Saturday, February 13, 2010

My Name is Khan - Good but not the best

My Name Is Khan:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5*

Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Jimmy Shergill, Sonia Jehan

Director: Karan Johar

Suffering from Asperger’s syndrome, Rizvan Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) is detained at the San Francisco airport due to his suspicious co-passengers. We then learn that Rizvan is on journey to meet the US President. As the story unfolds, we get a peek in Rizvan’s life. He was married to Mandira (Kajol) a Hindu single mother. But post 9/11 as the way Americans started looking at Muslims changes, Mandira’s son from first marriage Sam falls victim to a racist attack. Shocked after hearing the reason for his son’s murder, Mandira blames it on Rizvan and his religion. In a fit of anger she yells at Rizvan to go away from her and only come back after telling the US President that, “My Name Is Khan and I am not a Terrorist.” Thus begins Rizvan’s epic journey to meet the US President Obama to clear his name. What encounters he has in his journey and how he finally ends up making the Americans change their outlook towards Muslims forms the rest of the film.

The film opening with an extremely powerful scene of Shah Rukh being pulled up for his suspicious behaviour and strip searched by rude security officers, sets up the tone for what is in store ahead. The first half concentrates more on the romance between Khan and Mandira and some really heartwarming moments like Rizvan taking Mandira to a place she has never been before in her city or childhood sequences of Rizvan and his mother. The second half packs in a bigger punch asthe film diversifies into severe sub plots as Khan’s journey comes closer to meeting the newly elected American President. It would spoil the fun if we reveal more of it all here. Shibani Bathija’s script is extremely mature and dialogues by her and Niranjan Iyengar are first rate and applause worthy at many places. However, the last 20 minutes or so the pace drops drastically andthe film loses its grip. But nonetheless what keeps you hooked is SRK’s act.

MNIK has been amongst the most awaited films of the year as amongst many reasons the film has been important for being one in which Karan Johar has discarded his usual candy floss treatment. Karan has succeeded in his attempt and given us a film that shall remain memorable forever forShah Rukh Khan ’s extremely endearing act. The King Khan has successfully carried out the difficult part of enacting an Autistic patient suffering from the Asperger’s syndrome. Completely getting under the skin of the character, Shah Rukh has picked up every single nuance of an Asperger’s syndrome patient without making it appeared laboured. Matching him step by step in the acting department isKajol. Coming together after over 9 years the on screen star couple proves they have no match. Kajol is nothing short of excellent in the film . Her reaction on seeing her son’s dead body will give you goose bumps. Jimmy Shergill and Sonia Jehan playing SRK’s brother and bhabhi are perfectly cast. Tanay Chedda remembered for his roles in Taare Zameen Par and Slumdog Millionaire is outstanding playing the young Rizvan. Zareena Wahab in a short part leaves a very strong impression. All the American actors are just perfect for their parts. Arif Zakaria, Sumeet Raghavan, Anuj Mathur, Parveen Dabas, Navneet Nishan and Sugandha Garg have small but significant roles and they don’t disappoint. The two boys playing Sam are very good.

Technically the film is completely on par with any ‘A grade Hollywood product’ with outstanding camerawork by Ravi K Chandran and editing by Deepa Bhatia. Shankar Ehsaan Loy’s music elevatesthe film to a completely new level. With no lip sync numbers, the songs don’t act as speed breakers but carry the story forward.

My Name Is Khan will prove to be a landmark film in the careers of Karan Johar, Shah Rukh Khan and of course Kajol. It’s a film with a strong message and is yet very entertaining at the same time. The film actually delivers more than one expected it to. Protests or no protests you will be a fool to miss this one. Go watch it!!

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