Chek and Hava is an absurdist romantic comedy about using your boyfriend to rebel against your parents. While remaining light and easy to watch, it is additionally meant to have three intentionally designed layers:
1. The surface level story revolves around Hava bringing home her boyfriend Chek- an unemployed artist, that she knows her wealthy demigod parents will disapprove of. Her parents ultimately force Chek out of his carefree life and into a corporate career, accepting him and deflating Hava’s rebellion. She finally breaks free by exiting the system of their beliefs and trying to form her persona independently rather than as a counter to her parents. She does this through refusing to allow their dictation of identity.
2. There is cultural and thematic symbolism within the characters’ power dynamics- Mother is an Urdu-speaking ray of light, meant to be a symbol of the Muslim deification of motherhood/wifehood, the ultimate womanly aspiration. She wants Hava to be like her. She is also meant to be inescapable, like a prison searchlight. Father is a blue-skinned corporate man to signify the absurd appearance-based prejudices that persist today- unless you have money. He takes control of Chek to retain the family image. Hava has no control over her own life and so uses Chek as a rebellion point. Her confines and provisions have left her unable to form her own goals.
3. The third layer is visual language. The film has a rich visual language, littered with Islamic evil-eye motifs, surreal art-versus-corporate visual dynamics, South Asian-influenced décor and fashion, and animated/collage elements. It has conceptual abstractions in several nightmare sequences which are accompanied by poetry in my native language, Urdu.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Motion pictures--Production and direction; Romantic comedy films; Fantasy films; Parent and adult child--Drama
Film and Animation (MFA)
Department, Program, or Center
School of Film and Animation (CAD)
Ashfaq, Komal, "Chek and Hava" (2021). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus