By Sujata Roashan
[Whatever merits and demerits of the controversial film, the agitation especially in Mumbai, made it more watchable.
There are reactions - some did hair-splitting, and some were totally awestruck with Shah Rukh-Kajol-Karan Johar magic. The
audiences in India and in America are different but the film seems to be doing well everywhere. The following is an attempt
to put things in their perspective with various commentaries with the hope that people will see the film and comment on what
has been presented, not what could, or should, have been ....]
name is Roashan and I am not a SRK addict. Having said that, this Thursday, I will be going to see his latest My Name is Khan
for the third time on big screen at Big Cinemas (old Naz) in Fremont. Yes, you read it right!
I first saw the film on the world premiere day with my husband and loved it. The following week, I took my daughter,
my sister in-law, her friend who's also my friend now, and her daughter in-law who's like my daughter in-law since we practically
raised her husband as our son...but that's a different story...
loved the film. My husband who had opted not to go with us as he had seen it once already with me, had also really liked the
film and Shah Rukh's acting.
This week I'm taking my friends
at work for their first Bollywood film experience though I already advised them not to expect a typical Bollywood song and
dance drama from this one. It will be interesting to see what my American friends would think of the film considering they're
all different age groups and different ethnic backgrounds. A 40-yr old African American, 60+ yr old Jewish-born Christmas
celebrating white Caucasian and a 27-yr old Chinese American along with a Hindu Indian American i.e. me, excited about a girls
What I find interesting is how so many people have
simply loved the film and others who thought it was almost a waste of time. How could that be? I started my own research on-line
of reviews of the film by film critics and common men and women like you and me who have posted their comments.
The best review I found agreeing with was on realbollywood.com. Here it is:
Questions of religious and national identity, of the sense of right and wrong,
of combating a certain isolation that comes with a behavioral disorder. But what triumphs over all the complexities unfolding
in a tumultuous post 9/11 America is Rizwan Khan and his essential goodness that tells you unwaveringly - his name is Khan
and he is not a terrorist.
Director Karan Johar is in unfamiliar
territory here. No candyfloss romance, no sweet nothings, nobody breaking into song. Just the super intelligent Rizwan, who
has Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism, his halting voice with his inability to communicate, and his many relationships
- with his mother, his brother, and yes, Mandira, and her son Sam.
over Rahul, Rizwan is here. Shah Rukh makes the transition from the eternal romantic to the intense Rizwan who finds love
and loses it some years later when his Khan identity becomes all important in a tense, suspicious America. You sit through
three hours waiting to get a glimpse of Shah Rukh through Rizwan Khan, but it doesn't happen.
If Shah Rukh lives and breathes Rizwan in what is one of his finest roles, Kajol as Mandira, the vivacious single
mother, is also good - as always. The chemistry between them if not always crackling, then heartwarming.
It's an unlikely romance, not very easy to portray. But it's dealt with a light
touch. There they are sitting on either side of the bed after their wedding with Mandira telling Rizwan, who doesn't like
to be hugged, that this is something they can't do without touching. It's a scene that could quite easily have gone wrong,
but it doesn't.
All credit to Karan Johar for that.
Like a piece of music that gradually rises to grand crescendo, ‘My Name Is
Khan' begins with Rizwan as a child with his mother - so good to see Zarina Wahab after such a long time - in a tenement in
Mumbai and ends with cheers from the US' first African American President in a crowded rally.
It's from his mother that Rizwan learns his first lessons of humanity; as the 1993 Mumbai riots rage outside, she
tells the young boy that the world is divided into two types of people - good people who do good deeds and bad people who
do bad deeds.
It is this essential humanism that carries Rizwan
through from Mumbai to San Francisco where his brother stays, then to the suburb of Banville where he moves in with Mandira
and Sam, and even when he is taken to be a terror suspect.
his ‘only best friend', is subjected to a vicious race attack because he takes on Rizwan's surname. Mandira hits back,
saying that the worst thing she could have done was marry a Khan and Rizwan is out on the roads - unable to articulate his
feelings but backpacking his way across the US to meet ‘president sahib' so he can tell him: ‘My name is Khan
and I am not a terrorist.'
