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Ms Marvel Cast Speak About Muslim Representation And Making It Authentic For The Screens

Ms Marvel Cast Speak About Muslim Representation And Making It Authentic For The Screens

“I know this for a fact from whatever little social media that I’m into, that side of the world, they just can’t wait to see this happen. This is us,” Mohan Kapur, who plays Kamala Khan’s father, said.

Adeline Leong

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Marvel Studios’ Ms. Marvel introduces Kamala Khan, a Muslim American teenager growing up in Jersey City, who’s an avid gamer and a huge fan-fiction scribe. She’s a megafan of superheroes with an oversized imagination especially when it comes to Captain Marvel.

However, she soon comes across superpowers of her own and is thrust into a colourful adventure where she discovers truths about her past and family.

During the virtual global press conference with the cast of Ms. Marvel, TRP asked Iman Vellani, who plays the titular role Kamala Khan, what makes her character stand out from the other young superheroes.

(L-R): Rish Shah as Kamran and Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan in Marvel Studios’ MS. MARVEL, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Iman said her character understood fan culture on a cellular level and is herself a fan of all the heroes in the MCU canon. Both of that make Kamala Khan relatable to everyone watching when she suddenly develops powers of her own like her ‘superhero’ idols.

…That fascination and excitement is so shared with real-life Marvel fans, so that’s why we relate to her.  You know?  She reacts how we would when she gets powers.  And so yeah, I love that part of her, and that’s why I fell in love with her.

Iman Vellani, who plays Kamala Khan, said during the virtual global press conference.

Iman also added that culture and religion were never the main things in Kamala’s personality and it was just something that was part of her life.

We wanted [to make a show] about this Avengers loving, fanfic writing dork, which just so happens to be a Pakistani Muslim.  And yeah, I think we were balanced it quite well.

Iman Vellani
(L-R): Mohan Kapur as Yusuf, Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan, Zenobia Shroff as Muneeba, Saagar Shaikh as Aamir in Marvel Studios’ MS. MARVEL, exclusively on Disney+. Photo by Daniel McFadden. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

Mohan Kapur, who plays Kamala’s father, shared similar views and explained that the beautiful story is about a girl and her family who are not in a land of their own but they’ve called it their home.

He added that it’s also a wonderful story of an ethnically diverse and culturally rich community subliminally translated over scenes.

You know, a small scene like you go to the mosque, you put your shoes over there, you come back and the shoes are gone. That’s a really thing. The process of entering a mosque, the festivals, the wedding ceremonies they’re just so beautiful.  And I’m sure that…  I know this for a fact from whatever little social media that I’m into, that side of the world, they just can’t wait to see this happen.  This is us.  This is us. 

Mohan Kapur, who plays Kamala’s father Yusuf Khan

Keeping the representation authentic

Throughout the season, the audience might also recognize some familiar Desi songs as part of the soundtrack.

Executive producer Sana Amanat worked to build up a playlist and said it took some work to get clearances for a lot of these songs.

She also had help and input from director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, who flooded Sana’s Whatsapp with a list of tracks, especially Pakistani songs, to listen to.

(L-R) Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan, Yasmeen Fletcher as Nakia, and Matt Lintz as Bruno in Marvel Studios’ MS. MARVEL. Photo by Daniel McFadden. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

It was special because the blend of old Pakistani, old Bollywood, and modern-day pop music in the show also helps to bring the different generations in South Asian families together.

When it comes to costumes, they had a consultant on set to make sure everything was represented well. One of the things they made sure they got right was the different styles of hijabs and how they are worn or wrapped.

Will there be Avengers Con?

Early on, the audience is introduced to Kamala Khan trying to get ready to attend Avengers Con with her friend. MCU fans are naturally wondering whether the convention will become reality.

MCU president Kevin Feige said that there were definitely talks about that on set but gave no firm answers yet. He explained that it was cathartic to shoot the scene because there weren’t conventions for a long time due to the pandemic.

Iman Vellani as Ms. Marvel/Kamala Khan in Marvel Studios’ MS. MARVEL, exclusively on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios. ©Marvel Studios 2022. All Rights Reserved.

That said, fans shouldn’t worry much because the head writer of Ms Marvel Bisha K. Ali is in their corner. He jokingly hinted that he has an email draft from each writer in the writer’s room discussing how to pitch to Feige to make Avenger Con real.

Ms. Marvel premieres exclusively on Disney Plus Hotstar on Wednesday, 8 June.


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