My Name Is Khan
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58 of 60 people found the following review helpful
on February 19, 2010
Humungous expectations have preceded this movie and stars one of the biggest stars of the Indian Film Industry Shahrukh Khan who has thus far given two flops i.e. Billu Barber and Dulha Mil Gaya, although they were not considered to be noteworthy to begin with.
Karan Johar who began his career with Kuch Kuch Hota Hai has started to venture in to serious cinema territory with Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna has also tried to maintain this stance with his production house producing diverse fares such as Dostana and Wake up Sid.
Even before the release this movie was in the hot water with the Shiv Sena, a right wing party prevented its release because of statements made by Shahrukh about some Pakistani cricket players.
The foray of Fox Search Light pictures in Bollywood with the payment of an obscene amount of rupees for the rights, they hope to have a successful launch where Sony stumbled with Saawariya.
How does this all bode with MNIK?
MNIK is the story of Rizvaan Khan who suffers from Aspergers and has the inability to deal with social situations and interactions. He migrates to America after his brother sponsors him and starts working as a cosmetics salesman. He meets Kajol, a single mother who works in a salon and falls in love. His brother protests his decision to marry her but they do and start a small business together. Their domestic bliss is interrupted until 9/11. Life takes a tragic turn and Mandira accuses Rizvan and his faith for the tragedy. They separate and Rizvaan embarks on a journey that will bring back Mandira and clear conceptions about his name and religion.
The movie showcases the finest talents India has to offer and Shahrukh delivers his best performance to date in recent years after Chak De. Any doubts that one had about his acting ability are permanently erased. Acting as a person with Autism, he is simply superb and has all the gestures and mannerisms to a T, I know this because I work with Autistic children. His acting makes you smile, watch the scene when Kajol asks him to marry him or the scene when he is interrogated at the airport. In fact in every scene there is a nuance that deserves a second viewing. Hopefully we will be able to see more of Rizvaan and less of Raj in the future.I cannot wait for the DVD to see the brilliant scenes individually.
Kajol is simply superb, and makes a grand re entry. She plays the role of the supporting wife, and devasted mother with deftness. The chemistry of Shahrukh and Kajol is simply electric.
Karan Johar's direction and Shibhani Bhatija's script is marvelous. Ravi Chandrans cinematography captures the American landscape remarkably well. Shankar - Ehsaan and Loy have complemented the movie with great music. My personal favorites are Sajdaa and Noor E Khuda. The only drawback that I can find would be Deepa Bhatia's editing, the second half could have been a little shorter and less preachy because it attempts to make Rizvaan in to a some sort of an icon.
On the whole, My name is Khan is a great movie. I give it four stars because in my opinion the first half deserves 5 stars while the second half deserves 3 because things get a bit lengthy. Watch this movie now. Four stars 12/18/10
Post Script: If you have seen the movie and found it too long, the American version is being readied for release and it is supposedly about 35 minutes shorter. Dharma Productions have recruited the services of Alan Edward Bell, director of 500 Days of Summer and will be released on the 7th of May with subtitles and voiceovers in English.
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48 of 51 people found the following review helpful
on June 2, 2010
I'd been wanting to see this or a while and only managed to get the chance tonight. I was expecting a lot, as the trailer made it seem inspirational, and recommendations from friends only enforced that expectation. I have to say that not only were my expectations met, but they were surpassed. It is a truly beautiful film in every possible way. The story it has to tell, the way it is shot, the actors and their characters, the overall feel of the film is just absolutely stunning. I was taken on a rollercoaster ride of emotion as one moment I would be laughing my head off, and the next I'd be literally in tears. This film is not just here to entertain and make money (although I'm hoping it does a lot of both), but it sends out a very important and poignant message about the image of Islam in the world since the shocking and terrible events of 9/11. Not just Islam, but it sends out a message about all religion with the use of a very simple statement; "Good people who do good deeds. Bad People who do bad. There is no other difference". Such a strong message to send and it says something so simple. We're all human and regardless of the religion we live by or the culture we have, our deeds are what make us good or bad people and not those labels applied by those other parts of our lives.

