Fellow Movie Lovers
MY NAME IS KHAN
After a nine day hiatus my withdrawal symptoms raging, I paid homage to my addiction by seeing three movies in two days…….not my record but impressive, considering all the unread mail.
The first was From Paris With Love, mindlessly entertaining, if you are a John Travolta fan, which I am. You will not fall asleep or work on your “to do” list, but you would be better off contemplating the essence of Being or playing golf! (Two Stars). Followed by (I am chagrined to admit) The Wolfman. Lon Chaney Jr. started the hairy transformation in 1941 and hopefully this will be the culminating furry and ferocious metamorphosis from man to beast, starring two of Hollywood’s most capable actors, Benicio del Torro and Anthony Hopkins. Why? At the end of the day everyone needs a paycheck. (Two &1/2 Stars).
I have been fascinated by Bollywood films for over five years and have seen approximately one hundred and fifty. Netflix has satiated this hunger. My Name is Khan comes as close to eliminating the parameters between east and west as any film in recent memory. This is a courageous endeavor and my fervent wish is that it garnishes the universal audience it is so worthy of.
Except for a few scenes this movie was filmed in the United States, primarily in San Francisco, but also moves from coast to coast as our hero traverses the country to fulfill a promise he makes to his wife. The protagonist, Rizvan Khan, afflicted with Aspergers Syndrome (a cousin of autism; its victims have a lack of social skills, the fear of being touched, loud noises, rarely making eye contact. Naturally there are different degrees of Aspergers; Rizvan Khan, is highly intelligent and can function with limitations in a normal environment); comes to San Francisco where his brother employs him as a cosmetic salesman. He is a devout Muslim and the story covers fifteen years including 9/11, Katrina, the commencement of the Obama Presidency.
Rizvan Khan is played brilliantly by the major Bollywood icon, Shah Rukh Khan. If this is your first exposure to Mr. Khan you will be hard pressed to find the handsome heartthrob who can dance, sing and hypnotize any audience with exhilarating charm and chicanery; he is in his mid- forties and has made almost eighty films. But never has he had a role so challenging, demanding and pivotal to his career; he has researched and worked with those who have Aspergers Syndrome and he imbues the character with such integrity, compassion and love that Rizvan will be seared forever on our movie consciousness.
Western audiences will remember Dustin Hoffman’s powerful award winning performance in Rain Man (1988) and Hugh Dancy’s sensitive portrayal of Adam, 2009;
Shah Rukh Khan will rest comfortably in this rarefied fraternity.
The love interest in My Name is Khan is the beautiful Kajol as Mandira, the Hindu hairdresser, the flame that ignites Rizvan’s passion and devotion. They have been one of Bollywood’s most enchanting duos (Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers); this is a major deviation from the roles they have typically depicted. (See below for movies they have starred in together).
My Name is Khan tackles the controversial issues pervasive in the twenty first century, issues that we try to shun or hide from: religion, conversion, racial profiling, hatred and the potency of love. It is flawed. It is far too ambitious, melodramatic, manipulative and sensational. But God, what courage it took to bring these issues to the screen, told from the viewpoint of a physically and mentally challenged Rizvan Khan.
Shah Rukh Khan, the Brad Pitt of India was pulled over at the Newark airport last August. My Name is Khan was picketed because Mr. Khan expressed his desire that Pakistanis be allowed to play cricket on the Indian Premier League.
My Name is Khan salutes Mr. Khan’s vision and fearlessness and bequeaths the viewer the quintessential gift of hope.
Movies Starring Shah Rukh Khan & Kajol (Devgan)
Khabie Kushi Khabie Gham
Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayengle
Kuch, Kuch, Hota, Hai