Doha: A powerful drama based on the 2007 bestseller ‘The Reluctant Fundamentalist’ opened the fourth Doha Tribeca Film Festival on Saturday in the Qatari capital. The opening night, attended by the film’s director Mira Nair and author Mohsin Hamid, also saw a number of Gulf and Arab celebrities at the Souq Waqif, Doha’s cultural nerve centre.
Speaking at a press conference earlier in the day, Mira Nair said she decided to adapt the book into a film because she said she was “tired of always seeing the story from one point of view”.
“I have always believed that if we do not tell our own stories, no one else will,” she said.
The ‘Reluctant Fundamentalist’, which stars Riz Ahmad and Kate Hudson, along with Shabana Azmi and Om Puri, is about a Pakistani Princeton graduate who becomes torn between his American dream and the call of his homeland.
“We discuss two very important forms of fundamentalism — that of the capitalists and that of terrorists,” Nair said.
The film is co-funded by the Doha Film Institute, which owns the festival.
“Bringing [the film] to Doha is like a homecoming for me. They have been with me from day one,” said Nair, who added that the film took her five years to make.
Pakistani author Hamid said that while the film was not autobiographical, it reflected his own life experiences. “It comes from a world I am familiar with and similar to my own,” he said.
Hamid adapted the bestseller with Ami Boghani and William Wheeler.
More than 87 films will be screened during the eight-day festival, which will also see more than $440,000 (Dh1.61 million) given out in the Arab Film Competition. The Doha Tribeca Film Festival will run until November 24.