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Movie Review: The Reluctant Fundamentalist


The Pakistani Dream
SNEHA THEENG | New Delhi, May 18, 2013 12:23
Tags : The Reluctant Fundamentalist | Movie Review | Mira Nair | |

Based on a novel of the same name by Mohsin Hamid, The Reluctant Fundamentalist is everything and perhaps more than what you would expect from a Mira Nair film.

The political thriller begins with the kidnap of an American professor in Lahore, and after that there is no looking back. The entire film is set over a conversation between Changez (Riz Ahmed) and American journalist Bobby (Liev Schreiber).  The story unfolds through a series of flashbacks that are non-linear (and sometimes predictable) in which we see Changez’s journey from living the great American Dream to his return to Lahore after 09/11 attacks and his search for the Pakistani Dream.

The film is quite different from the novel when it comes to the story, and at times you feel it drags on. But where it scores high is the use of soundtrack. It began with a Qawaali sung by brothers Fareed Ayaz and Abu Mohammed which set the mood of the film. Apart from this, the presence of Om Puri and Shabana Azmi, however short their roles were, also helped in giving the film its distinct flavour.

Riz Ahmed has done a good job. I wouldn’t say brilliant as he lacks emotions at times when it is needed the most, but it was decent. Kate Hudson plays his love interest and could have well been forgotten if not for the lovemaking scenes. Liev Schreiber has a few comment s here and there, but other than that he is just the listener. In other words, what holds the film together is Mira Nair’s storytelling style rather than the performances. As in her other films, the settings blend in perfectly with the theme – from Wall Street to the typical teahouse at Lahore.

To conclude, the plot is superb, the direction is good, and the acting is good enough.

Director: Mira Nair

Cast: Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Meesha Shafi, Shabana Azmi, Liev Schreiber, Kiefer Sutherland, Om Puri


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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017