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  • My Son The Fanatic [VHS] [1998]
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My Son The Fanatic [VHS] [1998]

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Product details

  • Actors: Om Puri, Rachel Griffiths, Akbar Kurtha, Stellan Skarsgård, Gopi Desai
  • Directors: Udayan Prasad
  • Writers: Hanif Kureishi
  • Producers: Anita Overland, Chris Curling, George Faber
  • Format: PAL
  • Language: English
  • Classification: 15
  • Studio: Feature Film
  • VHS Release Date: 19 Aug. 2002
  • Run Time: 83 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00004CZJL
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 256,006 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

Product Description

Asian taxi driver Parvez (Om Puri) lives in a northern England town with his wife, Minoo (Gopi Desai), and son, Farid (Akbar Kurtha), an aspiring accountant. The parents are shocked when Farid breaks off his engagement to Madeleine, a white girl, and seeks strict religious instruction from a Muslim maulvi (holy man). Parvez, increasingly estranged from Minoo, embarks on a tentative affair with prostitute Bettina (Rachel Griffiths), but the relationship is threatened by Farid's increasing fanaticism.

From the Back Cover

Farid (Akbar Kurtha) is a seething and disillusioned twenty-something Asian man living in northern England. Looking for inspiration after a disastrous falling out with his white fiancee’s family, he turns to religion. His father Parvez (Om Puri), a good-natured taxi driver, is becoming increasingly estranged from his wife Minoo (Gopi Desai), and finds affection with the local prostitute Bettina (Rachel Griffiths).

Islamic fundamentalism is caught head on with western hedonism over the kitchen table of this Asian family, as father and son realize the extremity of their differences. Farid and his fanatical friends begin an aggressive campaign to rid the streets of prostitutes, just as Parvez realizes he could be falling in love with Bettina. Meanwhile, visiting German businessman Schitz (Stellan Skarsgard) has his own plans for the girl and her colleagues in his search for pleasure. My Son the Fanatic is a heartwarming story of love against the odds, set against a comic clash of generations and culture.

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Rottweiller Swinburne on 1 Sept. 2012
Format: DVD
Since I started doing reviews for Amazon, I find that I've come to specialise in reviewing films that I esteem highly, but which have for one reason or another slid into relative or actual obscurity. Here is a case in point.

"My Son the Fanatic", a 1998 film based on a short story by Hanif Kureishi, bears inevitable comparison with the better-known "East is East" which, like "My Son..", deals with the tensions between Traditional Eastern and Modern Western values in contemporary Britain, and the difficulty experienced by people from the former background trying to adjust to life in the latter. However, as often happens (at least in my opinion), the better film has been eclipsed by the lesser one. "East is East" is by no means a bad film, but in my view tends towards comfortable, easy-laugh and predictable territory, without ever really going into the darker interior of the subject matter it uses for entertainment. "My Son..." is a harder, darker and, given the recent history of race and cultural relations in Britain, more controversial, even inflammatory, film, uncompromising in its honesty and dealing head-on with factors in modern society that we'd rather joke about than really face.

