My Son the Fanatic

My Son the Fanatic

4.0 1
Director: Udayan Prasad, Om Puri, Rachel Griffiths, Stellan Skarsgård

Cast: Udayan Prasad, Om Puri, Rachel Griffiths, Stellan Skarsgård


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In a small city in the English midlands, a Pakistani immigrant named Parvez (Om Puri) works long hours driving a cab to provide modest comfort for his disapproving wife, Minoo (Gopi Desai), and better opportunities for his collegiate son, Farid (Akbar Kurtha). When Farid breaks off his engagement with the daughter of the city's white police commissioner, drops out of


In a small city in the English midlands, a Pakistani immigrant named Parvez (Om Puri) works long hours driving a cab to provide modest comfort for his disapproving wife, Minoo (Gopi Desai), and better opportunities for his collegiate son, Farid (Akbar Kurtha). When Farid breaks off his engagement with the daughter of the city's white police commissioner, drops out of university and joins a cell of Islamic fundamentalists, Parvez must bide his time and hope that his son will come around to his own liberal, assimilationist views. Meanwhile, a monied German entrepreneur named Schitz (Stellan Skarsgard) arrives in town on business and retains Parvez's services as not only driver but navigator of the city's steamy underbelly. Parvez recommends the services of Bettina (Rachel Griffiths), a local hooker with whom he has struck up an unlikely but warm friendship. Schitz's callous treatment of both of his new employees soon, however, sickens Parvez. After his son convinces Parvez to let a visiting holy man move into the family home, the conflicts between Parvez's nocturnal activities and his home life escalate. The screenplay was adapted by Hanif Kureishi from his own short story, which appears in the collection Love in a Blue Time.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Brian J. Dillard
Although it finds a lot of humor in the collision between immigrant and native, liberal and fundamentalist, My Son the Fanatic is actually a bittersweet drama that resists easy resolution of its many well-delineated conflicts. Director Udayan Prasad and cinematographer Alan Almond deftly juggle characters and locales as they explore both the facades and the realities of an average Western city. Om Puri is terrific as Parvez, the Pakistani cab driver whose few pleasures in life include listening to old jazz records and watching his son grow up. Rachel Griffiths is similarly spot-on as Bettina, the prostitute who longs for new experiences and sees more than just a Paki cabbie in Parvez's grizzled but kindly countenance. Akbar Kurtha and Gopi Desai don't get as much screen time, or generate as much sympathy, as Parvez's dutiful wife and fundamentalist son, but even when Hanif Kureishi's script stacks the deck against these characters it never wholly dismisses their viewpoints and motivations; the film may poke fun at the ironies of an anti-capitalist Islamic holy man who watches cartoons, runs up Parvez's utility bills, and wants to immigrate to the "corrupt" United Kingdom, but Schitz (Stellan Skarsgard), the wanton, casually racist German businessman, helps portray the equally ugly extremes of Western liberalism. Fizzy (Harish Patel), Parvez's wealthy but judgmental friend, likewise represents the hypocrisy of immigrants whose loyalties are divided between profit and propriety. Posing more questions than it answers, this multifaceted film explores writer Kureishi's perennial themes with more nuance and depth than any before.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Miramax Lionsgate
[Wide Screen]
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Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Om Puri Parvez
Rachel Griffiths Bettina
Stellan Skarsgård Schitz
Akbar Kurtha Farid
Gopi Desai Minoo
Harish Patel Fizzy
Sarah Jane Potts Madelaine
Bhasker Patel The Maulvi

Technical Credits
Udayan Prasad Director
Alan Almond Cinematographer
Albert Bailey Sound/Sound Designer
Colin Blaymires Art Director
Chris Curling Producer
George Faber Executive Producer
David Gamble Editor
Charlie Gillett Musical Direction/Supervision
Grenville Horner Production Designer
Simone Ireland Casting
Sara Kane Art Director
Hanif Kureishi Screenwriter
Nick Laws Asst. Director
Vanessa Pereira Casting
Mary-Jane Reyner Costumes/Costume Designer
Adrian Rhodes Sound/Sound Designer
Stephen Warbeck Score Composer


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My Son the Fanatic 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
MY SON THE FANATIC is a small scale film made in 1998 about the problems of cross culture assimilation between Pakistanis and the British - or rather between Muslim and Christian - that packs a powerful punch in the understanding of current clashes similar to the film's story that are so keenly in focus today. Based on a short story by Hanif Kureishi (who also adapted the story to a screenplay) and directed by the highly respected Udayan Prasad, this film is blessed with a fine cast of actors who make some of the more improbable aspects quite warmly credible. Parvez (the always fine Om Puri) slept through his Muslim education in Pakistan and moved to England with his wife Minoo (Gopi Desai) where he has been a taxi cab driver for 25 years while his co-immigrants such as his best friend Fizzy (Harish Patel) have become rich entrepreneurs. Parvez and Minoo have a young son Farid (Akbar Kurtha) who is a bit unsettled as a Pakistani adjusting to life in capitalistic England and has found a girlfriend Madeline (Sarah-Jane Potts) who happens to be the daughter of the Chief Police Inspector Fingerhut (Geoffrey Bateman). Despite the fact that Parvez and his wife would prefer Farid marry a Pakistani girl they consent to an engagement party, a turning point for the politically tenuous Farid. When Farid observes how the Fingerhut family snubs his Pakistani parents and background he explodes and instead joins a fundamentalist Muslim group, pledging his life to stamping out porn, drugs, evil, etc. Parvez attempts reconciliation with his wildly fanatical son but the only person with whom he can communicate is a hooker named Bettina/Sandra (Rachel Griffiths) who has a heart of gold and is only in the Profession to make enough money to become a teacher. Parvez is a driver for a pimp service and he is assigned to escort a wealthy smarmy German Schitz (Stellan Skarsgård) through a series of encounters, encounters that involve Bettina among others. But along the way Bettina softens to Parvez, listens to his anguish about his son, and eventually becomes Parvez' paramour. When Farid's fundamentalist group is attacking the brothel where Bettina works he discovers his father's situation and is enraged: Parvez, Farid and Minoo must come to an understanding - and it is this manner of coping that provides a very touching ending to the film. The story holds its own as a movie, but the underlying content is pungent, intelligent, perceptive, insightful and very cogent. Each member of the cast is excellent but Om Puri proves once again that he can carry a film with a questionable character strongly on his shoulders. Not only is this a fine little comedy drama to watch, it also provides some serious food for thought. Grady Harp