How does an intelligent, intuitive and warm person become sharp, fearful and cold?

The Corporate world is anyway cut throat but it can become literal when the dreams of Changez Khan are at stake.

Director Mira Nair is far away from her “Monsoon Wedding” and very close to “The Namesake” in her latest film “The Reluctant Fundamentalist” which is based on the novel by Mohsin Hamid.

The story is about the big American Dream that turns into a nightmare after 9/11 for the protagonist Changez Khan (Riz Ahmed) and his journey back home, his real home, his very own heart and set of beliefs.

Changez Khan rises to the top at the “fixer company” and his boss Jim Cross (Kiefer Sutherland) sees a little of his own young blood, mentors Changez to become an associate. But it’s too late and even his girlfriend who is a dopey, clumsy black-haired Erica (Kate Hudson) leaves him hanging dry.

The small moments, of Changez lying on the floor of his apartment, translating the different meanings of love in Urdu, to conquering the client in Phillipines and getting knocked over by the heavy smoker publisher in Turkey offer subtle but sharp insights into how a person is affected in their direction of life especially when the choices are prompted by props. The kidnapping of a Professor triggers the story while the great soundtrack of the film featuring Atif Aslam’s “Rabba Sacheya” song carry the plot along with a tight rope of suspense.

Changez’s father (Om Puri) is a jolly, big-hearted and wise man, his story of the fruit seller sums up the “grass is greener on the other side” to reality, watch out for it yourself. His mother (Shabana Azmi) walks and talks with grace, because there really is no point in having too little or asking for too much, life’s moments and love matter more. The question then is, did Changez do it?

Journalist Bobby Lincoln (Liev Schrieber) moves in to “investigate” Changez and soon finds himself at awe with the young man, who believe or not was “The Reluctant Fundamentalist”.

Riz Ahmed- Courtesy Asia Pacific Arts Usc Edu