The Infidel

June 4th, 2010


The Infidel

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An identity crisis comedy centred on Mahmud Nasir, successful business owner, and salt of the earth East End Muslim who discovers that he's adopted - and Jewish.

Release Year: 2010

Rating: 6.4/10 (2,898 voted)

Critic's Score: 57/100

Director: Josh Appignanesi

Stars: Omid Djalili, Richard Schiff, Archie Panjabi

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...

Yigal Naor - Arshad El-Masri (as Igal Naor)
Stewart Scudamore - Tariq
Omid Djalili - Mahmud Nasir
James Floyd - Gary Page
Archie Panjabi - Saamiya Nasir
Leah Fatania - Nabi Nasir
Stuart Antony - Drummer
Scott Walters - Delivery Guy
Mina Anwar - Muna
Amit Shah - Rashid Nasir
Soraya Radford - Uzma
Ravin J. Ganatra - Fahad (as Ravin Ganatra)
Christian Lees - Bar Mitzvah Twin Louis
Jonah Lees - Bar Mitzah Twin Sammi
Richard Schiff - Lenny Goldberg


Official Website: Official site |

Release Date: 4 June 2010

Filming Locations: London, England, UK

Opening Weekend: £135,448 (UK) (11 April 2010) (29 Screens)

Gross: $4,500,000 (Worldwide) (7 February 2012)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

Cameo: [David Baddiel] The movie's writer can be seen on the TV show, The Wright Stuff, that Mahmud watches.

[Mahmud tells Lenny his real name]
Lenny Goldberg: Solly Shimshillewitz? Why didn't they just call you "Jewe-jew-jew-jew-jew" and be done with it?

User Review

Halal/Kosher cook off

Rating: 7/10

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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