The Reluctant Fundamentalist ~ Review

The Reluctant Fundamentalist is an adaptation of Mohsin Hamid’s novel and is directed by Mira Nair. Our film reviewer, Faisal Saif provides the low-down on the story, performances, direction and music. Find out if it is one to watch or give a miss.

After watching The Reluctant Fundamentalist at the cinema, you will wonder why on earth Mohsin Hamid chose to write a book about a man who suffered from the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks!

A tale which has already been told so many times by so many film makers. What pinched an acclaimed film maker like Mira Nair to turn this book into a film?

Let me remind you that this confused film is directed by the same director who gave us cinematic gems such as Salaam Bombay! (1988) and Monsoon Wedding (2001).

the reluctant fundamentalist

There are so many films that have touched upon this serious topic and have been presented beautifully, with much entertainment value.

Just remember Karan Johar’s My Name Is Khan (2010), Shoaib Mansoor’s Khuda Kay Liye (Pakistan, 2007), or the late Jag Mundhra’s Shoot On Sight (2007). All of these films stand out as being the best examples of dealing with such a delicate issue that has been haunting the modern world for the last decade.

Both Bollywood and Hollywood have already yelled so much about this All-Muslims-Are-Not-Terrorists issue that even George Bush has converted to Islam (apologies please, just joking!).

[easyreview title=”THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST” cat1title=”Story” cat1detail=”We have already witnessed a similar story in several other films like My Name Is Khan, Shoot On Sight and Khuda Kay Liye.” cat1rating=”1″ cat2title=”Performances” cat2detail=”The film has good performances by Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson and Kiefer Sutherland.” cat2rating=”3″ cat3title=”Direction” cat3detail=”You wonder why Mira Nair chose to make this film after watching it.” cat3rating=”2″ cat4title=”Production” cat4detail=”The camera work, editing and production value of the film is good especially because it has been backed by Hollywood Studios.” cat4rating=”3″ cat5title=”Music” cat5detail=”The music of the film is decent and goes with the flow of the story.” cat5rating=”1″ summary=’The Reluctant Fundamentalist is confused and cannot be recommended as the story is repetitive. Review Scores by Faisal Saif’]

The film is a story told in flashbacks by Pakistani Professor, Changez Khan (played by Riz Ahmed). Changez is a bright Princeton scholar who shines at a Wall Street company called Underwood Samson under the mentor-ship of Jim (played by Kiefer Sutherland).

Changez also has a rich photographer girlfriend called Erica (played by Kate Hudson). But their relationship is complicated as she is forever guilt-ridden. Changez is promised a promotion at work when, unfortunately, 9/11 takes place.

With the attack, the world around Changez is completely and utterly shattered. There are drastic changes in the way he is treated by those around him. From frequent checks at airports, nasty racist comments on the street to alienation in the office.

All of these become common occurrences that Changez has to deal with. His relationship with Erica is also affected too.

Changez visits Pakistan for the wedding of his sister Bina (played by Meesha Shafi). When he returns to the States again, he becomes confused and dejected by the altered atmosphere around him.

Everyone seems to hate Muslims and Sikhs and his colleagues suggest that he must shave off his beard or be prepared to face the consequences.

Speaking about the performances, Riz Ahmed is good as the lead, Changez, but becomes irritating towards 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, and Chandrachur Singh have all only worked in the film for the sake of Mira Nair, I guess. They fill a very tiny scope of 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 she is a terrible actor.

The camera work of the film is A class, there is no doubt about it. The editing is very dull and slow. It actually makes you wonder when film will end. The music is decent and goes with the flow of the film and storyline. The production value is very good since the film is backed by Hollywood Studios.

Mira Nair being one of the finest filmmakers of the last decade has sadly chosen the wrong subject this time for a film. The main reason for this is that the story has been told too many times, which means that this time around, it is not at all convincing.

I cannot recommend this film because it is repetitive, and doesn’t leave the desired impact on you or your heart at all. The Reluctant Fundamentalist is a confused film that fails to offer anything new.

Faisal Saif is our Bollywood film reviewer and Journalist from B-Town. He has huge passion for everything Bollywood and adores its magic on and off screen. His motto is to "Stand unique and tell Bollywood Stories in a Different Way."

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