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  • My Name is Khan: a review


    by guest
    6th March, 2010 at 11:30 am    

    This is a guest post by Parvinder Singh

    I’ve just got back from pleasantly warm Amritsar to wet and cold London. Yet the sights and sounds linger on in my mind, the early morning prayers from the temples coupled with the noise of stray dogs barking. And the visit at night to the Darbar Sahib (Golden Temple), making an unforgettable impression that no words can describe. I witnessed first hand how efficiently it manages to feed as many as 40,000 meals a day to people of all faiths.

    I sensed a degree of nervousness in the country though. There had already been an attack on a German Bakery in Pune, killing 10 people and then the devastating news of two Sikhs in Pakistan, who had been taken hostage by the Pakistan Taliban, were beheaded. Others including Hindus, remain at the mercy of their captors. Rumours were afloat in Amritsar that the two Sikhs refused to convert to Islam, and that after they were executed in true 18th Century style, their severed heads were thrown into a Peshwara Gurdwara. Whether it’s religious based bigotry or plain thuggery, as in the case of the recent abduction of five year old Sahil Saeed, one can’t help feeling that the Pakistan is spiralling out of control.

    In a newly built Shopping Mall in Amritsar, Shahrukh Khan’s new movie, My Name is Khan arrived. It had earlier opened in Mumbai amid protests by the hard right Shiv Sena, who opposed Khan’s remarks that he regretted that no Pakistani cricketers had been picked for the upcoming Indian Premier League. Hardly controversial but to Hindu bigots, any sympathy for Pakistanis is deemed unpatriotic.

    Its timing cannot be underestimated. If you’re into the usual ‘dancing around tree’ movie then this movie is not for you. My Name is Khan takes us into a journey through the eyes of an Indian Muslim, Rizwaan Khan, an Asperger’s Syndrome sufferer, who moves to the US. While it is easy to make comparisons with Khan’s character and Dustin Hoffman’s ‘Rain Man’, it delves into issues rarely dealt with in the West, ie. how Middle Eastern and South Asians in general and Muslims in particular have become victims in the post 9/11 backlash. This issue has not only affected westerners but also some Sikhs and Hindus into believing all Muslims are the problem. Khan also attempts to confront extremists whose misinterpret their sacred text for political means.

    Its overriding message is that despite all the atrocities extremists have carried out, the main divide in the world is between good people and bad people, not between different faiths and peoples. I would highly recommend people watch it.


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    Filed in: Media,Muslim,Sikh,South Asia






    21 Comments below   |  

    Reactions: Twitter, blogs
    1. pickles

      Blog post:: My name is Khan: a review http://bit.ly/9qRQGh


    2. Nadiyah

      RT @pickledpolitics: Blog post:: My name is Khan: a review http://bit.ly/9qRQGh


    3. My Name Is Khan « Same Difference

      [...] terrorism and the troubles faced by ethnic minorities in post- 9/11 America- mean that reviews from non-disabled viewers barely mention the disability. This proves to me that Bollywood is able to make a movie about [...]




    1. Rumbold — on 6th March, 2010 at 11:35 am  

      Good piece. I really want to see the film, but never seem to get round to going to the pictures.

    2. Rajesh — on 6th March, 2010 at 1:02 pm  

      I thought Khan’s acting was excellent; far better than his usual ‘act by numbers’ routine.
      However, whilst the aims of the movie is as laudable as the post says I found the the last third or so of the movie laughable rather than meaningful. I don’t want to add spoilers so can’t really add more detail.

    3. sarah — on 6th March, 2010 at 1:19 pm  

      Thank you for not focusing the review on the Aspergers.

    4. Gurpreet — on 6th March, 2010 at 3:16 pm  

      I feel Karan Johar fails to address any issues adequately in this film and thought on the whole it was pretty average. Johar doesn’t do this kind of social commentary very well at all he’s a Romantic, and does those films brilliantly but he loses his way when he ventures away from that in my opinion. 

      My Name Is Khan had too many plotlines attempting to say the same thing, whilst trying to appeal to the masses with a love story.  It felt a lot like a bastardisation of Forrest Gump to me. I also felt Shah Rukh was acting his arse off and the role was not made for him and would have been better served by someone else (but obviously you’d have lost the mass appeal).   I think the film New York dealt with post 9/11 backlash in a much better way than this film on the whole.

      I think loads of people will think this film is great 1 - because it’s a slightly different bollywood film 2 - because of it’s underlying message and so will think its awesome (ifyswim - you know the way feel good films about down & out soccer teams that finally come good at the end make you feel like the film was amazing even if it wasn’t)  3 - coz Shah Rukh can do no wrong ( ;) ) rather than judge the film in itself. 

      I’d watch it once because it’s entertaining and doesn’t bore you, but the last 1/3 is definitely laughable. 
        

    5. Kulvinder — on 6th March, 2010 at 6:32 pm  

      Am i the only one who things SRK has, or increasingly has, a weird rubbery face ala Michael Portillo?

