6.9/10
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62 user 102 critic

The Reluctant Fundamentalist (2012)

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A young Pakistani man is chasing corporate success on Wall Street. He finds himself embroiled in a conflict between his American Dream, a hostage crisis, and the enduring call of his family's homeland.

Director:

Mira Nair

Writers:

Javed Akhtar (eulogy in urdu), Ami Boghani (screen story) | 3 more credits »
3 wins. See more awards »

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Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Riz Ahmed ... Changez
Kate Hudson ... Erica
Liev Schreiber ... Bobby Lincoln
Kiefer Sutherland ... Jim Cross
Om Puri ... Abu
Shabana Azmi ... Ammi
Martin Donovan ... Ludlow Cooper
Nelsan Ellis ... Wainwright
Haluk Bilginer ... Nazmi Kemal
Meesha Shafi ... Bina
Imaaduddin Shah ... Sameer (as Imaad Shah)
Christopher Nicholas Smith ... Mike Rizzo (as Chris Smith)
Ashwath Bhatt Ashwath Bhatt ... Junaid
Sarah Quinn Sarah Quinn ... Clea
Chandrachur Singh ... Bandy Uncle
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Storyline

A young Pakistani man is chasing corporate success on Wall Street. He finds himself embroiled in a conflict between his American Dream, a hostage crisis, and the enduring call of his family's homeland.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

When one day changes the world forever. See more »

Genres:

Drama | Thriller

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some violence and brief sexuality | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA | UK | Qatar

Language:

English | Urdu

Release Date:

3 May 2013 (Sweden) See more »

Also Known As:

El fundamentalista reticente See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$30,920, 28 April 2013, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$519,535, 9 June 2013
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The song, Bijli Aye Ya Na Aye is an Meesha Shafi's alternate version of the song Batti Aye Ya Na Aye, which is by her previous band Overload. This led to a dispute between Shafi and Overload, as to who owns the copyright of the song. See more »

Goofs

(at around 6 mins) The little girl with the envelope marked "U.S. Embassy" is walking through a corridor to drop the brown envelope. As she goes down the stairs, there is a signboard in blue, with white "Hindi" text. This corridor supposedly depicts Lahore and the Lahore Press Club where the signboards would have English and Urdu texts. See more »

Quotes

Changez: [about watching the events of 9/11 unfold] In that moment, I should have felt sorrow or anger, but all I felt was awe. What audacity. The ruthlessness of the act was surpassed only by its genius. And David had struck Goliath. I'm sorry if my reaction to the attacks has offended you, Bobby. I hope you see that I'm not celebrating at the death of 3,000 innocents, just as you would not celebrate the death of 100,000 in Baghdad or Kabul, for that matter. But before conscience kicks in, have you ...
[...]
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Connections

Featured in Maltin on Movies: Pain & Gain (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Kaindey Ney Naina
Written by Wazie Afzal
Performed by Zahra Haider Khan (as Zahra Khan)
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User Reviews

 
The War on Ignorance
14 June 2013 | by Dharmendra SinghSee all my reviews

What a shame, though how predictable, that the multiplexes chose not to show Mira Nair's brave and provocative political thriller about the intricacies of fighting extremist Islam.

Nair uses Mohsin Hamid's fictional novel to explore very real Western attitudes towards the East in the ongoing 'war on terror'. She has directed a film of huge cultural, political and moral significance at a critical juncture between the Muslim and non-Muslim world.

Rising star Riz Ahmed (Four Lions) gives a memorable lead performance as Changez, a Pakistani immigrant in New York, who has an identity crisis in the wake of 9/11. He returns to live in Lahore when an MIT professor has been captured and held ransom there by terrorists, who use him as leverage to make demands of the US.

Posing as a journalist, Secret Service Agent Bobby Lincoln (Liev Schreiber) visits Lahore to interview Changez, who has developed a reputation for being anti-American. The US authorities believe that Changez, if not a terrorist, at least knows something about the kidnapping. They exert pressure on him by harassing his family, a move which only deepens his hatred.

During their interview, Changez asks Bobby to make a judgement about him only after hearing his entire story, and Changez's reminiscence allows for the film to unfurl as a flashback of epic proportions.

Raised in a secular, literate Muslim household in Pakistan, Changez finds it easy to break the covenants of his religion. He consumes alcohol, eats pork and sleeps with non-Muslims, everything Islam forbids. He wins a scholarship to study at Princeton in the late 90s, where he claims never to have scored a B.

There he is headhunted to work for a prestigious valuation firm where he ensures a rapid promotion by impressing his boss (Kiefer Sutherland). On the day of his promotion the towers come down. He tells Bobby that instead of feeling sadness, he felt awe. 'David had struck Goliath'.

Ahmed gave his most famous performance in Lions, but this is his greatest. As an 'Asian' (I abhor the term but include it for your convenience) man myself, I have long had to suffer stereotypical performances by brown-skinned actors, who are used by ignorant directors to add colour and Schadenfreude to their ignorant stories. Ahmed transcends all that. This time we're analysing the reactions of White actors.

Changez's hatred of America germinates slowly, against his will, as his life slowly falls apart. Colleagues turn on him. The bond he had with his widowed girlfriend Erica (Kate Hudson) withers. Ordinary citizens view him as the enemy. His choice to move back to Pakistan is made for him.

Nair purposely shows much of Changez's life back home, as one of her clear aims is to challenge some key stereotypes. Changez's father (Om Puri) is a distinguished poet, not a farmer or rickshaw puller. The family is quite well off, not destitute. And the country is generally shown to be colourful, vibrant and civilised, instead of corrupt, backward and dangerous, as we normally see.

The horror of the recent Woolwich (London) terrorist attack may do something to restrict the impact of this excellent film. Paradoxically, the attack serves to reinforce the arguments of the film. It makes several points, makes them powerfully and forces you to in future question what you are told.


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