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My Son the Fanatic (1997)

R  |   |  Comedy, Drama, Romance  |  7 January 1998 (France)
7.0
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Ratings: 7.0/10 from 1,426 users  
Reviews: 37 user | 22 critic

Pakistani taxi-driver Parvez and prostitute Bettina find themselves trapped in the middle when Islamic fundamentalists decide to clean up their local town.

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Parvez
...
Bettina / Sandra
...
Farid
...
Schitz
Gopi Desai ...
Minoo
Harish Patel ...
Fizzy
...
Madeline Fingerhut (as Sarah Jane Potts)
Judi Jones ...
Mrs. Fingerhut
Geoffrey Bateman ...
Chief Inspector Fingerhut
...
Drunk man
Moya Brady ...
Druggy prostitute
Badi Uzzaman ...
Man in mosque
Andy Devine ...
Comedian
Shiv Grewal ...
Waiter
Marc Anwar ...
Rashid (as Omar Salimi)
Edit

Storyline

Parvez was born in Lahore, Pakistan, and as a child was asked to study the Holy scriptures through a Maulvi. When the Maulvi started his sermon, Parvez would fall asleep, this lead to the Maulvi devising a unique punishment, which ultimately compelled Parvez to stop attending. When he grew up, his marriage was arranged with Minoo and they immigrated to a small town in Britain, where Parvez started to make a living driving a taxi, and found himself free from all religious activity. 25 years later, Parvez is an alcoholic, still driving a cab, while people who had immigrated after him have their own businesses and are wealthier. Parvez now has a grown son, Farid, who is the apple of his eye, and is to be engaged to Madeleine Fingerhut, who is the daughter of the local Chief Inspector. After the two families' meet, Farid has a sudden change of heart when he notices that the Chief Inspector detests his family, and it slowly dawns on him that he and his girlfriend are quite different, and ... Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexuality, language and a scene of drug use | See all certifications »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

Release Date:

7 January 1998 (France)  »

Also Known As:

Gyilkosságra nevelve  »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$38,399 (USA) (25 June 1999)

Gross:

$408,339 (USA) (30 July 1999)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Metrocolor)

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Connections

Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Episode dated 3 July 1999 (1999) See more »

Soundtracks

John B. Calypso
E.T. Mensah
© Retro/Afric Records and Music
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User Reviews

A kind immigrant taxi driver who is platonic friends with a prostitute and whose son becomes a religious fundamentalist - ingredients combined with Om Puri's acting to make a worthwhile film
4 January 2002 | by (Durham, NC (USA)) – See all my reviews

I was pleasantly surprised when I just saw "My Son the Fanatic" (I write this as the video rewinds!). I'm quite averse to watching gratuitous violence and listening to obscenities, and I looked askance at the cover jacket of this video at my public library, thinking it may be akin to films like "East is East", "Sammy and Rosie", and "My Beautiful Laundrette". Like those films, this one explores English lower middle class South Asian immigrants, but I found "My Son the Fanatic" to be much more palatable - and in fact endearing and more interesting - than the others.

The story is of Parvez (played by Om Puri), a Pakistani who has immigrated to England 25 or 30 years ago. He is a taxi driver and is very proud of his son, Farid (Akbar Kurtha), who appears to be in his mid-20s. The film opens with Parvez, his wife Minoo (Gopi Desai), and Farid all meeting the family of Madelaine (Sarah-Jane Potts), Farid's girlfriend. Madelaine's father is chief of police, and Parvez is enthusiastic for the marriage presumably because the young couple love each other, but also, it seems, because of the status of the chief inspector.

Parvez is a hard-working, kind, and friendly man. Some of his customers are prostitutes, and he honorably befriends one, Bettina (Rachel Griffiths), maintaining a respectful and supportive platonic relationship.

Life is turned upside down when Farid abandons his engagement and school when religious fundamentalism beckons him. This forms the framework for the climax and resolution of the film.

Om Puri, consistent with his reputation, puts in an excellent and believable performance of a parent trying to provide a good life for his family and looking to harness qualities from both his traditional and adopted cultures. Though she seems to be stuck at home, Minoo is more dimensional than other S.Asian mothers are often portrayed to be. I think more could have been done to have developed the son's character, and Bettina had a radiance, charm, and optimism that made it hard to believe her to be a prostitute.

"My Son the Fanatic" is a film that I enjoyed seeing. It's neither uplifting nor depressing, but the story is interesting and believable, and Om Puri's credible acting is a delight to see.


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