It's been a while since we've heard from Mira Nair. The celebrated director behind "Salaam Bombay!," "Monsoon Wedding" and "The Namesake" flopped pretty hard in 2009 with the tepid prestige pic "Amelia" and she's been laying low since. Or so we thought. She's not only already set the cast for her next film, it's already in front of cameras.

A pretty solid group led by Riz Ahmed, Kate Hudson, Liev Schreiber and Kiefer Sutherland will star in "The Reluctant Fundamentalist" and it sounds like an ambitious tale. Based on the novel by Mohsin Hamid, with shooting to take place in Atlanta, New York, Lahore, Delhi and Istanbul, the story will follow Changez, a young Pakistani man (Ahmed) chasing working on Wall Street whose life is forever changed by the events of 9/11 causing "a seismic shift in his own attitude, unearthing allegiances more fundamental than money, power, and maybe even love." Here's the full book synopsis from Amazon:

At a café table in Lahore, a bearded Pakistani man converses with an uneasy American stranger. As dusk deepens to night, he begins the tale that has brought them to this fateful meeting . . .

Changez is living an immigrant’s dream of America. At the top of his class at Princeton, he is snapped up by the elite "valuation" firm of Underwood Samson. He thrives on the energy of New York, and his infatuation with elegant, beautiful Erica promises entry into Manhattan society at the same exalted level once occupied by his own family back in Lahore.

But in the wake of September 11, Changez finds his position in his adopted city suddenly overturned, and his budding relationship with Erica eclipsed by the reawakened ghosts of her past. And Changez’s own identity is in seismic shift as well, unearthing allegiances more fundamental than money, power, and maybe even love.

There's no word yet on the roles of the other actors, but we presume it's a safe bet that Hudson will play Erica, the object of affection in the story. No word yet on a release date, but the indie production will likely turn up on the festival circuit next year. Back by the Doha Film Institute, we figure it'll aim for a premiere at the Doha Tribeca Film Festival in 2012 following the path of the Antonio Banderas starrer "Black Gold," which DFI backed and will bow there this year. Nair could've come back with something easy, but we like that she's taking another big swing and we'll be eager to see this one come together. [THR]