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I Can’t Think Straight

VOMANET - I Can't Think Straight is a 2007 romance movie about a London-based Jordanian of Palestinian origin, Tala, who is preparing for an elaborate wedding. A turn of events causes her to have an affair and subsequently fall in love with another woman, Leyla. The movie is distributed by Regent Releasing and was set to be released in limited theatres in November 2008. The DVD was released on 4 May 2009. The movie is directed by Shamim Sarif and stars Lisa Ray and Sheetal Sheth.

The two actresses star in another movie with lesbian characters, namely The World Unseen, released in 2007.

In the upper echelons of Jordanian society maverick Tala gets engaged to a wealthy Christian suitor in an ostentatious ceremony. Having seen her break several engagements in the past her family awaits the wedding in anticipation. Tala has a chance meeting with Leyla, a traditional Indian Muslim, settled in London. Leyla is reticent and restrained whereas Tala brazenly questions conventions - religious as well as social. Their snappy repartee make Leyla wonder if her chosen paths are based on expectations and conditioning. A mutual feeling of attraction begins to perplex them. Tala urges Leyla to relax and be at ease with herself. The emotional distance ebbs further away when Leyla shares her writings with Tala. On a trip out of town they drop their guard and an intimate moment leads them to the realization that they are in love.

On their return, Tala’s fiancé shows up to surprises her. Seeing them together is agonizing for Leyla. She confesses her love to Tala but in the moment of truth Tala makes the easier and more acceptable life-choice. She kisses Leyla goodbye and breaks her heart to go back to Jordan to get married. Leyla’s experience of love gives her the conviction to accept her sexuality. With no hope for absolution she comes out to her family.

Back in Jordan Tala is torn apart by conflicting emotions. Love for Leyla does not abdicate her heart. She calls off the wedding but the grit to come out to her fiancé and family eludes her. To help them reconnect Tala’s friend Ali and Leyla’s sister Yasmin contrive a meeting between Tala and Leyla. Tala confesses that leaving Leyla was the hardest thing she had ever had to do however she cannot clash with a culture that’s unforgiving and unchanging. This time Leyla urges Tala to be at ease with herself and leaves her with a lingering kiss.

Tala captures her struggle in a note to Leyla – ‘Every night I empty my heart, but by morning it's full again. Slow droplets of you seep in through the night's soft caress. At dawn I overflow with thoughts of us, an aching pleasure that gives me no respite…’ With time Tala finds the courage to declare her love for a ‘beautiful, intelligent, talented, clumsy woman’ to her family.

Leyla is at her book launch when Tala asks for her autograph and wins her back.

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Part 1

Part 3

Part 4


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