Movie Review: The Reluctant Fundamentalist

I haven't read the novel by Mohsin Hamid on which this movie is based on. The title is very catchy, generating curiosity. The name will let you arrive at some preconceived notions about the book and also the movie. Some of it might turn out to be correct while others seems to be wrong. Anyways, since I haven't read the book, I will not be able to tell you if the adaptation is a faithful one or not. But I will be able to tell you if it is an enjoyable movie or not.

The movie is directed by Mira Nair. This gave me another reason to be looking forward to how the movie will unfold after the initial 5 minutes. In the initial five minutes, you pretty much know you are watching a thriller. This is a new genre for Mira Nair. How will a director who is known for sensitive portrayals of human relations and emotions give us a movie which deals with suspicion and hatred in the format of a thriller. The end result is not disappointing. At the same time, the movie is not groundbreaking cinema.

Changez Khan(Riz Ahmed) is interviewed by a journalist Bobby Lincoln(Liev Schreiber) somewhere in Lahore. The situation in Lahore in tense following a kidnapping of an American professor. Changez is already on the watch list of CIA operatives and is under surveillance. With the Pakistani cops searching for the kidnapped professor, the city is ready to erupt in violence. When the world is coming apart, Changez tells his side of the story to Bobby.

It is easy to get hooked to a thriller set against a political backdrop. Mira Nair does a good job. Her work is commendable in setting the suspense and also the crowd scenes at the end. The script contains a lot of cliches. Yet, it is engaging. The most interesting part of the movie is the revelation about fundamentalists. They come in different forms and their motives are self-centered. As usual, Mira Nair picks up some of the great talents from India and mixes it with the international cast. Riz Ahmed, Liev Schreiber and Kiefer Sutherland stands out in the cast. Om Puri and Shabana Azmi in brief roles leaves a mark while Kate Hudson looks out of place in the entire movie.

If you are looking for thriller to kill time, then pick this one up.

Language: English

Genre: Thriller

Rating: ***



  1. I haven't watched the movie but the book is marvelous do read it :)

    1. I haven't read the book yet.After seeing the movie, it seems like a good read. I am pretty sure the novel has been adapted and many portions in the novel will not have made to the big screen.

  2. I watched the movie, spurred in part cos Mira Nair directed it n in part for the trailer wit its stirring sufi rendition. True, lik u said, its quite a thriller. Though not an endge of the seat, one that has depth n poignance.

    I loved the scenes between Changez n his girlfriend Erica. Also the few snippets between him n his father. Wat thrilled me most about the movie was the way each scene had a depth to it, that made you feel, something very significant n important is being portrayed.

    Thriller, it indeed was, but one on an intellectual sphere, wit subtle dash of human emotions, n human flaws.

    1. You have put it more eloquently than me. :) To be frank, the relationship between Changez and Erica seemed cliched to me. It says two cultures cannot understand each other. This is witnessed many times in our movies.


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