Friday, February 12

My Name Is Khan

my-name-is-khan2Movie - My Name is Khan (Hindi)
Director - Karan Johar
Producers - Hiroo Yash Johar, Gauri Khan
Cast - Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Zarina Wahab, Jimmy Sheirgill, Parvin Dabbas, Sonya Jehan, Anuj Mathur, Sugandha Garg, Vinay Pathak, Tanay Chheda
Music - Shankar/Ehsaan/Loy
Cinematography - Ravi K Chandran ISC
Editing - Deepa Bhatia
Production Designer - Sharmishtha Roy
Story, Screenplay - Shibani Bhatija
Dialogues - Shibani Bhatija, Niranjan Iyengar
Release Date - 12th February 2010.

'My Name is Khan and I am not a terrorist!'This is the simple point that the leading man of this movie wants to make unlike all the recent movies with the 9/11 incident as its backdrop. My Name is Khan is not about religion, not about terrorism and definitely not about autism. It is about just one simple thing - love, which the movie's director has specialized in, over the years. But this time around, he chooses a much more serious backdrop to tell yet another superb love story. And as the end product, we get a movie which is compelling, spirited, touching and uplifting. It makes us laugh, it makes our eyes moist, it makes us smile, and most importantly, it lifts our spirits. And in the process, it also touches upon a lot of issues with clear cut sensibility.

The movie tells the story of Rizwan Khan (Shahrukh Khan), who is on a journey to meet the President of the United States of America, to prove that he is not a terrorist. Rizwan suffers from Asperger's syndrome, a different form of autism, which makes him different from all of us. He cannot display his emotions like normal people, he has problems adjusting with new people, new places and hates loud noises and the colour yellow. His style of speech is also very different from others and he is very particular about the pronounciation of his name. Other than that, he's a very intelligent person, who can 'repair almost anything', in his own words. Raised by a loving Ammi (Zarina Wahab) in India, he is brought to USA by his younger brother Zakir (Jimmy Sheirgill) after his mother's death. While working for his brother's company, Rizwan meets Mandira (Kajol), a Hindu single mother who works in a salon. Rizwan is immediately smitten by her and after some beautiful SRK-Kajol magic shot wonderfully by Karan, they get married and move into a new house. Shortly after that, 9/11 occurs and their lives were never the same again. They begin to be subjected to racial discrimination and religious intolerance and one such incident turns into a nightmarish tragedy for the Khan family which changed their lives forever. The relationship between Rizwan and Mandira breaks and Mandira asks him to leave and not come back until he proves to the country and its people that all Muslims are not terrorists. My Name is Khan tells the story of Rizwan's journey that follows.

mynameiskhanshahrukhkhaze3Karan Johar has always been branded as a candyfloss filmmaker who makes either mushy romantic movies or emotional family dramas/tearjerkers. And he has been exceptionally good with that brand of cinema. He tried to tread a different path with Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna, but he wasnt very successful in creating a good film. And when I heard that he is taking up the subject of terrorism and Indians post 9/11, I seriously had zero expectations. In spite of the return of THE BEST on-screen jodi ever, Shahrukh and Kajol, I wasnt very interested in this movie, as I was already fed up of movies based on this theme after New York and Kurbaan and the likes. I wanted to see Shahrukh and Kajol together in a kind of movie that Karan Johar was famous for earlier, not a serious movie on terrorism. But thankfully, the director proved that I was completely wrong, through this amazing film. He has used terrorism, Islam, etc. just as backdrops to tell the beautiful love story of Rizwan and Mandira. And there is no better person other than him, to narrate love stories in Hindi Cinema. Karan has worked only as a director for the first time and has stayed away from the writing department. Shibani Bhatija has written the story and screenplay for the film. Karan has done away with his usual designer clothes, characters living with a grand lifestyle and of course, song and dance. Rizwan in this movie, comes from a slum in Mumbai, not from a palatial house where he can come down in choppers and all that. And the restraint is there in almost all the aspects of the movie. There is not so much melodrama, no bright colours (since our protagonist hates them) and absolutely no overacting. Karan narrates the story with simplicity and warmth, which makes it completely different from all his previous outings, but he still does all this by staying within the conventional Hindi film format, with a great happy-ending where our hero triumphs in the end. We all know that the second half and the climax of the movie is very far-fetched, but Karan narrates it in such a way that it makes us happy and makes us want to believe that it is all true. Very few filmmakers can do that. Nobody can dare to call him a candyfloss filmmaker from now on. He has given one of the most mature films of recent times.

mnik1Shahrukh Khan surprises us each time we write him off. The actor is famous for his superstardom rather than his acting skills. But once in a while, he gives some really outstanding performances which totally takes us by surprise. He has done that earlier withKabhi Haan Kabhi Naa (which was before he became a superstar), Dil Se, Hey Ram, Swades and Chak De India before. But My Name is Khan can easily be called his career-best performance. In a character who is pretty obviously inspired from Forrest Gump, Shahrukh shines and brings a new-found maturity to his performance. His body language, different style of speech and above all, facial expressions are truly wonderful. The role could have easily gone overboard with lots of hamming, but thankfully, Shahrukh gives a nuanced and restrained performance throughout the film. His character is lovable, endearing and inspiring. The award organizers can already reserve all the Best Actor trophies for next year for this gem of a performance. Kajol, back after a short gap, is absolutely stunning. She looks gorgeous and matches Shahrukh in every frame with her acting. And the chemistry, OMG!! From the second the two of them come together on screen, the movie just takes off to a completely different level. I was smiling non-stop from the scene where Shahrukh meets Kajol, till the 9/11 incident because the romance between them was so beautiful and charming and one cannot help but fall in love with their on-screen chemistry. 9 years after their last movie together, they still have crackling chemistry and can give all the current hot jodis a run for their money. Zarina Wahab is lovely in a cameo. Jimmy Sheirgill gets no scope to perform and does a good job in the few scenes given to him. Sonya Jehan is very good. Anuj Mathur and Sugandha Garg, 2 young talents we discovered recently through Luck By Chance and Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na respectively, are cast as media students who help Rizwan in getting to his goal. They do a great job together. Parvin Dabbas as the news reporter is impressive. Vinay Pathak in a short comic role is not very effective. Tanay Chheda who played the younger version of Rizwan is excellent. The child who played Sameer and all the other American artistes were adequate.

Unlike the recent movies which were based on the same issue, none of the characters in this movie are terrorists. The mediocre New York and the terrible Kurbaan had protagonists who wanted to get back at the people of United States because of the discrimination and violence that they faced. But our man Rizwan stands against all that and proves that love and humanity can change everything through his deeds in this movie. Even though Karan takes a lot of time in establishing this in the second half, it is all worth it. The climax, treated in a very filmy fashion, says that Rizwan achieved through love and humanity what many others could not achieve through grief and hatred. The movie just tries to say two simple things - 'There are just two kinds of people in the world - good people and bad people.' And that all Muslims are not terrorists. The movie is sure to please all kinds of crowds and have them cheering for many of the smart dialogues written by Shibani and Niranjan Iyengar.

Music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy complements the film perfectly. Going away from the brand of music which is usually associated with Karan Johar films, S-E-L has composed songs with an obvious sufi influence in almost all the songs. 'Tere Naina' is beautiful and shows the growth of the relationship between SRK and Kajol. 'Noor-E-Khuda' is the best track in the movie and is by all means, an uplifting song that lifts your spirits. The visualization is brilliant as well. Cinematography by Ravi K Chandran is spectacular. He gives the dark and grumpy feel to the slums in Mumbai and shoots San Fransisco and all the other American cities in all their glory during Rizwan's journey. This movie would certainly feature among the celebrated cinematographer's best works. Editing by Deepa Bhatia was also very impressive.

My Name is Khan is already up there as the best work of Karan Johar, Shah Rukh and Kajol till date. Filmmakers like Karan Johar attempting movies like this is certainly a great sign and now, even our mainstream Bollywood cinema is going through a process of change. Even the biggest filmmakers who are known to stick to their favourite formulas have started experimenting and getting fruitful results. The entire team can be proud that they have created a landmark movie in Hindi Cinema, where the biggest director and the biggest star in the country have taken a great step forward by making a movie like this. My Name is Khan deserves to be watched. The protests and controversies be damned!!! Do not miss it at any cost. Must-Watch!!!

Rating - 4/5

1 comment:

  1. I have seen better films on the same subject. This one is severely over hyped!