I hadn’t read the book, though I know I should have. Have to read it by next week for my Delhi book club, as it so happens, but this review is all about the film.
I loved it – it is visually fabulous with photography to die for, and filmed with such compassion and open-mindedness, that you leave the cinema feeling moved and saddened at the alienation, yet fully understanding why.
There is little point spoiling your enjoyment of the film by telling you the plot, but suffice it to say it charts the reluctant transformation of an intelligent westernised Pakistani living the American dream who is singled out, questioned, and ultimately alienated by the country he loves, all in the tragic aftermath of 9/11.
So, my best moments ?
1) Every single visual moment of the film. The photography/videography is gorgeous, lush, sweeping – oh, every adjective you can summon up. There is a slightly retro feel to it, and the air of genteel dilapidation that hangs over so many of our subcontinental monuments was brilliantly captured.
2) The music, especially the utterly, thrillingly fabulous “Kangna” which I have promptly downloaded and have been playing non-stop all morning.
I am trying this out for the first time – giving you a link to an audio clip – so let’s hope this works.
3) The warmth of Pakistan, which translates just as easily into the warmth of India, where I live. I loved the moment when Changez goes for chai in the US. Very moving.
4) The innate dignity and grace of the Pakistanis vs the brasher Americans.
5) Om Puri, whose acting I have loved for years, asking about his son’s career.
6) Love love love the newcomer, Meesha Shafi. OK OK, I stand corrected – Ms Shafi is terribly well-known but she is a newcomer to Hollywood, at least, and she dazzles and I wanted to see more of her.
(And, how thrilling – I googled her, and found out that she will be in the soon to be released Bollywood film “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”, in which I will be a blink and you miss extra)
And out of all of these fave moments, if I had to choose just one – oh, without a moment’s hesitation “Kangna”. Too fabulous.