In the realm of Christmas films, viewers often seek heartwarming stories, festive settings, and themes of love, family, and joy. ‘Christmas As Usual’ encapsulates these essential elements as it unfolds the tale of Thea Evjena, a Norwegian woman who decides to introduce her Indian boyfriend, Jashan Joshi, to her family in a rural Norwegian town during the holiday season. The couple faces comical tensions, particularly with Thea’s mother, where racial and cultural prejudices come to the forefront. The humorous escalation reaches its peak when the revelation that the couple is secretly engaged comes to light.
Directed by Petter Holmsen, the film is akin to a warm hug, evoking nostalgia for moments spent with family. The plot, centered around intercultural mingling, captures the universal essence of family dynamics—complete with loose ends, and simmering differences, yet bound by an abundance of love and acceptance. Starring Ida Ursin-Holm and Kanan Gill, the movie prompts reflection on the shared experiences within families. Let us see if this heartwarming tale finds any roots in the real world or not.
The Love Story that Inspired Christmas as Usual
The film ‘Christmas As Usual’ draws inspiration from the real-life love story of Petter Holmsen’s sister, Mia Holmsen, and her husband, Akshay Chawdhry. The narrative is loosely based on events that unfolded when Mia introduced Akshay to her family during Christmas in 2020. While the movie takes creative liberties to dramatize and amplify the encounters, the essence of two cultures coming together, navigating differences, and seeking mutual understanding is rooted in Mia and Akshay’s real-life interaction.
The real-life love story of Mia and Akshay culminated in marriage in December 2022. Petter Holmsen, not only the director but also the writer of ‘Christmas As Usual,’ expressed immense joy in bringing his sister’s heartwarming love story to the screen, especially on the anniversary of their marriage. Mia shared that their journey began with a chance encounter during a flight, where a simple conversation evolved into a lifelong relationship. While there were initial reservations from both families, they eventually embraced the opportunity to get to know each other. The wedding, captured in beautiful pictures, reflects the overflowing love between Mia and Akshay, as well as the unity of their families, blending cultural traditions to create a celebration that honors both backgrounds.
The film skillfully captures the enchantment of Norwegian Christmas traditions, offering viewers a glimpse into the country’s festive celebrations. In Norway, Christmas is a cherished time marked by the Advent season, when families gather around the Advent calendar and light candles. The film beautifully showcases these traditions, creating an authentic atmosphere that resonates with the audience. From the warmth of the holiday lights to the joy of shared meals, the movie encapsulates the essence of Norwegian Christmas, making the narrative feel incredibly real and relatable.
The authenticity of the portrayals in ‘Christmas As Usual’ is heightened by the fact that the actors had real individuals as inspiration for their characters. Being closely associated with Mia and Akshay, the actors had a unique opportunity to delve into the nuances of their personalities. This close connection during the filming process likely allowed the cast to develop a profound understanding of the emotions and intricacies involved in the real-life love story. As a result, the on-screen performances are infused with a genuine quality.
While ‘Christmas As Usual’ draws inspiration from real-life events, it doesn’t precisely replicate the actual dynamics between Mia and Akshay. Nevertheless, it is precisely this acknowledgment of creative liberties that contributes to the film’s beauty. The director, guided by love and admiration for his sister’s happiness, brings sincere honesty to the narrative. The film becomes a heartfelt exploration of intercultural relationships, portraying the essence of family bonds and the journey to understanding and acceptance.