The story follows the journey of Rizwan Khan (Shah Rukh Khan), a Muslim man with Asperger's Syndrome as he writes a letter to his wife Mandira (Kajol) while he is on a journey to give the President of the United States a message; "My Name Is Khan, and I am not a Terrorist". Through this letter he is writing, we come to learn about the emotions he truly feels and can't express when speaking due to his condition. We learn about his upbringing with his brother Zakir and his Mother in Mumbai, his arrival in America to work with his brother and his eventual falling in love with the woman who would be his wife, Mandira. Rizwan achieves the impossible. He has made a happy life for himself in America and kept a promise he made to his Ammi. This happiness is not to last, however, as the tragedy of 9/11 occurs turning Riwan and Mandira's life upside down in very frightening and tragic ways. The stereotyping of the Muslim terrorist begins to make its mark on the couple and put a strain on their relationship but, one day things hit rock bottom and their son, Sameer (Yuvaan Makaar) is killed in a racially motivated attack. This is the final straw and the relationship breaks apart and Rizwan is told to leave and in the heat of the moment, only to return when he has given the message to the US President.

Out of my little description, I've missed out so much. There's a lot to take in from this film and something that you will enjoy as the film runs. Shah Rukh Khan deserves a very prestigious western award for his role in this film. Possibly even going as high up as an Oscar (although I'm sure there's some rule that would prevent that from ever happening) as his performance is magnificent and he is truly deserving of wider recognition in the western world. He steals the show as the personality and mannerisms of the character are maintained beautifully throughout, from the twitching of the neck to simply the way he speaks. There are times when his traits are hilarious, and others when they are frankly annoying. But you never lose sight of the genuine and caring nature of this character and you become adoring of his flaws as they simply vale what is a very sweet personality.

This, in a sense, gives you more of a respectful understanding of the condition and how difficult it may be to cope with, especially in social circumstances, when you want to say something, but simply cannot express it the way you want. The message of everyone being simply being defined as being part of one of two groups, good or bad people, is one that I truly admire and taking on the topic of religion during such a raw and emotional time, and offering it from the perspective of an Asian family is a very brave and meaningful move.

A beautiful film with a beautiful message, and by far the best film I've ever had the pleasure of watching.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on August 24, 2010
*******Contains Spoilers*******
My Name is Khan is clearly one of the best films I've seen this year. Period. The performances by Shahrukh Khan and Kajol are stellar and if there is any justice the film should at least receive an Oscar nod as Best Foreign Film.

But I want to touch upon the notion that several reviewers have mentioned that the scenes in Georgia were unnecessary. I disagree. Those scenes were there to emphasize that Rizwan completely adhered to the lesson that his mother taught him that there were only two kinds of people in the world; good and bad. To the point of setting his own personal journey aside, he felt to need to help "good" people that were in trouble. How could we capture that notion any better than having him come to the aid of another group of people that were be subjected to the discrimination that he was feeling?

Is some of it over the top and/or unrealistic? No more than the action film characters that survive exploding cars and jumps from rooftops with little or no harm to their bodies. It's a movie, people.

All films paint certain characters with broad strokes to move the story along. Most of those stereotypical characters are based on some exaggeration of the truth. I am an African American woman who like Mama Jenny is a "little fat". I was not offended by anything in the movie at all. She was portrayed as a caring and warm person. And anyone that thinks that areas like that don't exist in American anymore have not traveled off of the main roads. People are forgetting that the main character has Asperger's. His description of Joel and his hair is something an autistic person may say. My nephew is autistic. He is very literal with observations. He doesn't think about the political correctness of his statement before he speaks. But again, it is a movie, people.

My only complaint would be the one I have with all Hindi movies that portray Americans. I can always tell that they are British actors. There were two actors I immediately recognized from US TV shows; Tonya Lee Williams as the African American newscaster and Christopher B. Duncan as President Obama. But Tonya is actually British too. The actress playing Mama Jenny, Jennifer Echols, has made many appearances on TV; Dexter, ER, The Shield, Nip/Tuck, My Name is Earl, etc. And the kid playing Joel, Adrian Kali Turner, has been on Chuck, Numb3rs, Flashforward and iCarly. So, it looks like they went with American actors for the most of the African American characters at least.

