Film: My Name Is Khan

I went in, desperately wanting to like My Name Is Khan. I came out with a sense of relief. That the film was over, and that I could go home and drown my brain in the mental equivalent of a mouthwash.

The first half of this film was sweet, moving. It’s got these random breezy moments that make you sit back a bit and take it all in. Usually when SRK is in any film, they give him a name that is easily forgotten or is so vague that you constantly think of the character as SRK’s role. But here – the protagonist Rizvan Khan is a bit bigger than SRK. Which is welcome. No arms-stretched-in-Chipko-Andolan poses in song sequences.

Kajol is alright, just that she comes across as so LOUD when she’s trying to play the ‘sweet woman’. It’s only when her role has shades of anger and despair that you actually enjoy her on screen. The supporting cast is really great in parts, and you don’t really miss SRK on the scene when they are around.

All this said, the second half is tedious. Not because it is political. This is a story that could have been told differently, without making supermen of mortals, and without caricaturing every white, black and brown person on the planet. (Cue: Black overweight women love to hug, insist on feeding you and are full of maternal instincts. White man very bad and seemingly incapable of seeing through propaganda.)

There are some particularly cringeworthy moments. (I shall never be able to listen to Saare Jahan Se Accha again without feeling like I should be banging my head on a hard surface.) I found myself shrinking in my seat as I cringed further at some other points. Like SRK wading into a hurricane hit area.

But more than cringeworthy, the worst crime a film can commit is that of being boring. I was bored to death in the last one hour. I knew exactly where the story was going, even though I hadn’t read any spoilers. But even predictable stories can be fascinating. And this one wasn’t. Every scene in the last hour becomes one cheesy bit after another.

Here was a story, which could have been a compelling one. Essentially you take the element of pragmatism out of a person, and make him respond to his urges in the most literal sense. This could have been a journey across the US, a road trip almost (this is beginning to sound like Borat now) – which it does try to be in some parts and revealing parts of the US usually left unexplored in Bollywood. Instead, you try and make a hero out of SRK, because the idea that you deviate from the usual formula is a bit much.

Here’s the complicated bit. A lot of us want to support the film because of the giant mess around it. Though watching NDTV’s coverage, I feel like nothing else is happening in the country, except the release of the film. I don’t like the film, but even average/ bad/ somewhat alright films have the right to be shown, and get their audience.

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7 Responses to Film: My Name Is Khan

  1. Kuppakkara Saibu says:

    Thanks buddy for what I think to be an objective review…hmm. you may have watched the film without a shiv sainik (on a shivratri day!) threatening to tear down the screen…

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  2. MultiMenon says:

    That was an honest review.Yeah,there has been much hype in for this one with the TIMES rating it a 5 even prior to its release date.I would wanna watch it anyways..

    Cheers,
    Nikhil

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  3. kavi says:

    On another note, i wonder if there was a better way of getting police protection, 24 hour national coverage and attention to a release !

    The next film thats going to come up… will sure have an air of controversy around it !

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  4. Multimenon: I think the film is worth watching for some bright sparks in the first hour. But on the whole I wish I had waited for the DVD. But I am hooked on the whole idea of watching the film as soon as it releases.

    kavi: True that. But I don’t think SRK intended that. The loss in takings for the first weekend must have hit the producers hard. But controversy helps sell.

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  5. Sumedha says:

    I felt exactly the same way when I entered the move theatre. I’d spent the last week reading about Shiv Sena and their stupidities (to put it mildly) for a research paper, and I wanted so desperately to love the movie. Plus, I was watching SRK after a loooong time, and I really like him.

    The movie disappointed. I spent the first half hoping that it would get better, and the second half making bets with my friends about what would happen next. Would Obama himself visit Khan in the hospital? Would Khan brilliant foil a terrorist plot and thus endear himself to the entire US?

    The movie was really bad, I agree. I realise how irritating SRK’s superman complex was after reading this post. The entire hurricane thing annoyed me to no end, not just because I didn’t realise that the movie was portraying Katrina, which is why there were no rescue workers on the scene. The whole imprisonment-torture thing was not done well: they didn’t make it important enough.

    And to top it all off, the only reason why Khan had to meet the President was not because he had a point, not because he had something to say or something to prove. No, it was because his wife told him to, and “Khans never break their word”. That was the cherry on top of the average cake for me.

    And it was WAY too long. It really should have ended an hour before it did.

    But I realised later: it’s okay that I didn’t like the movie. I was against the Shiv Sena, I was on SRK’s side, just by spending $11 to go see the movie. I don’t need to like it to support SRK against Shiv Sena.

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  6. Ashwin says:

    I generally avoid all the ‘khans’ movies. This one for sure will be given a miss, especially after I had the misfortune of seeing Barkha’s interview with SRK after the shiv sena standoff. My god. I dont know who is the best in melodrama – SRK or Barkha?

    If you’ve time you can read a transcript with liberal dose of my angst in my blog.

    God! There has to be a way to censor NDTV for stupifying the mass with paid PR masquerading as news.

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