Monday, March 1

My Name is Anuja, and I'm NOT Calling Karthik

Happy Holi, world-mates and countrymen!

(Ain't one of my favorite festivals, but a lot of people I know are crazy about Holi. Enjoy, then! To each his own.)

I know I owe you the review of My Name Is Khan, and I'm going to give it to you though late. I saw it last week, but did not get the time to write my analysis given that I had to fill you in with my trip details and other assessments. Here you go, now...

Would you be surprised if I told you I LOVED this movie? Guess not. You are aware how much I adore and admire Shahrukh Khan, so I was bound to like the film under any condition. Add to it my indignation at MNS and their stupid reaction over SRK’s support to Paki cricketers. I mean why the hell do we talk about India being a democracy, everyone having freedom of speech and desiring to build peaceful relations with neighbors and world-mates when we can’t even allow one of our biggest icons to spread cheer and unity? And then such an ideal celebrity is punished by having his movie thrown out of theatres? How fair is that?!!

Anyway… I was told by a few people that the movie is not too great, quite boring in some places and certainly not as magnificent as publicized. These reviews did not deter or bother me. I was definitely going to watch the film and I’d made up my mind beforehand that I’d like it. I’d heard the songs, and they sounded melodious; my favorite is Noor-E-Khuda, but Tere Naina and Sajda are just as nice.

Let not my stubbornness and opinionated chatter mislead you – the film is indeed lovely. Here’s why. In three words – SRK and Kajol. The pair has rocking chemistry, man! Their friendliness and comfortableness really shows when they interact with each other. Not to forget the fact that they’re both good-looking and outstanding actors who ooze sincerity and passion. They bring alive their characters, Rizwan and Mandira, as though they were a part of our lives. And Mandira’s kid from a previous marriage (Sam – Yuvaan Makar) is cute and handsome. A happy albeit unusual family, utterly believable.

Truth be told, I’m sick of 9/11 and the stories revolving around it. There was New York, then there was Kurbaan, and now this. Yeah, the film isn’t entirely based on that fiasco, but it does touch upon the suspicious and inequitable way in which all Muslims were treated after the blast.

Why does Rizwan Khan have to meet the President? That is the question everybody is asking in the movie. And it is also the question that most people ask after watching the movie. Silly folks. The point is not why does he have to go and tell the President that he is not a terrorist. The point is (and I’m borrowing my friend’s words here coz I couldn’t find anything that was more apt…) that his beloved told him to do that, and even if she had told him to go to the moon, he would!

Ok, let’s start at the beginning. So, SRK plays Rizvan Khan, a Muslim boy from India who has Asperger’s syndrome – an autistic disorder in which a person has difficulties in social interaction. So while SRK is a brilliant chap with mechanical and cognitive faculties as marvelous as in Swades, he keeps repeating words and actions, and fears crowds, noise, things that are strange and unfamiliar, and the color yellow. After the demise of his doting mother, Rizvan goes to the US to live with his brother Zakir (Jimmy Shergill) and his congenial wife Hasina (Soniya Jehan). His brother puts him to work as a salesman for beauty products and his work leads him to Mandira (Kajol), a hair stylist.

It’s love at first sight for Rizu, and he tries all that he can to get Mandira to marry him. Which involves serenading her and finding out places that she’s never seen before. Mandy has a sad but brave past of her own, and she decides to tie the knot with Rizu coz he’s so sweet and nice at heart. The trio start living happily together and everything is rosy for a while. Then 9/11 happens and life goes haywire for the Khan family, because of their religion and surname. People start avoiding them, and the kid loses his life in a racial assault. Happy times over.

Mandira can’t bear this heartbreak, and blames Khan for her loss. She tells him to go inform everybody in the world that he is a Muslim but not a terrorist, that all Muslims are not bad. Rizu has no idea why he is being accused, but he can do anything that a loved one tells him. So, just as he fulfilled his mum’s wish by settling down in a happy family, he sets off to fulfill his spouse’s command. On the way, he comes across various people that he forges a bond with and spreads the message of love, peace and goodwill.

There are some heartrending scenes where he is tortured and maltreated because people find his (Asperger-related) behavior suspicious and his name (Khan) threatening. Each step that Rizu accomplishes and each person he endears on his difficult journey strikes a chord with the audience. Shergill, Parvin Dabbas, Vinay Pathak, Navneet Nishan and the cute tomboy from Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na (Sugandha Garg) occupy trifling roles.

The songs and their situation are extremely apt and emotive. Though Rizwan’s dominance and influence on the American media and citizens is a tad questionable, it is not unpardonable. So, thanks to Rizvan’s sensitive and caring nature, a small town called Wilhemina is restored alongwith its residents. Because he becomes so popular, the US President himself calls him upon stage and congratulates him on his courage and devotion to the people. Mission impossible attained. Cheers!

My name is Anuja, and I suggest you watch this one. My rating – 8 on 10.
(Could have been a bit shorter.)

Broadening the scope of Rizwan Khan’s message: All Indians are not terrorists.
(Balls to those who are. Hate you, scumbags.)

I also saw Karthik Calling Karthik over the weekend, and my verdict is boo! It's not innovative and it's not extraordinary. I mean, a schizophrenic who records voice messages for himself - just how WOW is that? I hate Farhan Akhtar and the movie belongs to him, but Deepika looks stunning though her role ain't meaty enough.

A Rubik's cube depicts Farhan's life when it is a mess to being perfect. He's used like a punching bag by colleagues and bullied by all those around him. His life changes like never before... courtesy his namesake calling him every dawn at 5 and counseling/training him. The transformation happens night after night when Karthik talks to Karthik, until the loser becomes the king with the perfect job, the perfect life and the perfect girlfriend. And then, life goes downhill, when he screws his own life. Happy ending, obviously. Don't ask for more details. Not worth it.

Farhan's a torture on all senses, and without my passion for "Hey Ya" and 2 packets of popcorn, I wouldn't have been able to sail through the movie. Avoid. Watch Teen Patti if you must; it's got a better review.

Asta La Vista!


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