Riz Ahmed stars in the Mirabai-Cine Mosaic production, which starts shooting this week.

The Doha Film Institute has come on board as a financier for Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist.

The film started shooting this week on location in Atlanta, New York, Lahore, Delhi and Istanbul for production companies Mirabai Films and Cine Mosaic.

Nair’s longtime collaborator Lydia Dean Pilcher produces.

Riz Ahmed (Four Lions, Trishna) stars as Changez, a young Pakistani man who is a successful businessman on Wall Street, but whose outlook and attitude changes after September 11th. The story is adapted by Bill Wheeler, Mohsin Hamid, and Ami Boghani from Mohsin Hamid’s bestselling novel of the same name.

The cast also features Kate Hudson, Liev Schreiber, Kiefer Sutherland, Nelsan Ellis, Martin Donovan, Om Puri, Shabana Azmi, Haluk Bilginer, and Meesha Shafi.

Her team includes cinematographer Declan Quinn, costume designer Arjun Bhasin, production designer Michael Carlin, and editor Shimit Amin. Doha will send a regional team (as interns, production staff or on-screen talent) to work on the production.

This is DFI’s second financial involvement in a feature, following Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Black Gold, which will world premiere in Doha later this month.

Nair said: “My father lived in Lahore before the partition of India and Pakistan. I am inspired to make a contemporary film about Pakistan, especially in this day and age when the perceived schism between Islamists and the Western World becomes more pronounced each day. In Doha Film Institute, I have a like-minded partner who shares a common belief in this story and its ability to affect change, having supported this project from the very beginning. In this day and age to have creative freedom to make a film that is political, timely and multi-layered is a gift.  

Executive Director of DFI, Amanda Palmer, added: “Mira Nair is one of the most recognised filmmakers working today, someone who Qatar has long admired for her talent and commitment to making films that tackle strong subject matters with enduring humanity. And with the tenth anniversary year of September 11, the importance of this story cannot be understated. From the moment DFI was introduced to this script, we have believed in the strength of its story and the profound and important message that it conveys, and we’re thrilled to have a stellar cast of Kate Hudson, Kiefer Sutherland, Liev Schreiber and Riz Ahmed, on board with us to help take it to wider audiences. At the very core of DFI’s film financing mandate is to contribute to World Cinema and ensure that great stories continue to be told.”

Nair’s past films include Monsoon Wedding, Salaam Bombay!, The Namesake, and most recently Amelia (which opened the first Doha Tribeca Film Festival in 2009).