The story. Parvez (played by the ever-excellent Om Puri - in my view a really, really great actor who should be used a lot more than he is) is a first-generation Pakistani who scrapes a meagre living as a taxi driver in some un-named city in Northern England (a thinly-disguised Bradford). Despite being married and having a son (Farid, played by Akbar Kurtha) he is a profoundly lonely man, mired in a loveless marriage and an existence that revolves around work.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By RIGGABUSH on 28 Aug. 2012
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I caught the last hour of this film on tv late one night and wanted to buy it so I could watch the whole film, pity it is only produced on Region 1-why are really good films hard to get hold of? But once I reprogrammed by DVD player the film was really good and I'm glad I brought it-although it is not everyones cup of tea.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A. N. Saleem on 14 Jan. 2015
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
A great film based on real life
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Ruppert on 15 Aug. 2014
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
it's ok.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 22 reviews
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
By Shashank Tripathi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Made in 1997 (ps: pre-911) it is remarkable how a movie so simple in its narrative, and so in the shadow of critical cinema, could depict such smack-dab nuances of eastern immigrants at odds with a western setting or how the cultural assimilation of trans-national immigrants doesn't always look like a rainbow colored day at the beach.
But despite that seemingly ho-hum central tack, there are many conflicts studied very poignantly -- modern versus mediaeval, father versus son, fidelity versus emotional satisfaction, ethnic conservatism (ok, fanaticism) versus open minded cosmopolitanism, Good House Husband versus Bad Man Who Befriends Prostitutes, Decent Living Taxi Driver versus Someone Who Became Filthy Rich...and each is sublte yet hard-hitting in its simplicity.
Without giving away too much about the plot, there is no ordinary character in the movie, certainly no ordinary Muslim. The father (Parvez, played wonderfully by Om Puri) is a cabbie who flirts about in a relationship with a streetside floozy whom he finds more uplifting (no pun intended) than his standpat wife back home who disapproves of his free-wheeling ways and even finds his interests in jazz "too trumpety". The other Muslim, the son, is at loggerheads with his peers in throes of non-acceptance and instead gets inveigled into Islamic fundamentalism as an escape. This contrast is very, very credible, real and amusing.
Particularly noteworthy are Udayan's idiosynchratic implications about what constitutes "right" or "wrong" character. Parvez's prostitute girlfriend has a loving heart, a sharp mind and a vivacious presence despite her ostracization from the Good People Club. The son and his other right-wing Islamic acolyte buddies come off as annoyingly childish in a thoughtless "promiscuity" of their own.
For instance, they invite a Pakistani Maulvi to sermonize/"guide", and a hilarious TRUE moment pops up when the Maulvi requests the non-approving father for some help with his immigration into England.
Another VERY, VERY quiet 5 second scene that leaves an indelible impact is the depiction of male chauvinism dominating orthodox Islam where Parvez's wife is huddled in the kitchen for dinner, behind a closed door, and refuses to come out to dine with the men of the house in fear of doing something "inappropriate" in the presence of the supposed Maulvi.
The movie has many light-hearted moments and the cinematography is unexpectedly stunning. All this emotional, moral tussle between father, son, wife, romantic interest etc leads to a denouement that is hardly a resolution of sorts but is deeply moving. Everyone makes a choice (and I found the choice of Parvez's wife particularly startling) in favor of freedom from personal and social shackles. Made me think for days and recommend this movie to everyone I care about.
This is probably not your average East Meets West type ethnic take and certainly not a look into typical Muslim life as it makes no pretense of being. Yet, as a movie that tackles very touching, very identifiable themes of how simple convictions about life and love can sway people into/away from relationships, it comes HIGHLY, HIGHLY RECOMMENDED from me.
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Can cultures intermix? 16 April 2002
By Mikael Kuoppala - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
Islamic fundamentalism and western hedonism collide in Hanif Kureishi's film "My Son the Fanatic", wich takes place in the small English town of Bradford.
The film was a huge hit in the 1997 Cannes film festival. It's intriquing way of combining comedy and drama earned it the Official Selection.
"My Son the Fanatic" gives us a peak to the life of Parvez, an Indian-Brittish taxi-driver, who doesn't care much about his roots, but is very fond of the western way of life. He befriends with the lower class of his town, eventually falling in love with a prostitute.
His son, Farid, represents a very different kind of thinking. He opposes the western way of living recklessly and seeks order. This leads to him leaving his English fiancé and joining a group of islamic fundamentalists.
The film that begins as a light comedy turns into serious drama as Parvez and Farid collide in their different ways of viewing life. Parvez's worry about his son and his long-dead marriage to his traditional Indian wife who doesn't approve of him mingling with criminals and prostitutes etc. offers us meaningfull moments, wich carry the deep characters through situations.
