Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Movie Review: Namesake

Cast: Irrfan Khan (Ashok Ganguli), Tabu (Ashima Ganguli) , Kal Pen (Gogol Ganguli)

Direction: Meera Nair

Adapted from the book of the same name by Jhumpa Lahiri, the Namesake is about the search for identity of individuals. People who move out to a different culture more often than not try and hang on to what was around them when they grew up. When in search of opportunity why is it so difficult to adapt? Why is the need to hang on? When does one become free?

Ashok and Ashima Ganguli are a newly Bengali couple in New York. ( ok Tabu in her classical music rendition looks tam, their love-making scene represents those ‘shakila’ centered mallu movies- saved only by the seemingly proper bong wedding). They name their first born Gogol ( a nick name that sticks around) after the Russian author whole book was responsible for Ashok being alive. The boy grows up to hate the name as he is the butt of jokes in college and girls find the name weird. With enough clich├ęs about NRI’s sticking to desi culture (a nicely done bong identity here), Gogol hates his roots. He changes his name (to Nikhil- Nick), gets a phirang gf and is the architect on the move.

Tragedy strikes when Ashok dies and Gogol comes back to his roots. His journey to realize his true identity and become free forms the rest of the story. The culture trap is actually old soup, the movie would have made more sense 3-4 years ago. Irrfan and Tabu are brilliant. They share an amazing chemistry and each scene in which they are together is a joy to watch. The movie drags in the second half and could be edited a little bit. The direction tells the story in the poignant way and the digs at NRI’s does not go overboard. The perspective, colours, sceneries are all chosen to give importance to the people rather that the surroundings, brilliant I would say. