that, wasn’t too crazy about it.

  9. Bushra says:

    I didn’t think the parents were cheesy! Far from it, in fact. A lot of mothers focus on their daughter’s cleanliness and organisation, whilst a lot of fathers worry how their daughter will be supported by their future husband. It was sad, however, to see that there wasn’t a decisive ending. If the motive of the movie was to advertise ‘halfourdeen’, then perhaps they should have done a ‘what might have happened if they had used halfourdeen’ kinda script.

    iMuslim – you’re our resident movie maker…do a film review!!

    I have more comments to make, but I won’t.

    • iMuslim says:

      iMuslim – you’re our resident movie maker…do a film review!!

      Haha… I wasn’t keen on critiquing the film straight away, only because I know how hard it is to hear criticism on something you’ve spent weeks on producing. It’s a film-maker thing. It is so easy for people to make flippant remarks (usually non-constructive), but it’s only when you’ve sweat blood and tears on making a five min movie that you truly appreciate how difficult it is, and suddenly, it’s not so easy to criticize other people’s efforts. :)

  10. mama A to Z says:

    Good topic, nice way to approach it even if it was showing the issue in an utterly non-nuanced extreme fashion. The issue is a little bit more complex than was shown here, ya think?

    I didn’t like:
    * blatant advert for halfourdeen.com. Tacky.
    * ummm…. here’s one of the main issues as I see it–how, in Islamically appropriate parameters, are a guy and girl supposed to fall haplessly in love as these two without the parents knowing and it being a halal relationship the whole time? This is where a lot of these problems come up to begin with–guys and girls find each other with out involving the parents from the first step of the process. Yeah, these parents were extreme in their views but it’s not proper for the children to hook up amongst themselves either.

    Our generation is going to find this type of approach bite us in the butt when we have our own kids. We think we can deal like this with our own parents, but let’s see how we would like it if our kids came up and did the same thing when they are older. Not cool. Parent-child communication is paramount during the marriage process.

    • Kashif H says:

      ummm…. here’s one of the main issues as I see it–how, in Islamically appropriate parameters, are a guy and girl supposed to fall haplessly in love as these two without the parents knowing and it being a halal relationship the whole time? This is where a lot of these problems come up to begin with–guys and girls find each other with out involving the parents from the first step of the process. Yeah, these parents were extreme in their views but it’s not proper for the children to hook up amongst themselves either.

      This doesn’t make sense. Technically speaking the Prophet Muhammed (saw) and Khadijah found each other before their parents and other family members knew of the relationship.

      Would one categorize that as “Islamically inappropriate” as well?

      • mama A to Z says:

        they were old enough that the parents weren’t in the picure. Huge difference when it’s a 40-something woman getting married. And you can’t take the practices of Makkah and apply it broadly because the fiqh was not all revealed yet. There were no laws governing hijab, ikhtilaat (mixing of the sexes), etc.

        I have a hard time believing that the film characters fell so much in love through solely halal means. They were obviously talking a lot on the phone and texting, and clearly the parents were not involved in that process. Also fiqh does take into account customs (‘urf) and clearly the girl was from a family culture where ‘urf dictates that parents be involved throughout the whole courtship process.

        Again, imagine your daughter suddenly coming home and “in love” with someone you don’t even know the first thing about, and she’s dead set on marrying him. That’s a big mess, period, regardless of the doctor/director issue. Where do the parents fit in here?

        • Ahsan Sayed says:

          lol i think they did that to save time. and i dotn think we can make so many assumptions. the film was about getting the message out quickly. i think for the sake of making the film, they brushed over the details.

        • Ihsan says:

          I found this film to be extremely offensive and depressing.

          There was absolutely no humor whatsoever in this film. In fact, it just seemed like the point was to bash muslims by taking stereotypes and over exaggerating them to the point where people would have to laugh out of embarrassment.
          I understand Baba Ali does social commentary, but it’s one thing to take a complicated issue and simplify it to the point where people can relate and laugh, and its another thing to simplify it so much to the point where it just seems offensive. The taxi driver seemed to have an identity crisis since his accent changed more than twice throughout the film, the girls’ parents were portrayed as completely heartless and cold, the whole family did not even look related to each other…these are all details that bring characters to life and make the issue that much more relatable to people.

