My name is Khan Film Review

Cast: Shahrukh Khan, Kajol, Jimmy Shergill, Zarina Wahab, Parvin Dabbas
Cinematography: Ravi K Chandran
Music: Shankar Ehsaan Loy
Editing: Deepa Bhatia
Story - Screenply: Shibani Bathija
Director: Karan Johar
Producer: Gauri Khan & Hiroo Johar
Release date: 12 February 2010

Rizwan Khan (Shahrukh Khan) suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome. Though an extremely gifted and intelligent guy, Rizwan appears like a dumb guy for the outsiders. He moves to the USA with his brother (Jimmy Shergill) when his mother in India dies. Rizwan joins the job of selling cosmetic products and thats where he meets the hair-stylist Mandira (Kajol) – a single mother. He falls in love with her and she is convinced with him too and they get married. Mandira’s son takes an instant liking in Rizwan. The 9/11 incident happens after their marriage and their son becomes a victim. The rest of the story is all about how Rizwan and Mandira fight their way individually through Muslim-conscious USA.

Shahrukh Khan: Being the superstar Shahrukh Khan doesn’t get an opportunity to reveal the actor within often. My Name Is Khan (MNIK) gives him a splendid opportunity to come up with an awesome performance. He lives the character of a guy who suffers from two things – Asperger’s Syndrome and Anti-muslim bias. SRK has all the chances to bag the best actor award with this role. He reminds us of Dustin Hoffman in Rainman movie.

Others: Kajol is really good and she looks very elegant and chirpy when she is paired with Shahrukh and she is excellent in her role. Zarina Wahab is exceptional as the mother of Shahrukh. Jimmy Shergill shines again as the brother. Special mention should be given to Tanay Chedda who acted as childhood Shahrukh. Parvin Dabas (Khosla Ki Ghosla fame) is impressive.

Technical departments:

Story: The basic characterization and plot is heavily borrowed from Forrest Gump. The following similarities substantiate it –

1. Like Forrest Gump, this movie too is the journey of an unusual person.
2. Forrest Gump’s mother says, "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." Khan’s mother says, “There are only two people on this earth. The good ones and the bad ones.”. Both these characters repeatedly utter this dialogue at important occasions.
3. Over a period of time, both these characters become celebrities and they are focussed heavily by the media. If the media wants to know why Forrest Gump is running, the media in this movie wants to know why Khan wants to meet the president.
4. Both these films are about differently-able man helping others and becoming a public hero.
5. Both these movies have similar narrative style (starting from their childhood).

Basic plot (spoilers ahead): The basic story of the movie is to tell that not all the people who bear Khan in their name are terrorists. In order to make this statement more effective and in order to get sympathy, the story writer made the character of SRK a differently-able one. To avoid this movie being a complete Mulsim-biased one, hero character marries a Hindu girl. What makes the entire plot intriguing is that the Hindu kid who bears Khan surname (because his Hindu mother married a Muslim guy for her second married) got killed for being a Muslim. An emotional wife tells her husband to go away and meet the president of USA to tell that Khans are not terrorists. Hero travels around, faces hardships, meets lot of people on his way and helps them out and finally meets president to convey the message. The entire story is narrated in flashback mode when hero travels to a place to meet the US president.

Story – screenplay – direction: Karan Johar who started off his career with Kuch Kuch Hota Hain has always dealt with human relationships in all his movies. He also added exotic locales and candyfloss romance in all of those movies. Over a period of time, his filmmaking has become formulaic. His latest movie My Name is Khan is different in the sense that it neither has duets nor routine commercial elements. Karan Johar tries to narrate this subject with honesty though we could see lots of influence of Hollywood influence in narrative style. The character of hero is also inconsistent – he behaves like an extremely intelligent guy some times and then behaves like a dumb guy (like Kamal Haasan in Swathi Muthyam.). This movie has several heart- touching moments. The following scenes are very good

1. The scene in which he unconditionally donates 5k for a Christian only meet.
2. SRK showing kajol a beautiful scenery.
3. SRK giving retort to USA officer after stepping out of prison.

The following scenes/aspects should have been handled better

1. The scene of kid’s death (the central incident that drives the entire story).
2. The entire hurricane episode.

Other technical departments: Cinematography by Ravi K Chandran is a visual feast. Visuals are at par with Hollywood flicks. Music by Shankar Ehsaan Loy is good. Dharma Productions which is known for commercial movies went out of their way to deliver a message oriented movie like this.

Analysis: First half of the movie is good. Second half has some boring moments as the director made this movie to drive home the global peace message against anti-Muslim bias in USA. SRK comes up with an award winning performance and director Karan Johar departs from his usual candy floss entertainers to do this sincere film. My Name is Khan has heart touching moments and movie lovers (especially women folk) should carry kerchief to watch this movie. On a whole, My Name is Khan is an honest attempt from Karan Johar to make a desi Forrest Gump in the backdrop of post-9/11 life for Muslims in USA. You may watch it.

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