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  • MOVING NOW FROM WASHINGTON TO HOLLYWOOD ... INDIAN-BORN FILMMAKER MIRA NAIR MAKES MOVIES ABOUT ETHNIC

  • IDENTITY, MIXED MARRIAGES AND TOLERANCE. HER MOST RECENT FILM, "THE RELUCTANT FUNDAMENTALIST,"

  • IS BASED ON A NOVEL AND DEALS WITH THE ALIENATION OF A YOUNG PAKISTANI IN A POST- 9/11 WORLD.

  • I TALKED ABOUT IT WITH VOA FILM REPORTER PENELOPE POULOU.

  • THE STORY IN ITSELF IS VERY COMPELLING. A YOUNG MAN COMES FROM PAKISTAN, VERY INTELLIGENT,

  • GETS TOP POSITION ON WALL STREET, GETS THE WORLD AT HIS FEET, LOTS OF MONEY AND THEN

  • 9-11 HAPPENS. "LOOKS CAN BE DECEIVING. I AM A LOVER OF AMERICA,

  • ALTHOUGH I WAS RAISED TO FEEL VERY PAKISTANI. IT FELL ON ME TO WORK HARD FOR MY FAMILY.

  • I LEFT TO GO WEST WHERE I WAS WELCOMED WITH OPEN ARMS."

  • CHANGEZ, A SON OF AN INTELLECTUAL PAKISTANI FAMILY AND A BRILLIANT FINANCIAL ADVISOR,

  • HAS EVERYTHING GOING FOR HIM: A GREAT JOB ON WALL STREET, A BEAUTIFUL AMERICAN GIRLFRIEND,

  • CONNECTIONS. AFTER 9/11 EVERYTHING CHANGES. HE IS HECKLED AT THE AIRPORT, PROFILED AS

  • A POTENTIAL TERRORIST. HE'S PROFILED AND BASICALLY FEELS MARGINALIZED

  • AND RETURNS TO HIS COUNTRY. SO THAT'S WHAT GRABBED ME. WHAT GRABBED ME EVEN MORE IS THAT

  • THIS FILM WAS RELEASED A COUPLE OF DAYS AFTER THE MARATHON BOMBINGS.

  • AND TALKING TO MIRA NAIR, SHE'S COME OUT AS AN EMERGING SOUTH ASIAN DIRECTOR ON A GLOBAL

  • LEVEL. WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION WHEN YOU STARTED TALKING TO HER?

  • OH SHE'S VERY A VERY DYNAMIC, VERY PASSIONATE WOMAN. SHE FEELS VERY STRONGLY ABOUT GLOBAL

  • CITIZENSHIP. "LET'S MAKE A MOVIE HERE."

  • AND SHE FEELS THAT PROFILING BASED ON YOUR ETHNIC HERITAGE OR YOUR RELIGION SHOULD STOP

  • BECAUSE THAT IS NOT A WAY FOR THE WORLD TO FIND PEACE. WE NEED A BETTER FORM OF GLOBAL

  • COMMUNICATION IN ORDER TO SEEK PEACEFUL SOLUTIONS. I KIND OF CONNECTED TO YOUR INTERVIEW WITH

  • MIRA AND TO THE FILM AS WELL, BECAUSE WHEN YOU SAY A SMART, INTELLIGENT PAKISTANI, IT

  • KIND OF SOUNDS LIKE ME. BUT WHAT I DON'T AGREE WITH IN THE FILM IS I HAVE NEVER BEEN AS A

  • PAKISTANI LIKE ASKED TO BE SIDELINED OR JUST STEP ASIDE OR ANYTHING LIKE THAT. THERE'S

  • A KIND OF DRAMA IN THERE WHICH I DON'T SEE IN REAL LIFE.

  • OKAY, HERE IS A QUESTION THAT I HAVE FOR YOU. IS THIS YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCE, OR IS IT

  • AN EXPERIENCE THAT WOULD BE A MAINSTREAM EXPERIENCE? AND THAT'S WHAT YOU NEED TO FIND OUT. FROM

  • SOURCES THAT I HAVE, I KNOW HOMELAND SECURITY ROUTINELY PROFILES PEOPLE BASED ON THEIR ETHNIC

  • ORIGIN AND THEIR RELIGION. AND MAYBE SOMETIMES THEY DO IT NOT BECAUSE THEY ARE RACIST OR

  • BIASED, BUT BECAUSE THEY ARE GRAPPLING WITH FINDING A COMMON DENOMINATOR AS TO WHO COULD

  • BE THE POTENTIAL TERRORIST. THIS IS EXACTLY WHERE MIRA NAIR'S FILM STRUCK A CHORD.