          On top of a really bad script, the acting and filming was also extremely bad…for a $7,000 budget, makes me wonder how the money was used. I have seen excellent short films made on really small budgets and with a much smaller team so I really don’t think this standard is acceptable.

          And what was the moral of the story again? Oh yes, join halfourdeen.com or else you’ll end up like Layla and Ali. Wonderful. Forget about positive representations of islam and muslims, forget about producing high quality art, forget about providing a positive alternative to the commercially charged entertainment industry, lets just commodify our religion and endorse muslim businesses instead.

          The film is just bad.

          And I’m surprised that the main issue that commentators had with this film was about how Ali and Layla met and whether it was in a halaal way or not and if Layla was properly covered or not. Are you serious? You’re gonna reduce everything to a debate about gender relations? No wonder standards are so low… we’re too worried about defining what’s halaal or not. I don’t know what’s more disappointing…the film…or the response to the film.

    • Atif says:

      It’s a reality that people don’t go the Islamic route of meeting people. Perhaps the characters in the film had fallen into the wrong way and they wanted to set things right by having the guy meet the parents.
      It’s obvious that the film was portraying average/less-than-perfect people (maybe that was why Layla wasn’t covering her head properly? that little bit of hair was bothering me!)

      My beef with the film is they made it seem that the only quality that a prospect should have is their level of Imaan and character. I agree that is important and I also agree the father should have at least heard him out.
      At the same time, Iman and Character are not the only factors in a marriage, the ability (or potential ability) to support the family is important as well.

  11. Ahsan Sayed says:

    great cinematography.

  12. Mobeen says:

    Omg omg that guy ali is sooooo hot!

  13. elham says:

    The dad made me laugh,he’s hilarious, I would have believed him. I don’t think the brother standing and not trying to calm the parents was realistic.Also the walk he had with Ali was too long. ( half-our deen card pop-up was so funny and unexpected)

    Overall, it was good.

  14. Honest Critic says:

    with criticisms like these its no wonder Muslim art Doesn’t improve and progress. It’s no wonder why muslim art can’t compete with Main Stream Art, they are held to two completely different standards.

    This film would be classified as “Complete Garbage”, in the Mainstream

    This Film makes Muslims as a whole look bad

    • Son of Adam says:

      Please provide constructive criticism so the makers of the film can learn from their mistakes.

      Thank you.

      • Honest Critic says:

        ok, well apart from every aspect of this Film being horrible. (Casting, Directing, Acting, etc)
        The main source of its Failure, was that it was extremely poorly written.
        Writing was Not funny, not realistic, not clever, boring, slow, pointless.

        In short, The Writing was 100% Garbage

  15. Rana says:

    was this supposed to be a comedy?

  16. amina says:

    this is just a commercial for HalfOurDeen.com

    So, did Baba Ali just take 7,000$ of donations given from the Muslim Ummah and spend it on his own business, HalfOurDeen?

    subhanAllah, sad.

    • amina's mirror says:

      whats sad is your bad adab and manners. how can you accuse somebody with something that serious like this without any proofs?! You should go repent if I were you!

      • amina says:

        proofs?

        you should really read the background to this movie’s production
        you will see that it is public information that That Baba Ali asked his fans to donate money to him, so that he could make a Muslim Movie for the Ummah, funded by the Ummah. so any money donated was an Amana from many muslims around the world. Read for yourself in the Blurb on the top of this page, written by Ummah Films themselves, “It only cost $7000 to make and was partly financed from public contributions”

        and using this money he is advertising his own business HalfOurDeen
        free advertising for him

        these are just facts that i am aware of
        however maybe i am incorrect, you should really look in to it yourself and can let me know if i am wrong

        sorry to upset you

        • SaaberAyoub says:

          Do you have a complex Amina, me myself and I all had a conference and it turns out your right.

          Peace \//

  17. Chaudhry says:

    didn’t laugh once

  18. sunnat says:

    there needs warning at begin of movie about music in movie
    this haram

    • sunnat's mirror says:

      shaykh sunnat…. i wonder … do you go to any groceries store? do they have music? does the store say “cation: music is played”?

      get real dude…

      if you dont like the “music” in the movie .. (which btw.. i agree with you there) I would have simply closed the browser and moved on to the next thing i am doing online!

