Based on Mohsin Hamid’s novel by the same name, Mira Nair’s cinematic adaptation is a dampened yet pompous rendition of the book that narrates a fast rise and an equally fast fall of a Pakistani migrant residing in the US. Using the 9/11 theme as the backdrop, the movie tells the same old same old story of a Khan who’s not a terrorist.
The story begins with the Islamic fundamentalists kidnapping an American professor at Lahore, and the CIA along with an American Journalist Bobby (Liev Schreiber) try to learn more about this abduction through Changez Khan, who also teaches at the University. Changez uses the opportunity to recount his own story instead- of how his successful American career got flushed post 9/11, and how unintentional humiliation forced him to pull the plug on his stint with America to return to Lahore.
Riz Ahmed’s performance of Changez’s is way above decent, but the intensity of the pain and humiliation he’s subjected to fails to get the proper channel of expression. Om Puri as Changez’s poet father and Shabana Azmi as his mother are brilliant, but again their modest screen presence is a drawback. Adil Hussain is good as Mustafa Fazil, while the super Liev Schreiber delivers a super show being Booby the journalist. Kate Hudson as Changez’s photographer girlfriend is good too.
The soundtrack lacing the film is wonderful. Among all the songs, its the intensely sung ‘Bijli Aaye Ya Na Aaye’ that got lucky to be in my favorites. Meera Nair’s efforts in maintaining the authenticity in locales and set pieces are visible, but it’s the editing and camerawork that burn down the fire.
All in all, this movie could be viewed as another dished out 9/11 submit having slightly different ingredients, but is all the same just above ordinary.