The reluctant fundamentalist-book vs. film

In this essay I reflect upon how the film “The reluctant fundamentalist” is different from the book “the reluctant fundamentalist”, and the differences in the plot that I noticed.

After watching the movie, the first big change I notice, was that the start was totally different comparing to the book. The book started with Changes approaching the American in the restaurant located in Pakistan.  However, the movie started with introducing us to a crime scene, where an american professor(Professor Rainier) was kidnapped in Lahore.

In the opening scene we also see the first glimpse of an important character, both in the book and in the film, the American. Different from the book, in the movie the American is given an identity (Bob), and the movie also let us know that he actually work for CIA, which was only indicated in the book.

Further into the movie, Changes meets Erica. In the book Changes met her at a school trip, but in the movie Changes meets her first in a park nearby his workplace, and for the second time on a party through his boss. At the party Erica tells Changes about her former and first boyfriend, and how he died from cancer, which is similar with the book. Later in the movie, after Changes and Erica have become a couple, she tells him about how she feels guilty for driving drunk with her boyfriend in the car. The movie makes Erica seem more guilty, comparing to the book, where she was completely innocent.

Professionally, Erica worked as an author in the book, and Changes told us about how he felt left behind and was never included in her work. On the other hand, in the movie Erica worked as an artist, where Changes were often included, and even a part of her work. In the book we also hear about how depressed Erica becomes, especially after 9/11, at the end she suffered so much that she was institutionalized, but later, she managed to escape from there. The most logical solution is, that she took her own life, or it seemed like it, in the way the book described the situation. While in the movie, Erica clearly struggled with depression and sorrow, but she was neither put in an institution or was suicidal.

Sept. 11 comes, bringing in its wake a surge in American patriotism and a jittery hypersensitivity about dark-skinned faces. It`s described how Changes felt that people looked different upon him after the terrible attack, where to plains were crashed into the North and South towers of the World Trade Center. Since, the attack was done by a radical Islamist terrorist group named Al-Qaeda, Changes felt that people immediately associated him with terrorists, since he came from Pakistan. After a work-trip where  Changes was delayed on the airport, he was not able to travel with the rest of his co-workers. In the book he did not explain the situation further. Unlike in the movie where he was led away by guards on the airport, into a small room where he get stripped, even though he had not done anything wrong. Changes find this highly humiliating and gets offended by the guards assumption based on only his looks. I would say that the movie set more focus on how Changes was exposed to racism, comparing to the book.

As we know, Changes worked with assessing the profitability of small companies around the world, both in the book and in the movie. In the book, he got fired for inappropriate and rebellious behavior, when he choose to let his beard grow to support Pakistan when the country may be facing a war. Nevertheless, in the movie Changes chose to quit himself, when his work no longer lived up to his values. When he went back to Pakistan, he became a lecturer in a college, where he used his position to make Pakistani students  protest against U.S.A.

Changes became more and more aggressive towards U.S.A and their patriotism both in the book and in the movie. Moving closer to the end of the book, it became a bigger question if Changes actually had become a terrorist. Also, the book was unclear if Changes was allied with the rest of the people in the restaurant, where he met the American. This question was never clarified in the book. In contrast to the movie, where we quickly understood that Changes was allied with the rest of the Pakistani people in the restaurant, but he was not a terrorist and had a non-violence policy.

The book ended when the american felt threaten and was about to pull up what most lightly was a gun, it was an open ending, and we can just imagine what happen after.  Besides, in the movie, they added an entire scene. Since in the movie, the american (Bob), is sent by CIA to talk to Changes to find out if he is involved in the kidnapping of Professor Rainier. As the tension grows between Bob, Changes and Changes allies. Bob talked to Changes about how he wanted to save the professor, and CIA wanted to send helping forces. Changes then ask Bob if it`s really worth risking thousands of lives for saving one. He was able to convince Bob to do the right thing, until Bob receives a message  by the kidnappers which includes a photo of the professor killed. In that exact moment he also witness Changes texting someone, and immediately thought that Changes played a part in the murder. He then attacked and confronted Changes with a gun, and demanded Changes to give him his phone. He forced Changes to walk out among the protesters, who tried protecting Changes. This resulted in Bob accidentally shoots one of Changes students, and get rescued by CIA. In the car CIA sent to rescue Bob, he went through Changes phone, and then saw that the only text Changes had sent, was a text to his mum saying “I`ll be home soon, safe”. He understand that he made a huge mistake, when he saw that the text on his phone was delayed and the professor had been dead for many hours.

To conclude, I find the film more exiting than the book, since I find the book in some ways confusing. Personally, I think the movie reflects the message of the book more clearly, and also gives the many characters a more important part in the story, like for example the american. Trough the film, the personalities of the different characters shines more through than in the book. We also get introduced to more characters in the movie than in the book, and I find this change more exiting. The way the plot was changed, in the beginning and in the end of the movie, it makes the movie more exciting and strengthen, with both the message and the meaning of the movie.



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