The war on terror has an unusual effect on one man in this independent drama. Hassan (Ayad Akhtar) was an engineering student from Pakistan who, while studying in Paris, was one of several Pakistani students arrested by intelligence officers on suspicion of participating in international terrorist activities. Hassan was innocent of any crimes, but it took him hours to convince the authorities of this. By the time Hassan was released, his attitude about the West had begun to change, and in time he began to identify with the terrorists with whom he had been unwittingly associated. Hassan then renounces his old life, joins a radical group, and illegally slips into the United States with the aim of staging a major terrorist action in New York City. Hassan comes to stay with an old friend, Sayeed (Firdous Bamji), and his family; Hassan has told Sayeed and his wife (Sarita Choudhury) that he's come to New York in search of a job, but in time Sayeed suspects his friend has a different agenda in mind. The War Within was screened as part of the 2005 Toronto Film Festival.