It is a road journey through a troubled
post 9/11 America towards humanism and the essential goodness of the human spirit.
This is US where chanting the name
of Allah gets you into trouble, where the word terrorist and Khan in conjunction can put you behind bars. Rizwan moves from
being a terror suspect to a nationwide hero who exposes a terror mastermind. And then, the man with the mission who travels
to Wilhelmina that is literally drowning in a hurricane to supervise a heroic rescue mission.
There's Afghanistan and Iraq, Bush and Obama too. The US' first African American President is voted in and, in that
final feel good moment Rizwan meets him in front of thousands of people and his goodness is validated.
Plenty of great one liners. When he is refused entry into a presidential fundraiser
for the poor in Africa that is only for Christians, he leaves behind $500 saying: ‘This is for those who are not Christians
The music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy is superb. This
is not a film without flaws, it is at least 20 minutes too long for one and flags in the pre-interval period, but here is
one straight from the heart. It has a message, in these days of tensions over language and religion, one which needs to be
On the other hand, Anupama Chopra, consulting editor, films, NDTV writes:
My Name is Khan is on firm footing as long as director Karan Johar stays with emotional drama. He opens the film
skillfully with airport security searching Rizwan and then moves into flashback.
The scenes of Rizwan's childhood are some of the strongest in the film. Zarina Wahab returns after years to give
a lovely, nuanced performance as Rizwan's mother. But the film's delicate rhythm wobbles when we shift to San Francisco and
into love story mode.
The first shaky sign is the entry of
Navneet Nishan who seems like she has stepped in from some other, louder film.
The romance between Rizwan and Mandira is too designed and mawkish.
Kajol, struggling with a thin character, mostly veers between being hyper and cute.
Still, Karan, working with an ace technical team including cinematographer Ravi K Chandran and editor Deepa Bhatia,
crafts some beautiful images and poignant sequences but the film loses balance irreparably as it moves into political mode.
The second half scrambles madly both literally and figuratively. Rizwan, obviously
superman in another life, manages to shout down a hate-mongering Muslim doctor, have him arrested by the FBI, get arrested
himself and in a ridiculous pre-climactic sequence, save the citizens of a small town when floods hit Georgia.
Writer Shibani Bhatija squeezes in so much that by the end of two hours and forty
minutes, even if Rizwan isn't exhausted, you are.
undeniably the best thing about My Name is Khan. Shah Rukh's performance has little subtlety about it - for that watch Hugh
Dancy doing Asperger's in Adam - but it is heartfelt, endearing and more controlled than anything he's ever done before. Watch
him in a lovely scene in which Kajol accepts his proposal or how he restrains his tears so that his eyes brim but never well
I recommend that you see Khan for him. The film itself
is too uneven to give us the emotional high we were waiting for.
story line and who did what in the film is best described in Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.
My Name Is Khan, commonly referred to as MNIK is a 2010 Bollywood film directed by Karan Johar, with a screenplay
by Shibani Bathija, produced by Hiroo Yash Johar and Gauri Khan, and starring Shahrukh Khan and Kajol. It is overseen
by both Dharma Productions and Red Chillies Entertainment and will be distributed by FOX Star Entertainment, which bought
the rights for the film for the sum of INR 1 billion, thus becoming the second most expensive Bollywood film, behind Blue.
It is also the highest buyover for any Indian film, breaking Ghajini's record of INR 900 million.
Cinematography is by Ravi K. Chandran, Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy composed the film's score, choreography is by Farah Khan,
and lyrics were written by Niranjan Iyengar. Visual Effects are by Red Chillies VFX.
My Name is Khan debuted in Abu Dhabi, UAE on 10 February 2010. It released globally in theaters on 12 February
2010. It will also be screened as part of the 60th Berlin International Film Festival's Official Selection that same month.
In the months leading up to its release, the film has also been involved in some controversy related to international airport
security and Indian politics.
Upon release, the film broke box
office records for an Indian film all over the world. It grossed the highest opening weekend and opening day overseas for
a Bollywood film. It also grossed the second-highest worldwide opening weekend, behind 3 Idiots and the third-highest net
collections in the first week for a Bollywood film.
