This movie was truly more moving than I anticipated. The Namesake is about a young man by the name of Gogol and his struggle between his given Indian culture and the American culture that he was raised in. His parents Ashoke and Ashima are from West Bengal, India. His parents settled in New York and shortly after gave birth to him. Gogol was originally his nickname which eventually becomes his permanent name and the movie will chronicle the significance of his name.
The movie shows how Gogol battles to conform to his American life while his parents try to remain true to their Indian heritage. Being that Gogol’s friends are mostly white American kids, he adapts behaviors that his parents detest. He is lazy, disrespectful and smokes marijuana. After a trip to India with his parents, he seems to understand and appreciate his culture a little more.
Gogol goes off to college and after graduating he lands a job as an architect. He also decides to change his name to Nikhil and begins dating a white woman named Maxine from a wealthy family. He spends less time with his parents and they began to feel that their son is ashamed of where he comes from. As Gogol falls in love with Maxine, he decides to introduce her to his parents and their insecurities are confirmed as they fail to understand their son’s American customs. Gogol in fact grows closer to Maxine’s family and enjoys being around them more.
As Gogol is vacationing with Maxine’s family, he ignores calls from his parents as they attempt to wish him a happy birthday. While enjoying his time away, his father suffers a massive heart attack and passes away. After this he totally changes. Suddenly, he morphs into the man that his parents wanted him to be. He is open and accepting of his culture and realizes that he no longer wants to be with Maxine. He continues to support his family and take his father’s place as a male figure amongst his mother and sister.
In the movie there are several instances where culture is referenced which is closely related to religion. For instance, you will see the figures of the Hindu deities at the wedding of Ashoke and Ashima. That is one significant thing that I remember regarding religion in this movie. I ‘ve always assumed that Hindu followers are strong and devoted to their belief. Their devotion makes them strong and very proud. I see all these qualities in Ashoke and Ashima and they strongly believed in raising their children to be the same way.