My minor complaint aside, this film is well worth the time spent. Great job by everyone involved. Great message if you are willing to listen.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2011
It's not subtle. A 13 year old can appreciate the film's black and white morality just fine. Nor is it particularly realistic. Instead, it reminds me of Capra's classics that some have derided as too "Capra-corny": It's a Wonderful Life, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, Mr. Deeds Goes to Town, etc.

But in spite of these drawbacks, it may end up being the most life-changing movie I've seen in decades. I haven't known what to do, or even what to say to a couple of friends who have just lost their teenage child. What can you say when their grief is so deep? After seeing this, I may get them a copy of this movie, since it handles such monumental losses with a perfect touch.

I'm a Christian, and I've had many direct experiences of Christ's power and love. But like many Christians, my faith has grown a little stale. I sense that I'm no longer the Christian I once was, especially when I look at my actions. To paraphrase Sister Helen Prejean, "I discover what I REALLY believe by carefully observing what I actually do."

Nobody is really as saintly as Khan is in this movie. Still, I was convicted by what God was trying to tell me through this movie: that He'd be happier with me if I were a Muslim, as long as I were that kind of Muslim, than He is now pleased with me as a Christian. What a wake up call!

Realistically, there are no good people or bad people, as even the worst people have plenty of good in them, and even the most saintly are deeply flawed. But even if the film's morality is more appropriate for children, it is still very helpful to me.

I'm no racist, but I still struggle against my human tendencies toward racism, xenophobia, and other forms of prejudice. Now I have this film to help me in my struggle. Whenever I start thinking, "All women...", or "All Japanese...", etc., then all I have to do is to remember the lesson of the film -- that good people and bad people are found in ALL groups.

We Christians ought to be shining examples to inspire the world. Instead, it's secular movies like Pay It Forward and secular books like Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace . . . One School at a Time that shine light into the darkness. If we ever hope that the rest of the world will be inspired by our Christian lives, if we ever hope that the rest of the world will learn from us, then we must first humble ourselves and be willing to listen to them and learn from them.

I am a little surprised (yet pleasantly surprised) that it's taken a pro-Muslim movie to show me how to be a better Christian.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on October 4, 2010
Whatever else is in the movie, THIS IS A LOVE STORY. Anyone who doesn't realize that has missed the entire point. A man living in turbulent times and circumstances, afflicted with a difficult handicap, goes to extraordinary lengths for the woman he cannot stop loving. All the rest is background, albeit entertaining background.

While I found the different point of view (that of Muslims and Hindus in America) interesting and enlightening, no one should take the political and/or social aspects of this movie seriously other than to view them as educational. It's simply part of the setting. That's why no one attempted to DO them very seriously...because they were background to the plot, they were not the plot itself. This is not a failed front for a social/political documentary. It's an extraordinarily successful, beautiful, and sensitive love story.

Ironically, though the movie is about Muslims and Hindus and not a mention is made of the Christian religion in the entire film (other than to show a couple of non-religious scenes in a church), there is a powerful Christian message (probably common to most religions): that love heals and hatred destroys, and that character and moral courage (not bravado) are what make real men.

It's sad that no one has thought to praise the remarkable performance of Shahrukh Khan, who portrays a man afflicted with Aspberger's Syndrome, a high-functioning form of autism. Khan is at a disadvantage: Had Dustin Hoffman never done Rainman, nor Leonardo DiCaprio given us his amazing performance in What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Khan's portrayal of Risvan Khan might have been given the considerable respect it deserves. As it is, in my view he still excels the others in one respect: he manages to infuse charm, high intelligence, and even sexiness into his very convincing portrayal of a disability generally not thought of as very sexy.

The charm and comedy of this movie are irresistible. The chemistry between the leading actors is legendary in India (they've made at least 5 movies together). The directing is flawless, the acting top-rate, the photography excellent, the music lively and compelling. One note about the music: it's ethnic (hence Indian), which means it's not what American audiences are used to hearing. But if you can get past the culture shock, you may do as I did and end up loving it enough to buy the CD.