(Tanay Chheda) is a Muslim child who grew up with his brother Zakir and his mother (Zarina Wahab) in a middle class family
in the Borivali section of Mumbai. Rizwan is different from the other children and no one, including his mother, can understand
why. However, he has certain gifts, particularly a special ability to repair any machine that is broken. His difference leads
to special tutoring from a reclusive scholar and extra attention from his mother. This attention, however, leads to a heightened
level of jealousy from his brother Zakir, who eventually leaves his family for a life in the United States.
Despite this resentment, as an adult Zakir (Jimmy Shergill) sponsors Rizwan (Shahrukh
Khan) to come and live with him in San Francisco. It is at this time that Zakir's psychologist wife, Haseena (Sonya Jehan)
diagnoses Rizwan as having Asperger's syndrome, a disorder which makes it difficult for people to interact socially.
Rizwan also begins to work for Zakir as an herbal salesman and in the process he
meets a Hindu woman, Mandira and her young son, Sameer or Sam (Yuvaan Makaar), from a previous marriage. Despite Zakir's hostility
to the match, they marry and settle down in the fictional town of Banville, where both Mandira and Samir take Rizwan's last
name as their own.
They also live next door to the Garrick
family. Sam is close with their young son, Reese (Kenton Duty and Michael Arnold) while Mark (Dominic Renda) is a journalist
and Sarah (Katie A. Keane) is a friend of Mandira.
perfect existence gets disrupted, however, after the September 11 attacks on the twin towers in New York City. Mark goes to
cover the war in Afghanistan and dies there. At the same time, the Khan family begins to experience post 9-11 prejudice in
their community and Reese begins to turn against Sam as well.
afternoon, an argument between them turns into a racially motivated schoolyard fight between Sam and a number of older students.
Reese tries to stop the fight but is held back and Sam is injured so badly that he dies. A shattered Mandira blames Rizvan
for his death stating that Sam "died only because his name was Khan." She then tells Rizwan that she no longer wants
him in her life. When he asks her what he has to do to be a part of her life, she tells him that he has to tell the people
of the United States, and the President that his name is Khan and that he is not a terrorist.
Rizvan thus sets out on a journey that takes him from one US state to another (including Georgia, where he is befriended
by Mama Jenny) in order to first meet President George W. Bush and later Barack Obama. During this quest, he is detained and
later freed from the San Francisco Airport. Later, in Los Angeles, he prays in a Mosque and overhears violent rhetoric from
Faisal Rahman (Arif Zakaria). He reports this to the FBI but there is no response at that moment. Later, while waiting in
a crowd to meet President Bush and repeating again and again, "my name is Khan and I am not a terrorist," Rizwan
is arrested and placed in a prison by police who misinterpret his statement.
While in the prison he is tortured as a terrorist suspect and meets the psychiatrist Radha (Sheetal Menon) who believes
he is innocent. He is later released after a media campaign by two Indian student reporters Raj (Arjun Mathur) and Komal (Sugandha
Garg) and Bobby Ahuja (Parvin Dabas) prove his innocence by unearthing his attempts to inform the FBI about Faisal Rahman.
After his release, he returns to hurricane-hit Georgia to help
Mama Jenny and her son. His efforts attract media attention and numerous Muslims come to help as well. At the same time, Reese
confesses to Mandira and reveals the identity of the boys who beat up Sam. She informs Detective Garcia (Benny Nieves) who
has been assisting her on the case.
After they are brought to
justice, she joins Rizwan in Georgia. At the moment she arrives, Rizwan is stabbed by a follower of Faisal Rahman and is rushed
to the hospital. With Mandira's help, he survives and meets President-elect Barack Obama (Christopher B. Duncan) who tells
him: "Your name is Khan and you are not a terrorist."
are some reviews posted by viewers:
D.R.Gulati: MNIK is a sincere
cinematic attempt at erasing the supposed hatred and prejudices against followers of a particular religion post 9/11.
