Movie Review: The Reluctant Fundamentalist

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Film Poster: The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Cast: Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Schreiber, Om Puri, Shabana Azmi, Imaad Shah, Chandrachud Singh, Meesha Shafi
Directed by: Mira Nair
Based on: Mohsin Hamid's book (?)
Review by: Faisal Saif

Rating:  *  *

After watching The Reluctant Fundamentalist, You wonder why on earth Mohsin Hamid wrote a book about a man who suffered the aftermath of 9/11 Attacks! A tale which has been told several times by so many Film makers. What pinched an acclaimed Film maker like Mira Nair to make this book turn into a film? Let me remind you this confused film is directed by the same director who gave us cinematic gems such as Salaam Bombay and Monsoon Wedding.

There are so many films with the similar topic that we have witnessed earlier which has been presented beautifully with entertainment value. Karan Johar's My Name Is Khan, Shoaib Mansoor's Khuda Kay Liye (Pakistan), (Late) Jag Mundhra's Shoot On Sight would stand out as best examples. Bollywood and Hollywood has yelled so much about this "All-Muslims-Are-Not-Terrorists" issue that even George Bush has converted to Islam (Apologies please, Just Joking).

The film is a story told in flashback of Pakistani professor Changez Khan (Riz Ahmad). He is a bright Princeton scholar who shines at a Wall Street company called Underwood Samson along with the mentor-ship of Jim (Kiefer Sutherland). Changez also has a rich photographer girlfriend Erica (Kate Hudson). But their relationship is complicated as she is forever guilt-ridden. Changez is promised a promotion and 9/11 takes place. The world around Changez is shattered. There starts frequent checks at airports, Nasty racist comments on the street and alienation in the office become common occurrences. His relationship with Erica is affected too.

Changez visits Pakistan for his sister Bina’s (Meesha Shafi) wedding. When he comes back in the US again, He gets confused and dejected with the atmosphere around him. Everyone seems to hate Muslims and Sikhs and his colleagues suggest that he shave off his beard or be prepared to face the consequences.

Speaking about the Performances, Riz Ahmed is good as Changez Khan, But get's irritating at the end. Kate Hudson is good and always a treat to watch. Kiefer Sutherland is awesome as well. Om Puri, Shabana Azmi, Imaad Shah, Adil Hussain, Chandrachud Singh has worked in the film only for the sake of Mira Nair, I guess. They all had very tiny scope in the film. I don't know what went wrong with Mira Nair when she was casting Meesha Shafi. Meesha might be a good singer back home in Pakistan, But a terrible actor.

The camera-work of the film is of A class, No doubts. The editing is very dull and slow. The editing actually makes you think when this film is going to end? Music is decent and goes with the flow. The production value is very good since the film is backed by Hollywood Studios.

Mira Nair being one of the finest Film maker chose a wrong subject this time for a film. For the main reason, The story is told too many times and this time, It's not at all convincing. I cannot recommend this film because the film is repetitive and doesn't hits your heart at all.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist is confused and does not offer anything new.

Faisal SaifFaisal Saif is co-editor of Global Movie Magazine and sub-editor of Youth Eye Magazine. A passionate Bollywood Feature News Writer and film critic, Saif is a regular contributor to Santabanta, Page 3 Bollywood, Orissa Diary, PardaPhash, NewsWala, The News Tribe, Bolega India and many more online and print journals. Saif lives in Mumbai and can be reached at thatfaisalsaif at gmail.