I always enjoy films from Mira Nair. Surely one of India’s most beloved daughters, Nair’s films always pull on the heart strings while displaying aspects of imperfections in our society that transcend race and culture. Her new film “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” appears to epitomize my aforementioned statement, depicting the life of a Pakistani in the U.S. just post 9-11.
Staring Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Shrieber and Riz Ahmed, it’s the story of a man that moves from his native land to chase corporate success on Wall Street. He finds himself conflicted with his idea of the “American Dream,” amidst a hostage crisis, and calls from home. Mira Nair’s film tend to always bring tensions within the family unit to the forefront. Her first feature film “Salaam Bombay,” met with critical acclaim and is now a cult classic. The first film I saw that she sat behind the camera for was “Mississippi Masala.” Starring, then future two-time Oscar Award winner, Denzel Washington and Sarita Choudhury. It showed an Indian family that wasn’t quite comfortable with their daughter being romantically involved with a black man in this latter day. Another of her earlier films was “The Perez Family” starring Alfred Molina and Oscar winning actresses Angelica Houston and Marisa Tomei. My favorite movies by Nair are the dangerous love story “Kama Sutra” and “Monsoon Wedding,” which displays a family at odds with themselves, depicting situations that are universal to families of any background.
Nair’s first film that focused on a story about the dominant ruling class was the period piece “Vanity Fair” starring Oscar winner Reese Witherspoon, in a rags to riches tale. Her hit “The Namesake” followed starring Kal Penn of ‘Harold & Kumar’ fame and Irrfan Khan. Nair’s last major release was the biopic “Amelia,” which told the story of the famous female pilot Amelia Earhart.
Looking forward to “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” out in limited release later this month…