Feroz Khan: I have watched the movie it is simply super, SRK's performance is mind
blowing and the trio has done the magic once again on the sliver screen and the movie is all about human relationships, a
must watch movie for every individual, and, finally I conclude by saying "MY NAME IS KHAN TOOO AND I AM PROUD TO BE SHARUKH
Padma Laxmi: Anupama Chopra is always biased. I would
give the movie nothing less than 5 stars. My name is Padma Laxmi..... .. MY name is Khan!
Mrugesh: It's a nice movie. Why are you comparing it with Forrest Gump? Forrest Gump has a different theme and story.
If you do this then you will have to compare every action film with Sholay and every romantic movie with DDLJ.
My name is Nazneen Khan and I am proud to be an Indian. Nazneen Khan Abu-Dhabi.
Paras : Seriously this is the best movie of SRK's career
really. I am a big fan of SRK. No doubt about the movie SRK ki aaj tak ki best movie he.
Rajnee Goel: I am very much Pareshan after watching My Name is Khan. Nothing great in the movie. It would have been
a big flop had Sena not highlighted it by protests.
Superb movie as expected from King Khan. Will watch it again.
: Why is the flood episode being singled out and called ridiculous? Wasn't a similar sequence in 3 idiots along similar lines?
These are cinematic liberties no doubt, but just done with good intention to show the victory of the human spirit. I think
we should stop being over-critical of certain things just for the sake of it, as can be the case with so many "so-called
Anand : Average Movie. Over hyped because
of Shiv Sena controversy. SRK has done an okay job but he's no Aamir Khan for sure. Watch it only if you are a die-hard fan
Ragh : I really can't believe that this superb fantastic
movie has got such a poor review. I am totally disappointed by your review, seems it is biased...MNIK is an excellent movie
I saw in recent times, it is even better and heart-touching than 3 Idiots.
Nidhin : Good acting by both SRK and Kajol. The direction is also done neatly.. story is where the film slumps a
bit. The President- chasing is too hyper and gets boring.
Bhardwaj : Watched the movie..SRK gave a good performance but the movie didn't have anything different to offer. Go watch
the movie if you are an SRK fan or you could always keep basking in the glory of the other Khan...AAL IZ WELL!!
Kavita : I Think the review is very predictable, However brilliant Shah Rukh Khan's
movies are the Media has a habit of finding flaws in them. The comparison of this movie with Forest Gump or 3-idiots is completely
unfair. And if you actually compare the brilliance of Forest Gump even to 3 Idiots, then 3 Idiots just falls flat on its face.
So stop making comparisons, stop drawing assumptions. Just go and watch this movie because its going to touch your heart the
way no idiots can.
Shehwar : I give it a 5 not 3.
Sanaya : its an absolutely awesome movie, I think it deserves a better review.
Sunil D : MNIK touches everyone.. touches your heart. Have always respected your
review, but not anymore.
Shaan : Its a must watch,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
Kishore : The film is amazing...award winning performance by SRK.
Anudeep : MINK is really a good movie. Excellent direction by Karan Johar and the
magical pair SRK and Kajol again took the movie to the height's. I rate it * * * *.
Rafeeq Saiyed : Media should avoid to show such type of new on screen, I am sure single problem will not come. Only
media highlight these people.
Moonie : I think its a bit flawed review by someone who might have watched the movie with
cynicism and wanting to find faults. Except the Georgia incidence rest of the movie is superb especially SRK. Contrary to
Kajol's Mandira being "hyper and cute" it was exactly what it should be .Well I would like Ms Chopra to watch the
movie again, this time just to watch the movie and NOT write a review.
Shayan : The movie is blockbuster and SRK is the king of world.
Sarat : I saw the movie, first day first show. I`ll just say only one thing; SRK you are the best. You will surely
beat the record of 3 Idiots.
Aroop Datta : Let's stop comparing
it with Hollywood movies, it's high time we did that...we have an identity of our own and I am sure MNIK stands to that genre
with grace and dignity.
Chopra : Ms Anupama Chopra, I saw the
movie and just couldn't stop praising it and when I read your review of MNIK, I was shocked.