Mira Nair`s `Reluctant Fundamentalist` to open Venice film fest

New York: NRI filmmaker Mira Nair`s latest thriller `The Reluctant Fundamentalist`, starring Shabana Azmi and Om Puri, will open the 69th edition of Venice film festival next month.

An adaptation of Pakistani writer Mohsin Hamid`s book of the same name, the film will have its world premiere in an out-of-competition screening at the festival which runs from August 29 August to September 8, the official website of the festival said.

A riveting international political thriller, the film follows the story of a young Pakistani man, chasing corporate success on Wall Street, who ultimately finds himself embroiled in a conflict between his American Dream, a hostage crisis, and the enduring call of his family`s homeland.

Apart from Azmi, the film also stars Hollywood actor Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland and Liev Schreiber. Actor Riz Ahmed, who was last seen in Freida Pinto starrer `Trishna`, has been cast by Nair to play the lead `Changez`.

Festival director Alberto Barbera said they decided to open the festival with Nair`s film because it is an "exemplary film adaptation of a novel that deals with the topical issue of fundamentalism of any kind or nature."

"The Festival`s opening night will feature a film that provides much food for thought. It is a choice that intends to highlight the growing role of female creativity in all spheres of culture and contemporary society.

"...With great sensitivity, subtlety and remarkable sense of cinematic narrative, the director is never reluctant to take a difficult stand, inspired by profound ethical and moral reasons that, although choosing to face reality, still reject its compromises and aberrations," Barbera added.

Adapted by William Wheeler and produced by Lydia Dean Pilcher, the film was shot in the cities of Lahore, Delhi, Istanbul, New York and Atlanta.

Nair, the Golden Lion winner in 2001 for `Monsoon Wedding`, is returning to the festival for the fifth time. She has previously presented `Mississippi Masala` and `Vanity Fair` at the festival.

The India-born director made her debut in 1988 with Oscar nominated `Salaam Bombay!` and went on to make internationally acclaimed movies like `Mississippi Masala`, `The Perez Family`, `Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love`, `My Own Country`, `Monsoon Wedding`, `Hysterical Blindness`, `Vanity Fair`, `The Namesake`, `New York, I Love You` and `Amelia`.


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