Friday, 31 May 2013

The Reluctant Fundamentalist (film)

Another film version of a book I enjoyed is currently making its way to our cinema screens and gets two nights at Hailsham Pavilion towards the end of June. The Reluctant Fundamentalist was written by Mohsin Hamid and published in 2007. It was nominated for a spate of awards including the Man Booker and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, won the South Bank Show Award for Literature and was named a Book of the Decade by the Guardian.

Only a short book at a little over two hundred pages, I seem to remember reading it in one sitting and loving the beautiful prose that Hamid created. The story is framed by the meeting of two men in a cafe and I did find this device awkward at the start, but then the men themselves were awkward with each other so as I got accustomed to the 'real-time' interruptions, the set-up made more sense. One man is a Pakistani professor, the other a nervous American. Meeting in Lahore, the Pakistani man, Changez (Riz Ahmed), tells the American his story, his life in America and love affair with an American woman, and his abandonment of America after the 9/11 attacks prompted a sea change in attitudes towards his people there.

Directed by Mira Nair, the film adaptation premiered at the Venice Film Festival last year. It is being touted as a political thriller which I believe may do it more harm than good as I remember the story being more intriguing than thrilling - in the movie sense of the word. I do hope that extraneous car chases and explosions haven't been shoehorned in everywhere! The cast has some big names - Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Liev Schreiber, Kiefer Sutherland, Om Puri - and I have read that the storyline doesn't always stick tightly to that of the book. Still, beggars can't be choosers and, as I was bemoaning the lack of non-blockbuster cinema last week, I think I shall be going along to see this!

Hailsham Pavilion, Mon 24th and Tue 25th Jun, 19:45.
Tickets £6.50, £5 concessions, available online, by calling 01323 841414 or in person at the Box Office.