Feb 19, 2010 - film/tv reviews    15 Comments

Review of My Name is Khan

my-name-is-khan

Review of My Name is Khan

Gosh you guys must know by now I’ve been anticipating this film since it was a lil’ ole gleam in Karan Johar’s eye :) A one sentence blurb in some Bollywood tabloid a couple years ago that said “possibly working on a new film about 9/11 and Muslims”. Ever since then I wasn’t sure what to expect, especially as all these new Indian movies came out featuring Muslims and terrorism (and all the usual stereotypes) over and over again. But they kept saying this wasn’t a film about terrorism, that it was about love. And the way Shahrukh talked about it I knew it was special.

I read a few reviews and opinions after it came out as well and they seemed to be so varied I wasn’t sure what to think at all. Some absolutely loved it. A few said they absolutely hated it. Others said they didn’t like the second half, or they didn’t like the last 1/2 hour or whatever. So, I finally watched it. And honestly I thought it was beautiful.

It does get melodramatic at parts, a little unbelievable at times, a little or a lot Bollywood at times, but I don’t think even I could have made a better film portraying the things I felt and feel about what happened to Muslims in the context of 9/11. Some people may say this film is another pro-secular humanist triumph but it really isn’t. It’s really a film about love and faith.

Acting wise, how great was Shahrukh in this role. King Bollywood himself, and I never saw king bollywood, I only saw Rizwan Khan. His speech and physical acting was perfect. I don’t know anyone with Asperger’s Syndrome but the way he handled it was amazing. Kajol was great. Even the usually weird ‘foreigners’ in Indian films were shown as real people.

I wish this film could have been made 5 years ago, but I think it would have never been possible to make something like this. It’s taken this long to get us to this point where we can examine our past in context and give rights to what is due. And a huge amount of that with all objectivity has to be given to Muslims from whom they were taken away.

The main objective of this film is to show that people can be good or bad regardless of their religion or name. But one thing this film did which no other has done, is show Muslims as practicing people of faith. There is not that divide of good Muslims and bad Muslims ie the one’s who are good are the one’s not practicing and secular and the bad one’s are the one’s who are all religious. Finally normal views of Muslims and their beliefs. They pray, they wear Hijab, they live by the words of the Quran. They are not all terrorists. They did show some “extremists” in their own way, but no one can say that they don’t exist so I think they had to show that.

I am extremely disappointed though that this film is only being marketed to the Bollywood crowd and not as an independent film to Americans. I honestly wish more people could go out and see it. Almost 10 years from 9/11 and we finally have films like this giving me faith again in humanity. Seriously, go watch it.

***** 5 stars/5

P.S. Trailer:

*Spoilers**Spoilers**Spoilers**Spoilers**Spoilers**Spoilers**Spoilers*


Some things I loved:

-The use of Hijab in this film and when Haseena says something like it’s not a cover, it’s my existence. Wow I coulda got up and cheered. An awesome Hijabi character that was actually smart, educated, beautiful, religious and kind!

-When Rizwan just totally pwned all the Muslims in the United States by just going and praying proudly at a rest stop. How awesome.

-That one amazing shot of all the people with boxes coming to help with that music in the background *wow so gorgeous, so Bollywood

-Props to writer dude for finding nice quotes of verses of Quran and the story of Ismail.

-In the crowd when Rizwan says ‘I’m not a terrorist’ and the white guy next to him is like ‘Terrorist? What you’re a terrorist? Terrorist! Aaaaaaah!’ and everyone starts going crazy… funny but too real.

-The Indian hotel owner guy… hilarious. Did you see the sign that said “Khan was here!” haha

- Mama Jenny and the glorious south. Haha loved her character and their scenes.

- I like how in certain contexts they spoke English with a voice-over in Hindi. Finally. Always hated when they showed everyone understanding Hindi in America!

- A love story of a man with a disability marrying a divorced woman with a child. Amazing.

- Rizwan singing the Hindi version along with the We shall Overcome in the church. That was a great remix.

