Sunday, April 1

Film: The Namesake Click for more info

Straightforward tale about a immigrant Bengali man and his wife raising their second generation kids in America. Spanning thirty years or so, we see the births, deaths, education, matrimony and everything else involved in the so called circle of life of the Ganguly family.

It's clear from the start how The Namesake is based on a book. The condensation process that the story went through was pretty blunt; that much was clear by the way we were thrown from major event to major event every few minutes. A lot happens in the two hours the film ran for, but I wish that I got to experience a few of the juicy bits that seemed to be absent, even if doing so had made the film even longer.

And that's why this editing of the story had a detrimental effect on the film. I didn't get a chance to process on milestone before the next one came along. At times it felt like just a frame of a story, an outline with some of the important detail missing. Fortunately, this flaw wasn't terminal and the film manages to do well anyway. And then some.

The Namesake was well filmed and had some class acting in it, but it was the story that kicked the most ass. The film's brilliance lies in its simplicity; there was no baggage here and it wasn't constantly trying to prove anything about Indians living in the west. It wasn't lecturing us on how to live our lives here or how we need to change.

There were no overt morals, false pretences or offensive stereotypes here either (Chanda, I'm looking at you). What it did have were some very real characters each living very real lives, and in doing so it treated us, the audience, with the utmost respect.

For me the film was more about the relationship between Ashok (Irfan Khan) and Ashima (Tabu) rather than their son Gogol, but that's an indication of how multi-layered the film was rather than any particular focus it may have had. Speaking of Gogol, Kal Penn didn't manage to pee me off this time with his cash-in style of acting.

Simple yet deep, sweet and poignant, thought provoking and emotional. Along with Monsoon Wedding, this has made me quite the fan of Mira Nair, and it probably goes without saying how much I wholeheartedly recommend this film.