My Name is Khan Review: C(Kh)an't Touch This!

I solemnly swore to be critical of My Name is Khan. I promised I would clarify why most reviewers insisted on giving the film an average of 4.0. I pledged I would find flaws in the film. But how do you criticize a film that speaks of hope, love and incredible power? How do you find minuses in a film which touches your heart and makes you feel proud to be who you are, Khan or not? How do you attempt to dissect to pieces, Karan Johar's best film till date? You simply cannot. My Name is Roshni and this is my review of My Name is Khan.

I refuse to sit and rewrite the synopsis of the film. In a sentence, the film is of Rizvan Khan (Shah Rukh Khan), an Aspergers Syndrome patient who comes to America, meets the woman of his dream Mandira (Kajol) and is struck by indirect destruction in the wake of 9/11. Honestly, I had and still continue to reiterate that Bollywood has overdone the 9/11 theme. Its really not happening anymore. And post MNIK if I am require to review any 9/11 themed film, by default it will get a single star. The plot is overplayed and seriously worn out now; there is nothing left to tell audiences, we know it all. Back to MNIK, I was weary of how the film would tie in with the tragic events of September 11. However, it is important to let viewers know that 9/11 merely forms the backdrop of the film and is the basis for what will occur.

My Name is Khan is not preachy and you take away many lessons from the film. The first is to never judge the power of love. My Name is Khan is ultimately a love story and that forms the foundation of the film. The connection that Rizwan and Mandira share is almost karmic because of their opposite natures. If she is loud, he can't stand baring noises. While she is warm and insists on hugs, he prefers not to be touched. And the major difference, she is Hindu while he, Muslim. However, that doesn't form the premise for their love. In fact at no point does the couple even discuss their religion prior to their marriage (yes, they get married). And when tragedy strikes the couple and their relationship, it is his unconditional love for her that pushes him forward to achieve something that can almost be deemed impossible: meeting the President of the United States.

You also learn that no matter who you are, Hindu or Muslim, Black or White, you are a person first; human. Zarina Wahab perfectly explains early in the film, "In this world, there is only good people who do good deeds and bad people who do bad deeds."Rightly said. It occurred to me while watching the film that we look at people and immediately look for religion amidst the color of their skin. MNIK explains this concept rather simply. We see Rizwan Khan helping people he has no relation except for the fact that in his time of need, they helped him. Did these people judge him by his color? Absolutely not. Did they ask for the favor back? Not at all. It was because he realizes that it is his innate duty as a human being to help these people, that yes, Rizwan Khan saves a small village from a hurricane. He manages to create enough of an effect to encourage a crowd of people to come help and adopt hurricane stricken areas around him.

I could go on but My Name is Khan is really an individual experience. Performancewise, it is Shah Rukh Khan all the way. I have never been ashamed to admit that I am not an SRK fan. I prefer Khan in mature roles ala Swades, Chak De and even Veer Zaara. But he does an absolutely fine job as Rizwan Khan. I'm not sure whether his depiction of an Aspergers patient is correct or not but irrespective, he is outstanding. There are times where you can see SRK peep out for a quick second before he quickly gets back into the skin of Rizwan Khan. However, whether it was his diction or his depiction, SRK wows.

Where do I begin with Kajol? She never seems to fail and shines in MNIK. At first she is the smiley divorced hair stylist single mother who later transforms into a mother who wants justice. In all her roles, she essays it with such nuance. Kajol provides the comic relief (much needed) as well as the perfect Mandira to Rizwan. You almost immediately can see why he falls in love with her. The SRK-Kajol chemistry is overspoken about but if you need proof that the fire still exists, MNIK confirms it.

The entire supporting cast is perfectly casted and every single one of them have outdone themselves irrespective of the length of their roles. Whether it was Zarina Wahab as the doting mother, Jimmy Shergill as the estranged mother, Sonia Jehaan as helpful sister-in-law, Parvin Dabbas the reformed news anchor or Arjun Mathur, the one who brings help to Rizwan when he most needs it, all of them are give performances worth mentioning. Kudos to all.

Props to scriptwriter Shibani Bathija and Niranjan Iyengar who do a fab job with the story and dialogues respectively. But really this one belongs to Karan Johar. The director has grown with every film and it can easily be stated that while he definitely went out on a limb with a topic totally away from his usual genre, he manages to still keep his unique style in tact. K Jo outdoes himself as a storyteller and as a director. MNIK is all heart and soul; there is no two way about it. You will cry, laugh, hum to the songs and walk out inspired.

Exaggerated? Yes. Over the top? Yes. Long? Yes. But MNIK speaks of hope and the elimination of discrimination in the world. It ain't no repeat watch but a single time watch.

As I part, a quick word to the popular Shiv Sena: Get Over It. What did you ever think? That you could take the Bollywood gene out of us with your threats to stone us? I don't think so. In fact, I'll buy you guys tickets. But for heaven's sake, spare us.


Deepak said...

watched it yesterday. Agree with you, totally . maybe cause I am a shahrukh fan, maybe cause you may be plain ol' correct !

Dave Krunal said...

I enjoyed watching MNIK today and overall it is a good movie. Although I am not SRK fan, I must admire his performance. I wouldn’t surprise if he gets award for best actor for this movie. The script is well written but only didn’t like the hurricane plot. SRK’s central objective was to meet the president of America but after he released from the jail he was suppose to continue his journey. The reason is writer has already engaged nearly two hours where audience is expecting when SRK will meet the president and suddenly hurricanes come and he did backward journey. I guess writer could have save 25 minutes rather than diverting protagonist toward achieving surprised goal.

Lastly, @Roshni, 9/11 concept is over flowing, just like Obama, Bollywood need change!!


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