There is enough action to keep even my husband, who loves nothing more than to see buildings blowing up, interested. When asked if there are very many subtitles to read, I told my daughter there were some, but not enough to distract from the movie. Only when I watched it a second time did I realize there are subtitles throughout most of it (I was too absorbed to even realize I was reading subtitles most of the time. Hint: use the Pause button as needed). I was riveted throughout the entire movie and never found a single moment boring. In fact, I was surprised at how fast the time had gone. And when the movie was over, even my action-loving husband said, "I'm not sure, but that may be the best movie I've ever seen."

For parents: This movie does not contain nudity, sex scenes (although the word "sex" is mentioned), nor does it contain anything crude. There is some violence, but it's not pervasive, nor is it graphic. And here's a wonderfully refreshing twist: the couple actually marries before sleeping together! My husband did think he heard the F word in one scene, but I've watched the movie twice and didn't hear it; so if it's in there, it's not obvious.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on February 17, 2010
This was an unbelievable movie. Incredible performances by both Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol. Karan Johar's work is brilliant, as usual. The soundtrack was great, the cinematography was great, and the supporting actors were excellent. Pure genius. Just remember to have a Kleenex handy when you watch it.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on June 5, 2010
I echo the other reviews. This is a GREAT movie. Shahrukh Khan brilliantly portrays a man with Asperger's/autism. The overall message of the film is so beautiful. While parts are simplisticly done, the message stays true. Unfortunately, the negative in this film is the entire Mama Jenny subplot. I'm hoping that the Indian filmmakers just did not realize how incredibly racist the whole segment is. From a child that almost perfectly mimics "Buckwheat" from Our Gang, to exaggerated southern African-American dialect, it just left a huge bad taste in my mouth. There are a hundred other ways they could have told the story without using racist stereotypes. In this day and age, SOMEONE should have alerted the filmmakers during production how WRONG that whole sub-plot was, and how distasteful it would be to American audiences. Unfortunately, it may turn away many who need to hear the message of the film most. Having said all that, however, SRK's acting (astonishing) and the fantastic message of the film make this a film worth seeing, and owning!
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23 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on December 17, 2010
Rating: PG-13

Overview:

This film is about a gentleman named: Rizwan Khan (Shahrukh Khan). He is a muslim from the Borivali area of Mumbai, India. He suffers from Asperger's syndrome, a form of high-functioning autism. This syndrome affects the way that he relates to the world and those around him. On the positive side, he can solve word puzzles and remember large portions of texts, word for word easily.

On the negative side, this syndrome causes him to get confused easily and he repeats certain phases continually, which can cause persons to misunderstand him. He regularly makes it a point to make sure that his surname is pronounced correctly.
Eventually he meets a single hindu mother and manages to woo her to marry him.

Plot Points:

This film attempts to probe into the difficulties experienced by minorities, here are the different minority areas that are covered:

- persons with disabilities
- immigrant groups
- religious groups
- mixed religions in marriage
- racial minorities

Their lives are quite turbulent at points as they are severely misunderstood and their son is viciously persecuted.

Conclusion:

While this film may seem far fetched at points, and a bit self serving and overdone, it brings to the forefront many issues that some persons within our society face everyday. The objective of this film in my opinion is to raise the bar of tolerance that we have for our fellow human being.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2010
My Name Is Khan marks Fox's entry into Bollywood with their earlier attempts with Hot Summer Love in the Chinese market. However unlike Fox's counterparts Warner, Disney and Sony, Fox's entry is a serious commentary on race and religious relations in America. My Name Is Khan is a flim about life in America set in the events of recent history unlike the foray from the other studios which a feel good standard Bollywood fare. This is new ground for Shah Rukh Khan - this flim is not a musical, action flim or even a romcom - something we are familiar with SRK. American recent history told from the eyes of a person with disabilities makes this a Bollywood production with is different from the normal fare.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2010
This movie is very different from SRK's past films. There are no big dance numbers and the issue at hand is more than just a love triangle. This movie has a depth that I have not come to expect in commercial hindi films and to those few that are not intent on purchasing this for the sole reason of the onscreen SRK and Kajol chemistry, you should purchase it for the laughs and the moments that will choke you up. This movie is exceptional and I am more than proud to add it to my arsenal of filmi DVDs, and everyone should see this movie at least once so you can widen your perspective.
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