Based in a London suburb Mahmud Nasir lives with his pretty wife, Saamiya, and two children, Rashid and Nabi. His son plans to marry Uzma, the step-daughter of Egyptian-born Arshad Al-Masri, a so-called 'Hate Cleric' from Waziristan, Pakistan. Mahmud, who is not exactly a devout Muslim, he drinks alcohol, and does not pray five times, but does agree that he will appease Arshad, without whose approval the marriage cannot take place. Shortly thereafter Mahmud, while going over his recently deceased mother's documents, will find out that he was adopted, his birth parents were Jewish, and his name is actually Solly Shimshillewitz. He conceals this information from his family, and with the help of his neighbor, Leonard Goldberg, tries to understand the Jews, their religion and even locates his birth-father, who is on his death-bed in a nursing home. Mahmud does not know that Arshad has been checking into his background, has videotaped him setting fire to a Jewish cap during a protest, and ... Written by
After Mahmud sees that Lenny has parked his taxi cab on his parking cones, he begins to walk over to Lenny's house to confront him about it. On the way, he walks past a car and the camera crew is reflected in its side. See more »
I've just returned from what the organizers dubbed as "The World Premier" of 'The Infidel' at the Hammersmith Apollo, and the mere fact that the first thing on my mind is to review it should say something about this strategically mastered movie written by David Baddiel, who to my surprise can deliver an equally hilarious stand up performance.
The movie takes place in East London and it revolves around the life the Mahmud Nasir a semi-liberal Muslim family man minicab driver whose world gets disrupted by his mother's death and goes into an emotional period compounded by his son's recent engagement to a Pakistani "hate cleric's" step daughter. Mahmud uncovers his birth certificate while cleaning out his mother's stuff and eventually discovers that he is adopted and his original parents are Jewish.
As Mahmud's world swivels in a state of disarray he turns to the only Jewish person he knows, semi-alcoholic recently divorced clinically depressed Lenny (Richard Schiff from The West Wing), who takes it upon himself to teach now 'Solly Shimshillewitz' Jewishness! The two embark on a journey of "oy vey" rehearsals and 'Fiddler on the Roof' reaction sessions as Lenny shows Mahmud the difference between the various types of London Jews. Mahmud's life takes a turn for the worse when he accidentally uncovers wearing a yarmulke at a pro-Palestine rally to which he reacts and subsequently becomes blessed by the "hate cleric".
During this period Mahmud questions his identity and goes into a cathartic phase where logic prevails and he reaches a firm conclusion of who he is and what it means to be Mahmud Nasir.
This tactically mastered comedy touches on subjects regarded as taboo in the film industry and attempts to portray logical religious soundness at a time when religious righteousness is synonymous with hate. A well delivered comedy filled with laugh out loud moments entertains, educates and surprises with a performance by Omid Djalili that can only be described as "joyfully expected".
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