    6. damon — on 6th March, 2010 at 7:35 pm  

      This is the first I heard of the bomb at the German Bakery in Pune.

      I don’t know why I should feel that this attack was more horribe than others … though I did visit Pune once as a tourist.

      http://nitawriter.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/gb-wm.jpg

      Bombs like that are a disgrace to humanity.

    7. Robert — on 7th March, 2010 at 12:15 am  

      What irked me slightly about the film is that it is essentially a rebuke to George W Bush and his divisive rheoric… but who is no longer on office. I guess the production was green-lit in 2007-08 when GWB was still president, but the part with Obama felt like it had been crowbarred into the film. Circumstances and politics have moved on.

      That said, Pakistan an India, where the film will be watched by many millions, still has racial problems that this film speaks to.

    8. zac — on 7th March, 2010 at 3:29 pm  

      The blurb of the film is hilarious but it certainly is a film that will have a possitive message about respect and tolerance. These are global issues, not just issues that affect south asia.

    9. Hindu — on 7th March, 2010 at 4:33 pm  

      Dear Parvinder Singh,
      Your review was reading good till you had to label every Hindu who holds an opinion against Pakistan a bigot. Please apologise for such remarks.

    10. Parvinder — on 7th March, 2010 at 9:09 pm  

      Dear Hindu,
      I certainly didn’t refer to ‘every Hindu’ who holds an opinion against Pakistan a bigot. If you look at what I said, I was refering to parties like the Shiv Sena, objecting to Shahrukh Khan’s remarks about Pakistani Cricketers and the IPL and that he believed it could have been handled better. One spokesperson has even suggestion Khan should shift to Pakistan. Surely in a plural democracy, people should be able to aire their views about foreign sportsmen without their Indian patriotism questioned.

    11. Hindu — on 7th March, 2010 at 10:24 pm  

      Parvinderji,
      This is about Indian patriotism as you said twice now so why refer to them being Hindus -just because Shiv Sena happens to be Hindus (and that debate Im not going into and nor into their issues).

      There is a clear intent to label the Hindus with the use of the word ‘bigot’ and I hope you will accept you have hurt the feelings of some Hindus and make an apology.

    12. Parvinder — on 7th March, 2010 at 11:19 pm  

      Hinduji, the part of the article you refer to was not to label any communitity as bigoted, and if there are any Hindus who feel hurt, then I apologie but believe me, this was not my intention.

    13. KJB — on 8th March, 2010 at 2:28 am  

      Parvinder - thank you for this thoughtful and unusually grammatically correct review. :-D

      I suspect that ‘Hindu’ above is a troll, down to their repeated attempts to deliberately attribute to you things which any attentive and fully-literate person can see you haven’t said.

      Lol @ Kulvinder - I’ve never got why people find him attractive. Appealing - yes, in an odd way, but attractive? Nahhh. Give me Aamir Khan anyday.

    14. persephone — on 8th March, 2010 at 1:40 pm  

      @5 mebbe he‘s had some work done to keep ‘face’ with his increasingly younger female co stars

    15. Jai — on 8th March, 2010 at 3:30 pm  

      Parvinder,

      I agree with your points about the movie. It had a number of very positive messages, and I thought Shahrukh’s acting was very good in what was (for him) an unconventional role, especially the monologue he gave in the church — bearing in mind the fact that the character is unable to cry due to his condition. The film had some great music too, from start to finish.

      And the following inspiring point in your article was very well made…..

      the main divide in the world is between good people and bad people, not between different faiths and peoples.

      …..something which should of course be particularly appreciated by people who have visited the Golden Temple, a place which embodies & symbolises exactly the same message.

    16. Hindu — on 8th March, 2010 at 5:58 pm  

      Namaste KJB,
      Thank you for comments which I should ignore because it is rather immature and biased. So I will.

      Namaste Parvinderji,
      I am grateful for your apology and I did like your review; especially with the introduction of your own experiences of what you heard and saw around you in India; which perhaps made this film more poignant and meaningful to you.

      I have not seen the film yet but will catch it some day with your noble thoughts in mind :- “the main divide in the world is between good people and bad people, not between different faiths and peoples.”

    17. kELvi — on 10th March, 2010 at 1:25 am  

      Few seem to have noticed the irony of SRK voicing his disappointment over IPL-3 ignoring all Pakistan cricketers. Shah Rukh owns an IPL franchise himself - the Kolkata Knight Riders - and he and his seven co-owners acted alike in dissing Pak cricketers - he failed to make any bid just like the others.

    18. Amit — on 1st May, 2010 at 9:03 am  

      What is this article about? A bigoted Sikh shaking hands with a bigoted Muslim while calling patriotic Hindus as bigots.
      yeah yeah! we keep on hearing this all time.
      Instead of replying to what the commentor Hindu had to say, the writer of this forum only shows his hatred towards Hindus and the Hindu faith by making derogadory statements about Hindus.

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