My Son The Fanatic (1997, Udayan Prasad)

Written by Hanif Kureishi, which I know is a Big Deal in the academic world but I’m not entirely sure why. Katy points out the complex characters and the offbeat ending (the father alone & lonely in his house). Cab-driving father is a lapsed muslim who has sex with prostitutes and does other non-muslim things, and his son decides to go hard-line and hang out with clerics and protest whore houses (and burn them down). Argument ensues, father does not win, son buzzes off and wife leaves father. I am having trouble with the details, unfortunately. When I think back two weeks to when I watched this, a sort of generic movie-of-the-week feeling comes to mind. I do remember the actors alright – Om Puri (Gandhi, Code 46) and Akbar Kurtha (Syriana) were good as father and son, respectively. Rachel Griffiths (Blow, Jude) I suppose was the prostitute, and we were treated to a phoned-in performance from Stellan Skarsgard in the midst of his breakout year in Hollywood (from Breaking the Waves and Insomnia to Amistad and Good Will Hunting). Stellan is a rich immoral businessman who pays Om Puri to drive him around and supply prostitutes – I keep thinking Stellan’s parties in empty warehouses will go all Hostel but they never do. Katy thought it was alright.

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