Friday, February 12, 2010

Film Review: MY NAME IS KHAN (from the epiglottis)

Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Jimmy Shergill, Zarina Wahab
Director: Karan Johar

Before I talk about the film, I have to mention that we went to Cinemax Sion where there was a lot of security against the Shiv Sena that had threatened to stop the screening of MNIK. And here I thought we were living in one of the hugest democracies in the world! But luckily for us, there was no problem there. If this was a promotion gimmick, they could not have done it better.

The Story
: Rizwan Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome. This particular problem is named after Dr. Hans Asperger who first noticed it in children. It does not mean that the one suffering from this is not intelligent. The person takes everything at face value. He cannot understand it when people say one thing while meaning another. He understands only straightforward talk.

At the beginning of the movie, Rizwan is on his way to meet the President of the USA. He wants to tell him, “My name is Khan and I am not a terrorist”. The film goes in flashback to show us why Rizwan feels the urge to do so.

Rizwan is brought up by a loving mother who does not understand what his problem is but encourages him to do his best in everything. The most important lesson she teaches him is that there are only two types of people – the good and the bad. Rizwan is privately tutored as the other kids treat him badly at school and learns to repair all electronic stuff. He goes to settle with his brother (Jimmy Shergill) in California after their mother’s death.

He meets Mandira (Kajol), the divorced single parent of Sameer. Rizwan woos her in his own style and they get married despite her being a Hindu. Soon after, the 9/11 attack happens and the safety of all Muslims is threatened. The film goes on to show how this affects the life of the Khan family and why Rizwan sets out to meet the US President.

My perception: Shah Rukh Khan has yet again proved that he is the King Khan. He is simply amazing in his role as Rizwan and it is his movie throughout. Considering that the role is quite different from the romantic or negative ones that we have seen SRK in, this was just fabulously portrayed. I was not too impressed with the promos that I saw but I am glad that I went to see the film. There is just nobody in this generation of actors who could have done better in this role.

Kajol as Mandira and Rizwan’s wife is just perfect and no other actress could have done the role better than she. The scene where she cries her heart out over her only child’s death breaks your heart. Kajol also looks gorgeous in her part as a beautician, divorced single parent.

The film has been made very well and thankfully without the usual over-the-top extravagances that one gets to expect from Karan Johar.

It did make me wonder why there is should be one more movie on the 9/11 attacks nine years after and whether this will create more ill-will and negativity. But the subject has been approached from a totally different angle that is a must to the public. It has beautifully shown the angle of those innocents who bear the brunt of the actions of a few fanatics.

What was kind of irritating was that some of the dialogues have been jabardasti converted to Hindi while the film is in Hinglish. While Rizwan speaks a lot of English, his speech at the church in Wilhelmina, Georgia, in front of an Afro-American audience is in Hindi or that’s how it has been shown to the viewers. And then, Mandira’s best American friend Sara leaves her a voice message in pure Hindi. I fail to understand how these things could have escaped the notice of both the director and the editor. And just for this I will need to give four stars instead of five for a super film.

To see or not to see: Do not miss it. It is most definitely worth the time and money spent.
Rating: ****Snazzy

* Silly
** Shaky
*** Smart
**** Snazzy
***** Super


  1. Awesome review.. Thanks for this..:)


  2. Sundari... sara does not leave a voice message in hindi! if u were to watch the scene carefully,, she speaks in english, but her voice is faded into the back grd where a hindi translation of her message is played for the "hindi" audience.. i do agree though that srk's hindi speech was quite dumb at the church!!

    another point i wud like to mention is that mandira's kid Sam is born/raised in the US and yet speaks english with such a bad indian dumb is that! karan johar shd hv paid more attention to details..

    2ndly, why wud Sam be asked to take srk's surname if he is from kajol's 1st marriage and that too not even of the same religious beliefs as srk? it is also illogical coz no state law in the US or any where in the world is gonna legalize the adoption of a boy by a person affected by autism or asperger's syndrome, etc..

    however, i think the issue is greater than just the surname here... he could have still samir rathod (kajol's last name) and still been the victim of a racist attack... in my opinion... racism goes beyond a name and has got to do more with the color of one's skin...

    thx for the write up though, over all enjoyed reading it and also watching the movie!


  3. The "Hinglish" in the movie is not really "Hinglish". It's voice over. It's like a news channel translating what is said in regional language. That's perfectly fine.

    But, there are graver problems. KJo is good at making NRI love stories. And i have loved those films. Serious subjects like that of MNIK should be left to other directors like Shyam Benegal.

  4. yeah, this is one movie i want to watch! thanks for the review, will check out when i get the ticket!

  5. very true was an xcellent movie..

  6. sun saw the movie too good
    loved it. La dont miss it

  7. Hi i just saw this film this morning. I have to say i agree with people about the accent etc etc and some major lack of attention in the film although i still really liked it cuz it has Srk in it. Rizwans younger brother isnt he from mohabbatein film? is his wife english/american or indian but very fair skiined? she looked almost white, lady was called Hasina is the film btw.