My Son The Fanatic

My Son The Fanatic


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

The son shouts at his father: "They live in pornography and filth and tell us how backward we are." The son is first generation British, the father a Pakistani taxi driver. "They" are the indigenous population of a once industrial northern town.

Hanif Kureishi's script covers the racial divide between a politically awakened younger generation who speak English with a Yorkshire accent and their parents who have adapted to the British ways of waste. The boy's father has been driving his cab for 25 years. He has gained the respect of the prostitutes because he doesn't treat them like his son's fundamentalist friends who spit in their faces. He is not rich and his wife calls him a failed man.

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The film is well-written, asking questions on many levels. When the taxi driver begins an affair with one of the girls (Rachel Griffiths), his wife, who stays at home and knows everything, tells him, "You have done an unforgivable thing, put self before family." It is true, but as he says to his old friend, who owns the smartest restaurant in town, "Am I to be sitting behind that wheel without tenderness forever?"

Om Puri, who plays the taxi driver, is such a fine actor he touches every aspect of human experience. This is perfectly suited for television, thought provoking and entertaining, with dialogue ("What's wrong with Louis Armstrong?" "Too trumpety") that sings.

Reviewed on: 19 Jan 2001
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The relationship between a Pakistani taxi driver and a prostitute.
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Director: Udayan Prasad

Writer: Hanif Kureishi

Starring: Om Puri, Rachel Griffiths, Akbar Kurtha, Stellan Skarsgard, Gopi Desai, Harish Patel

Year: 1996

Runtime: 88 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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