  • CHANGEZ LOSES HIS GIRLFRIEND, GIVES UP HIS LUCRATIVE JOB AND RETURNS TO HIS COUNTRY TO

  • TEACH ECONOMICS AT THE UNIVERSITY OF LAHORE. HIS THEORIES CRITICIZING RAMPANT CAPITALISM

  • AND THE AMERICAN DREAM ATTRACT A FOLLOWING, AND HE BECOMES A PRIME SUSPECT IN THE KIDNAPPING

  • OF AN AMERICAN PROFESSOR. "BECAUSE SO OFTEN BOTH SIDES AND ANY SIDE

  • IN OUR LIFE IS PRESENTED AS REDUCTIONIST, AS GOOD OR BAD, OR BLACK OR WHITE. BUT THERE

  • IS A WHOLE LEVEL OF GRAY AND GRAY IS ALSO BEAUTIFUL."

  • SO IS THIS WHAT MIRA NAIR IS TRYING TO PUT OUT THERE? THAT PROFILING MIGHT END IN GETTING

  • THE WRONG GUY? YES, ABSOLUTELY THAT'S ONE THING. AND ANOTHER

  • ISSUE THAT THE FILM IS BRINGING UP, WHICH IS VERY SIGNIFICANT, IS EVEN IF YOU GET TO

  • DEVELOP RADICAL IDEAS BECAUSE OF YOUR PERSONAL EXPERIENCES, THAT DOES NOT MAKE YOU A TERRORIST.

  • AND THIS IS SOMETHING THAT ELIZABETH GOITTEIN FROM THE BRENNAN CENTER OF JUSTICE CONFIRMED.

  • "THESE PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES OF A WOULD BE TERRORIST NEEDS TO SHIFT FROM THAT TO FOCUSING ON ACTUAL

  • CRIMINAL ACTIVITY OR ACTIVITY THAT HAS INDICATORS OF POTENTIAL CRIMINALITY." "WHY DID YOU WANT

  • TO COME TO AMERICA?" "FOR FUTURE REFERENCE, JIM, IT'S CHANGIZ"

  • MIRA NAIR HOPES HER FILM WILL HELP SHED SOME OF THE MISCONCEPTIONS AND PROMOTE DIALOGUE

  • IN A GROWING MULTICULTURAL WORLD. TALKING TO MIRA NAIR, DID YOU SENSE THERE'S

  • GOING TO BE A SEQUEL OR THAT SHE'S GOING TO PURSUE STORIES LIKE THAT WHICH RESONATE WITH

  • PEOPLE AROUND THE WORLD? SHE ALREADY DOES. ALL THE STORIES MIRA NAIR

  • HAS DONE SO FAR INVOLVED MULTI RACIAL, MULTI CULTURAL RELATIONSHIPS.

  • "YES, I 'M PAKISTANI, YES, I'M MUSLIM BUT THAT'S NOT ALL I AM."

  • SHE HERSELF SAID HOW MUCH SHE IDENTIFIES WITH HER DUAL NATURE. THAT SHE LOVES AMERICA BUT

  • SHE LOVES INDIA. ACTUALLY SHE EVEN LOVES UGANDA WHERE HERE FAMILY IS FROM. SO SHE SAYS ALL

  • THESE THREE SPOTS ARE HER HOME. SHE'S A GLOBAL CITIZEN.

  • MIRA NAIR HAS QUITE THE REPERTOIRE OF FILMS. SHE DIRECTED "VANITY FAIR" - A FILM BASED

  • ON THE 19TH CENTURY BOOK BY WILLIAM THACKERAY. AND MORE RECENTLY - "AMELIA," BASED ON THE

  • LIFE OF AMELIA EARHART.

MOVING NOW FROM WASHINGTON TO HOLLYWOOD ... INDIAN-BORN FILMMAKER MIRA NAIR MAKES MOVIES ABOUT ETHNIC

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A Life Turned Upside Down by 9/11 (VOA On Assignment May 31)

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    VoiceTube posted on 2013/06/08
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