The film speaks for open mindedness, showing that a prostitute can be a good person and that a religious fanatic is always someones child. It offers much to think about while questioning common prejudiousness.
The adequate acting performances and Udayan Prasad's talented directing support Hanif Kureishi's insightfull script, wich unfortunately, or perhaps intentionally, is left a bit superficial.
"My Son the Fanatic" shows us that cultures can indeed intermix, and I recommend it strongly, especially at these times.
To quote Parvez: "Farid tells me cultures can't be combined. Jesus! You can't keep them apart!"
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Ultimately a Ghetto Love Story - and an excellent one..... 22 Jan. 2002
By Winthrop Harrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD
'My Son the Fanatic' is a tremendous film. The power & message of the film was surely powerful in 1998. But in my American winter of 2002, this film strikes deep. I've been to the Docklands, Hackney & Vauxhall - this film captures the base racism & grime of marginal London, never as an excuse, but as a living fact, and never a wall to what really matters. Love, Truth, or what seems to be. There isn't a Soul in this film who isn't searching for those same things. But sadly, they search for it with very different dreams.
The beauty of this film is its careful study of loneliness, and how a handful of isolated poor forgotten people dream in so very different ways. Some look for it in drugs, prostitution, simply surviving, or the Purity of Islamic Fundamentalism. And/Or just simply Living, and making it Work. In this movie, all moral choices collide, the participants are that close to making it work. None of them are wholly wrong.
I'll reveal no more, just to say that the camera-work is lively and excellent. The pacing is good, the message is so alive, this film deserves to be seen. It raises troubling questions about Terrorism and Fanaticism, and answers none. But that is the honest confused place we all find ourselves. It's 2002, it's up to your heart where you go from here... This film perectly captures one world. What's yours?
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
The gentle humor adds to the humanity of this fine film 24 Aug. 2002
By Linda Linguvic - Published on Amazon.com
The theme of immigrant children rejecting traditional values is a common one. But in this 1997 British gem, there's a twist. This screenplay, by Hanif Kuresshi, tells a story of a Pakistani-British taxicab driver whose only son reverts to Moslem fundamentalism much to his father's displeasure. It's a modern story, and we've all become painfully aware of these issues lately.
Om Puri, with his weathered pock-marked face, has the ability to create a character that is easy to identify with. He's a foreigner, the victim of racial prejudice. He has also become alienated from his family. And yet, he is bursting with vitality and is full of wisdom. When his son breaks his engagement with an English girl and turns to fundamentalism, he's horrified as it is against the basic principles of the secular life he has chosen for himself. He has nobody to turn to as a friend with the exception of Rachel Griffiths, cast in the role of a prostitute he chauffeurs around. She, too, is alienated, and as their relationship grows, the story become more complex.
Many of the scenes are shot inside the cab, and even though it took me a few minutes to get adjusted to the fact that the driver's seat is on the right in England, it really gave me the feeling of what a cabdriver's day-to-day life is like. The cross-cultural conflicts are sharp and grating as the son invites a visiting holy man to stay in their house and the young extremists demonstrate for moral decency. I could certainly identify with the father's dilemma as he grappled with his own complex moral choices. There's gentle humor too, and it adds to the humanity of the film, although I could never call it a comedy. It's simply an offbeat story with some unlikely people dealing with very real issues. Definitely recommended.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A fine screen play 15 Mar. 2002
By M. A. ZAIDI - Published on Amazon.com
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
In a small city in the English midlands, a Pakistani immigrant named Parvez (Om Puri) works long hours driving a cab to provide modest comfort for his disapproving wife, Minoo (Gopi Desai), and better opportunities for his collegiate son, Farid (Akbar Kurtha). When Farid breaks off his engagement with the daughter of the city's white police commissioner, drops out of university and joins a cell of Islamic fundamentalists, Parvez must bide his time and hope that his son will come around to his own liberal, assimilationist views. Meanwhile, a monied German entrepreneur named Schitz (Stellan Skarsgard) arrives in town on business and retains Parvez's services as not only driver but navigator of the city's steamy underbelly. Parvez recommends the services of Bettina (Rachel Griffiths), a local hooker with whom he has struck up an unlikely but warm friendship. Schitz's callous treatment of both of his new employees soon, however, sickens Parvez. After his son convinces Parvez to let a visiting holy man move into the family home, the conflicts between Parvez's nocturnal activities and his home life escalate. The screenplay was adapted by Hanif Kureishi from his own short story,
I read the novel and felt the movie was very true to the text. Of all the characters I felt that Om Puri and Akbar Kurta did a marvelous job.
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