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Adeel Akhtar comments in BAFTA winning speech

(9 Posts)
JaneGarveykeepsmesane Tue 16-May-17 00:10:39

He won best actor for Murdered by my Father. Well done, it looks excellent and I have downloaded to watch this week. It is about so-called honour killings.
Can anyone please explain to me the comments made by this actor in his award acceptance speech about how/why the father came to kill his daughter due to her "shaming" the family by falling in love with someone other than the man she had been promised to by her parents.
The comments he made about the character he played made me very uncomfortable. He said he played a man who had isolated himself from the best part of himself because he was scared and that isolation compounded itself to become destructive and destructive to himself, and he lost his compassion and his kindness.
I don't know if this speech was edited or whether I am missing the point of what he said but to me it felt as though he was minimising the killing of one's female child because it was brought on by the father's fear of humiliation in his community and was a loss of compassion and kindness - rather than the heinous act of his killing his daughter for ruining the family's "honour".
The mention of the father's fear seems to be to seek to explain or possibly even excuse this awful act.
I have been thinking about this all day and as I say it has made me feel uncomfortable.
Please can someone explain to me how/why his comments could be said to be acceptable?
I am genuinely interested here and not trying to provoke.
Thanks for reading

barrygetamoveonplease Tue 16-May-17 00:16:53

Are you saying that an actor can only make comments you find socially acceptable?

Perhaps to play a part convincingly an actor needs to find a point of contact with the character, a level of understanding.

PhilomenaCatLover Tue 16-May-17 00:17:16

Isn't he just a (presumably not insane) actor who isn't trying to wrap his head around playing a heinous character? Doesn't sound like he is condoning it, more like he is talking about his process?

Also not every father or brother who commits murder in the name of honour is a psychopath I think; it appears that it is motivated by the fear of losing face and that fear (plus having their masculinity questioned by the woman's expression of sexual desire) drives the heinous act. Understanding the motivation is not the same as condoning it. I guess I'm trying to say it's not useful to just class all murders as murders - it might be worth understanding what drives this particular class of murders (not with a view to condoning it) iyswim?

MadameSzyszkoBohush Tue 16-May-17 00:25:42

I know this isn't AIBU but YANBU.
I just watched his speech (before I saw your thread) and it didn't sit right with me. I can see that he was maybe trying to explain how he tried to understand the character and his actions, but in a way it minimised what the character did and how widespread the issue is. Like he was one man who isolated himself etc, when it's clearly part of a pattern across society.

JaneGarveykeepsmesane Tue 16-May-17 00:54:25

Barry, no, I am not saying actors can only make comments I find socially acceptable. I'm asking in what way his comments might be said tonne acceptable and who might find them so. Not because I think all such people are awful but because I was troubled the way he seemed to say that loss of compassion and kindness drove him to kill his daughter ( consequent on her actions, community and family expectations). I think I just found it difficult to hear in the words and way it was said.
I also appreciate he is an actor and that actors like to explain how/why they played a role in a particular way. However, when a subject matter is so emotive and a sensitive issue within some communities, it would have been helpful I think for him to have said a few additional words, something about explaining but not justifying.
Anyway, I'm happy dramas are made which highlight difficult issues and therefore glad there are actors like Adeel who will take on such a role. I don't want to shut anyone down just perhaps ask them to give more careful thought to the words they say sometimes.

barrygetamoveonplease Tue 16-May-17 01:49:34

he seemed to say that loss of compassion and kindness drove him to kill his daughter consequent on her actions, community and family expectations
And you know that wasn't the case?
Had the father been filled with kindness and compassion for his daughter, he might have learned to live with the shame he believed she brought to his family.
It's possible that the actor does not see the situation the way you do, and does not think that any more need be said.

wrappedupinmyselflikeaspool Tue 16-May-17 09:49:14

I think you are right on the money about this. You should trust your uncomfortable feelings. It's a shame that some other posters on this thread are questioning your questioning if you know what I mean, because in fact people ought to question the way murder of women is conceived in popular culture more often. Ideas settle. That's why it really important to get things right on screen and find appropriate words to describe violence against women that don't try to depoliticise it. I don't mean that everything has to have a feminist agenda but that clearly, as you say, there is a pattern. It's not just about interpersonal failure and individual acts.
I think what you have spotted here is the lack of a wider context. The actor was explaining as well as he could what the character meant to him, but he's an actor, he speaks lines, he's not perfect, and so we need people like you to come along and question what he said and try to improve the way we collectively discuss these things.

MadameSzyszkoBohush Tue 16-May-17 10:59:57

I remember watching Dominic West and Monica Dolan win at the BAFTAs for Appropriate Adult (about the woman who was Fred West's appropriate adult) and both talked about their roles etc, but also about the Wests' victims and the wider picture which led to that situation etc and charities involved etc. Obviously actors get a bit of flak for getting all soapbox-y (particularly with Trump etc) but I think he should have at least mentioned something about the issue - after all that's why that drama was made, it wasn't like it was a film and it happened to feature this storyline amongst other things. It's literally in the title.

aginghippy Tue 16-May-17 11:30:32

I haven't seen the speech or the film, but I can understand why you are uncomfortable. It's the lack of context that makes it sound like he was explaining or possibly even excusing the murder of a woman.

It's not only the individual man's feelings of isolation and fear. There is a wider culture that values 'honour' and conformity more than it values women's lives.

Of course the actor had to understand the character's feelings to play the role and that's what he was talking about. But he could also have said it was terrible that the daughter was killed or something like that.

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