Kal Penn Blogs About The Namesake
Welcome to The Namesake DVD. After touring the festival circuit last year, our film opened globally (including North America) in March of this year, and Im proud to bring you the DVD!
This is a project that has been close to me from the beginning. I was a big fan of the book ever since John Cho recommended it to me during the first Harold & Kumar shoot. John and I tried to get rights to turn the book into the film, but Mira [Nair, director of Monsoon Wedding and Salaam Bombay] had already acquired them. That began a really aggressive campaign on my part to try to get seen for the role. Id call Miras office, have my manager call but we had no luck in getting in the door. Luckily, unbeknownst to me, Miras son Zohran and her agents son Sam were lobbying on my behalf (turns out they are huge Harold and Kumar fans, so they were trying to get their parents to bring me in to read for the part of Gogol). Mira finally agreed, and I got a call saying that Id be able to audition. I flew out to New York, and luckily things worked out.
There are some similarities between my life and Gogols. We are both Americans of Indian descent, both born and raised on the East Coast, both bilingual, and both passionate about our careers. But Gogol is much more subdued than I am; he carries a certain silence (which he gets from his father). His place in the world is one of constant shift -- a byproduct of being single in New York, being passionate about his job, close with his family, and so on.
This film is my favorite to -date. Mira has been a role model of mine since I was very young, Jhumpa [Lahiri, author of The Namesake] is one of my favorite authors, Sooni [Taraporevala, screenwriter for Salaam Bombay] one of my most admired screenwriters, so its an honor to have the chance to be part of the screen adaptation of this story.
To me, its a very American film. Its about family, about hope about how we all got here, through the lens of this particular family. With so much negativity every time I turn on the television, Im proud to be part of something that hopefully leaves the audience with a tremendous amount of hope, and a connection to the people we love. -- Kal Penn