'Next Tom Cruise': Glasgow film festival 2023 finishes off with a bang

Glasgow Film Festival closed off on Sunday with the European premiere of Polite Society.

Glasgow film festival 2023 finishes off with Polite Society starring Priya Kansara and Ritu Arya Parisa Taghizadeh

Glasgow Film Festival closed off with a bang on Sunday with the European premiere of Polite Society – starring the “next Tom Cruise,” according to the film’s writer.

The feature debut from writer-director Nida Manzoor, who also created We Are Lady Parts, was billed as a “riotous action-comedy” and described by the festival as “the perfect ending”.

It follows British-Pakistani schoolgirl Ria, played by Priya Kansara, an expert martial arts fighter who dreams of a career as a stuntwoman.

Her big sister Lena, Ritu Arya, has dropped out of art school and is drifting in limbo until a whirlwind romance threatens to carry her off to Singapore.

Something doesn’t add up and a distraught Ria is determined to uncover the truth with a plot to abduct Lena from her own wedding, Crouching Tiger-style fights, and a sprinkling of Bollywood razzle-dazzle.

Kansara and Manzoor described premiering at GFF as “the wickedest”.

Kansara and Manzoor described premiering at GFF as 'the wickedest'. Eoin Carey

Speaking at the red carpet closing gala on Sunday, Manzoor said: “[It] feels epic, feels amazing – Glasgow’s such a cool city, it’s the wickedest! It feels great to be here.

“It’s such an honour to close as well,” Kansara added.

“Nida is a genius – she is so easy to work with and we just have so much fun together.”

The 25-year-old made her debut in a two-episode role in season one of Netflix’s smash-hit show, Bridgerton.

“Our jobs were made easier due to Priya – she’s the next Tom Cruise, honestly”, Manzoor said.

On its final day, the festival also hosted the world premiere of The Freedom Machine, by Glasgow filmmaker Jo Reid, which explores the historic connection between women and bicycles.

New rom-com Rye Lane also got its Scottish premiere with star Vivian Oparah and director Raine Allen Miller in attendance.

The festival also gave out its prestigious Audience Award – the only award presented at the festival – to writer-director Anthony Shim for Riceboy Sleeps

The crowd-pleasing drama revolves around the life of a single Korean mother raising her son in Canada, in the 1990s.

In his video acceptance speech, Shim said: “It’s truly astonishing to me that a film that was so personal and specific to my background and my experiences could be enjoyed and appreciated by people all over the world, like Scotland.

“So thank you – this is really an honour and I hope to visit Glasgow soon.”