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My Son the Fanatic is a 1997 British drama film directed by Udayan Prasad. It was written by Hanif Kureishi from his short story My Son the Fanatic.

My Son the Fanatic
My Son the Fanatic FilmPoster.jpeg
Directed byUdayan Prasad
Produced byChris Curling
Written byHanif Kureishi
Music byStephen Warbeck
CinematographyAlan Almond
Edited byDavid Gamble
Distributed byFeature Film
Running time
87 min.
CountryUnited Kingdom
Box office₤123,000[1]



The plot of the film revolves around Parvez (Om Puri), a Pakistani-born taxi driver and a tolerant, secular Muslim. His life takes an unexpected dark turn when his son Farid converts to fundamentalist Islam, leading to a family breakdown and social conflict.

According to Rachel Donadio, a New York Times writer and editor, the film's theme is encapsulated in a pivotal scene:

One of the most revealing insights into Britain’s recent social history comes early in “My Son the Fanatic,” Hanif Kureishi’s tender and darkly prescient 1997 film. It’s morning in an unnamed city in northern England, and Parvez, a secular Pakistani immigrant taxi driver brilliantly portrayed by Om Puri, watches Farid, his increasingly devout college-age son, sell his electric guitar. “Where is that going?” Parvez asks Farid as the buyer drives off. “You used to love making a terrible noise with these instruments!” Farid, played by Akbar Kurtha, looks at his father with irritation. “You always said there were more important things than ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ ” he says impatiently in his thick northern English accent. “You couldn’t have been more right.”[2]


  • Om Puri as Parvez: an alcoholic Pakistani taxi driver who after living in the UK for many years is still working hard to make a living in his taxi whilst others who migrated with him have become wealthy.
  • Rachel Griffiths as Bettina/Sandra: a woman who goes by the name of Bettina who does sex work and has become friends with Parvez. Her real name is Sandra.
  • Akbar Kurtha as Farid: Parvez's grown-up son who is to be engaged to the local Chief Inspector's daughter, Madeleine Fingerhut; upon discovering that his future father-in-law detests his family, he turns to Islam and is radicalised.
  • Stellan Skarsgård as Mr. Schitz: a German businessman who makes use of both Parvez's and Bettina's professional services.
  • Gopi Desai as Minoo: Parvez's wife, and mother of their son Farid.
  • Harish Patel as Fizzy Parvez's best friend, who, after borrowing a small sum of money from Parvez, made a business for himself and is quite wealthy.
  • Sarah-Jane Potts as Madeleine Fingerhut: Farid's former fiancé.
  • Geoffrey Bateman as Chief Inspector Fingerhut: Madeline's father.
  • Judi Jones as Mrs Fingerhut: Madeline's mother.
  • Rowena King as Margot




  1. ^ a b Alexander Walker, Icons in the Fire: The Rise and Fall of Practically Everyone in the British Film Industry 1984-2000, Orion Books, 2005 p278-279
  2. ^ "NYT Profile". Retrieved on August 24, 2008.

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