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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Acclaimed Indian Director Mira Nair Takes On Fundamentalism

Film director Mira Nair is pictured at the Here & Now studios in Boston. (Here & Now)

Film director Mira Nair is pictured at the Here & Now studios in Boston. (Here & Now)

Director Mira Nair’s films set in her native India, such as “Monsoon Wedding,” have won widespread acclaim. Her most recent films include “Vanity Fair,” “The Namesake” and “Amelia.”

Her latest film “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” is set in Pakistan, a country that she developed a deep love for when she visited in 2004.

The Reluctant Fundamentalist

Based on the acclaimed novel by Pakistani author Mohsin Hamid, the film tells the story of Changez, who comes from Pakistan to study in the United States.

On the fast track to a bright future on Wall Street, Changez’ life changes after the 9/11 attacks, when he’s constantly treated with suspicion.

Disillusioned with the United States, he returns home to become a professor at a University in Lahore, but following the kidnapping of a fellow professor, he’s suspected of being a terrorist.

Nair says she wanted to make a film that showed modern Pakistan.

“We always think of it — especially living in America — as a place that, you know, the drones bomb everyone and it’s hijackings and political terror and so on,” Nair told Here & Now’s Robin Young. “But we don’t know the people.”

In most American films about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Nair says, “it is always about the American situation, it’s always a one-sided portrait.”

The film, which stars Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Liev Schreiber and Kiefer Sutherland, opens tomorrow in New York and Los Angeles. The Boston opening has been pushed back to May 17, in response to the marathon bombings.

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