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Pakistani American Imran J. Khan’s Debut Film ‘Mustache’ Wins Narrative Feature Competition Award at SXSW

Pakistani American Imran J. Khan’s Debut Film ‘Mustache’ Wins Narrative Feature Competition Award at SXSW

  • The largely autobiographical coming-of-age-comedy centers around Ilyas, an eccentric 13-year-old boy.

Pakistani American filmmaker Imran J. Khan’s debut feature “Mustache,” has won the audience-voted Narrative Feature Competition award at the SXSW Film & TV Festival in Austin, Texas. 

Written and directed by Khan, the largely autobiographical film centers around Ilyas, an eccentric 13-year-old boy, who sets off to navigate the social hierarchy of his new California public school with a mustache his parents will not allow him to shave off.

The coming-of-age comedy stars Atharva Verma, Rizwan Manji, Ayana Manji, Alicia Silverstone of Clueless, Hasan Minhaj, Meesha Shafi, Shaheryar Rana, Chris River and Mojeane Sadr. It is produced by Christina Won, Jessica Sittig, Christopher Storer, and Tyson Bidner.

Khan told Awards Radar that the idea for “Mustache” came from his family. 

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However, through making the film, he learned that “there are a lot of people who have had similar experiences, especially in the South Asian community, where people or parents don’t want their kids to shave too early. Even if they have a full-grown mustache.” So he thought “it was a funny thing to center a film around.”

The film has received rave reviews after its SXSW screenings. Andy Crump of The Playlist calls it “unfailingly funny without losing the specificity needed to ground its cultural mores,” while The Hollywood Reporter describes it as “a gently humorous comedy set in Silicon Valley’s Pakistani-American community.” In a review in Collider, Erick Mascot says “Mustache” is “a greatly enjoyable ride that, albeit too short, is able to make valid points about getting raised in the mid-90s, a time when most parents weren’t really concerned about their kids’ mental health — or their own, for that matter.” 

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