  19. BMASHH says:

    POOR acting, AWKWARD cast choice, the idea was great but that is it, way it was put together was disappointing to say the least

  20. BriXton says:

    i don’t understand da goal of dis movie, just an add for halfourdeen.com?

  21. al-princessa says:

    QUESTIONS

    -whats wit da father asking Ali to sit down 4 half an hour before he sat down?

    -whats wit da cab driver almost running over his evil twin, and then laughing, as his evil twin acts like hes shooting him?

    -why did Ali take a first class flight, if hes a struggling director?

    -how did BOTH parents hear the word ‘doctor’ when she clearly said ‘director’ ?

    -since when do cab drivers stick around and wait for people? Ali could have been there all day.

    -why did the cab driver switch between an arab accent and a french accent?

    -why did the brother say “with the few minutes i spent talking to you, i knew you were the right guy for her”
    without knowing anything about him???

    -how did the parents accept to see Ali without even asking their daughter what he did as a job, and until after he already took a flight to meet them and was 2 minutes away?

    -if the father thinks Ali is a doctor, then why does the father say “i’ve been in your job before”, and then go on to explain how he was an accountant?, does the father think that Ali is a doctor or an accountant?

  22. Zolzapan says:

    Salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh

    I found it to be poor humor,
    very long pauses…too much dead air,

    oh, and why was the girl Indian with Arab parents?

    Also, if Muslims want to make quality films for Muslims,
    try to get people who don’t sound awkward saying Islamic words like when
    the brother said EEmaan.

    Why did the brother, who was supposed to be reasonable, and who saw that
    Ali and his sister were a perfect match, give him a matrimonial website card?

    There was 1 good joke: The whole mix up about “casting”
    That was good writing, I think Muslims should aim for quality humor as opposed
    to relying on cheap accents.

    Bad accents are generally the way non-Muslims make fun of Muslims, so why are
    we copying them to make fun of ourselves?

    • Reem says:

      LMAO,

      i was thinking the exact same thing, why does the entire family of the girl look like they are all from different countries. One looked indian, the other looked turkish, one looked white, and the brother looked like a mix of chinese and white?!?!?!?

      Sorry but the man behind casting receives a BIG FAIL in my eyes.

      Sorry for the negative vibes, its just that when i think about it, i think to myself, it is so obvious that every character is out of place and none of them even look related AT ALL, so why if i can see this huge apparent flaw, can’t the caster?

      the man gets paid to put the right people together and this simple task he fails at hardcore. And i know this is low-budget, so maybe even the caster didn’t get paid at all, but at the end of the day, even if it’s a favor, do your job and do it with full sincerity for the sake of making this thing a watchable vid, rather than a joke.

      And i love how none of them can even pronounce Islamic words, just awkwards me out to watch vids like this.

      Mr.Negative, im sorry, just i hope through my disapproval you guys can step up your game.

  23. Bushra says:

    Ok…I think everyone on here needs to take a chill pill!

    Yes, there are some minor discrepancies with the casting, I agree. Even though I know nothing about movies, I’d like to make a couple of points.

    About the girl looking Indian and parents being Arab, some Arabs don’t look Arab, and some Indians don’t look Indian. I have Indian roots and I’ve been mistaken for Arab myself. So I think we need to think carefully before we type. Also…how many Muslims actually act or are part of the film-making process enough to make a family look related? Not many, methinks.

    Yes, I do think the brother should have said something when the parents were throwing Ali out, but that’s the script, so deal with it.

    As for it being an ad for HalfOurDeen…so what if it was? Is there anything wrong with a MUSLIM trying to help other MUSLIMS wrt marriage and promote their business? That’s the whole point of entrepreneurialism! We’re all very quick to praise Baba Ali on his Reminder vids, but not on his efforts for trying to do things for the Muslim community. It seems no-one can be made happy.

    Mobeen – Seriously…lower your gaze. The actors aren’t there to be ogled at…this isn’t Hollywood. Or Bollywood, for that matter.

    Ihsan – you made some valid points, but those who pointed out gender relations made some very good points, too. In fact, Layla’s hair sticking out was bugging me.

