Washington: Acclaimed Indian director Mira Nair is hopeful that her new thriller The Reluctant Fundamentalist (TRF) would spur a dialogue between two worlds depicted in it particularly in the context of the Boston Marathon bombings. Based on the novel of the same name by Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid, the film tells the story of two conflicting ideologies - the 'fundamentalism' of the capitalists and that of the terrorists through a young Pakistani man chasing his American Dream.
In an exclusive interview to IANS, Mira Nair said, "The film not only gave me the opportunity to make that modern tale on Pakistan, but it was also in its bones a dialogue with America. There is so little of conversation between this part of the world and that part of the world and especially post 9/11 that conversation has become a monologue."
She saw in The Reluctant Fundamentalist a chance to create a bridge, create a dialogue. Mira Nair said that she has tried to make a film that questions who is the other or who do we make to feel like the other and make something that is not reductionist, where one is either a good guy or a bad guy and things are black or white.
She said, "In a complicated world we are many things. Not just one thing, not just Indian or American or just this or that, but we are a combination of so many identities especially in this globalising world. And that's what the film tries to approximate through the characters of protagonist Changez Khan (Riz Ahmed) and Bobby (Liev Schreiber), an American journalist, whom he tells about his experiences in the US at a teahouse in Lahore and the worlds they live in."
"I think our film is about the mutual suspicions that these two worlds have for each other. And in understanding why this suspicion exists, as we try to explain or reveal in our film. That could be illuminating in terms of understanding how such a shift can happen in an individual to bring men to an act of terror this way as we see in Boston," Nair said. "I have to be optimistic, but my film was just an early step because we are still paying the price of reaction that quick reach of reactions that I have seen happen in the country post 9/11."
Continue to read Mira Nair's interview in slide show.