- The coming together of the two brothers after 9/11. Just touching and reminded me how Muslims practicing and non-practicing came together after 9/11 as well.


Some things I didn’t like:

-The way he just walked into a downtown American Mosque and they were preaching Jeehad and hate… jeez.

-The scenes in the jail could have been a little more torturous. Having Rizwan say funny lines during it didnt’ feel like it was bringing the message home. But I do understand this film isn’t meant to be a ‘Rendition’ so couldn’t really show it like that.

-Rizwan marrying a Hindu girl. Yes it’s wrong, but I give them artistic license. Don’t tell me you don’t know any Muslim guys married to non-Muslims. Uh huh.

-The movie went from normal and realistic to fantastical and epic. This change may be hard for non-Bollywood watchers to swallow. For Bollywood lovers this is part of the show :)

Lastly I’ve read some reviews where Americans were offended or just found some of the treatment he or others as Muslims received as unbelievable. For example the bullying, the airport jail scenes, or even someone said the scene where people at the candlelight vigil moved away from him reciting the Quran. They thought it was ridiculous and would never happen! Well then…let me tell you,  I was at a candlelight vigil the night after 9/11 and dressed as obviously Muslim and the same thing happened to us. All I have to say is these are not over the top. They’re a sampling. Stuff like that happens every day to us!! And YES Muslims have been killed because they are Muslims.

Anyways worth the wait in my opinion, the end. ;)

15 Comments

  • You’ve piqued my interest! I will definitely try to check it out inshaAllah!

  • A very good review, very accurate!

  • great review…can’t wait to see it!

  • Hey Shaz,

    You know how Egyptians love their Indian movies!! lol I’d totally check if it’s playing there, probably at that expensive posh mall i forget the name? Take some of the American girls with you maybe…

    Enya thanx Suman enjoy urself :)

  • excellent review

  • i wonder if someone with his condition gets any leeway in who he’s allowed to marry.

  • his acting was amazing. i loved the part when they were singing “hum hon ge kaamiyaab” and he suddenly told her to stop.

    and the best was his reaction when she said “marry me.”

  • thanx 101_rockstar

    fahad yes!! i totally forgot to put that in there… one review was like he looks away, giggles and puts his hand up awkwardly to cover his face, how can you resist such charm.. indeed how can we :) and really his honesty was endearing.

    i think asperger’s from what i read is an extremely mild form of autism it’s not easy to express feelings, deal with the real world, repeating of words and actions, extreme focusing, etc much that was expressed excellently in the film.

  • Karan and SRK release a newer verison of My Name is Khan for Non-NRI Audiences this Summer

    http://www.filmicafe.com/news_detail.php?news_id=13698

    This is very interesting. Have no idea how they could make it non-Bollywood for Americans. Take out all the Georgia flood scenes? Change his speech at the church to English dunno??

  • The trailer is INTENSE!

  • Jannah,

    I just saw the film and all I could think of after I saw it was FORREST GUMP! well of course Bollywood has always gotta copy off an American film….no offense but it’s true. The idea of the film was good but I don’t know I feel like it wasn’t executed properly. I will have to watch it again so I can figure out why LOL.

    I think it was definitely too Bollywood for American taste and I don’t know how they would change it to suit American audiences either because I feel like some of the film would be empty without it.

    What I absolutely loved about the film was the simple honesty and sincerity about SRK’s character. He kept his promises and although the idea of him going all the way to see the president may seemed a bit silly to everyone if you really think about it, why can’t he speak to the president and tell him what’s on his mind? He expressed qualities that are hard to find today…the way he saw the world was really cute and admirable !

    I like this perspective:
    http://movies.ndtv.com/movie_Review.aspx?id=479

  • Good job Jannah, your review was right on…

  • Just watched it, Found it amazing and really like verses of Quran in the middle :)

  • just forgot to add.. i admired the character of hijabi sister-in-law of srk. :) . btw i live in india ;)

  • Thanks ppls!

    zakir you registered my blogname!! ahh well