    Everyone, we’re all VERY quick to criticise, but for those of you who think this clip could have been better, get involved! Do things the right way. Don’t sit and complain. For those of you abroad…contact Ummah Films and try and spread Muslim film-making. Otherwise, please pipe down if you have nothing constructive to add.

  24. Pancake Batter says:

    I’m going to take Bushra’s advice and get involved by giving constructive criticism.

    Where to start…

    Acting was quite poor, unfortunately, from all parties. It seems as though random family friends were strung together for casting, so as to satisfy the aspirating actors’ sense of “wanting to act” while completely ignoring the need to produce an enlightening, or even funny movie. I suggest holding auditions for actors who have experience in non-Muslim theater, as this is one art form we have not successfully contributed to yet.

    Also, how could this have taken $7000 to produce? The editing was lackluster, the music composition was poorly chosen and/or implemented, acting was (see above), and even the message was confusing. To be honest I still don’t quite get it, but maybe I’ll have to watch it again to try and get something from it. I suggest getting a decent director who has the talent in making scenes, dialogue and acting flow.

    I may sound harsh, but when that much money is put into something, one should expect quality. As Baba Ali’s fans we should encourage him to release decent material, not work that is degrading to the intellect of his audience, especially on a subject with which there is already so much confusion.

    I wish I could praise something about this film, but I can’t think of anything about this movie that’s good to be honest…

    P.S. Don’t feel hurt by my comments, the very nature of criticism has a negative connotation, but this is one way I believe I can help!

  25. Radar says:

    Assalaamu ‘Aleykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuhu,

    I honestly don’t know why everyone is hating on this movie so much… I, for one, got some good out of it (JOINHalfOurDeen!). For instance, I will beware of awkward Muslim african arab british french cab drivers, because they steal your money (JOINHalfOurDeen!). I will never try to get married to an indian arab turkish chinese canadian Muslim girl because, unless I am a doctor, I will never even be considered (JOINHalfOurDeen!) good enough for her. I will ALWAYS make sure that I judge the perfect man for my sister after speaking to him for (JOINHalfOurDeen!) a good 37 seconds, at most. My arab father will always read a farsi/urdu (JOINHalfOurDeen!) newspaper. I will, at some point in my life (JOINHalfOurDeen!) ask the Muslim Ummah for 7000$ so that I may benefit only myself and my marital website by writing a poor script, choosing the worst actors/props/what the hell was that scene about when the awkward cab driver almost hits himself.. what?/stupid stereotypical jokes (HalfOurDeenISTHEBEST!) that truly offend and degrade the appearance of Muslims even more in the eyes of the non-Muslims/etc… Why can this video be so offensive to the Ummah, yet the commentators can’t offend the makers of this movie who obviously (JOINHalfOurDeen!) just took our money and made a really, really bad film. Seriously. 7000$ could’ve fed several Muslim families throughout this year’s Ramadan. But no, this was definitely much more worthy. Thanks a lot Muslims, great job we’re doing. I’m sure God is watching us all with pride. *claps*

    Oh, and lastly, this movie has taught me to never (JOINHalfOurDeen!) subliminally promote my own Muslim dating site.

    JazakumAllahu Kheyran,

    Assalaamu ‘Aleykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuhu.

    • response says:

      Don’t have a go at halfyourdeen.com, its a really good website….

      The more they promote it, the more people will join it… which means more choices for those who are looking to get married! End of story! Its a win-win situation.

  26. wish list says:

    i laughed more at the comments posted here about this film then i did the actual film itself!!!!

    LOLZ

  27. Legit 99 says:

    sory didnt find funy

    + the cabie actin like he was spekin arabic “akhala akhala akhala” jus ofensive bruv

  28. Awil Jama says:

    I am glad that the Ummah Flims crew put a amazing and fictional short movie together about the reality that is plaguing our ummah. I know this happens a lot nowadays and i am glad that someone was brave enough to address it finally. We need to realize that as Muslims we still are prejudice and racist each other cultural and status. Only through more education and awareness of the issues/problem can it be resolved. I love how he plug the half our deen website card in there, a great method of advertising, that completely caught my attention. Thanks Ali Baba and everyone else who work on producing this film. Excellent Production, very true and beneficial to all views.

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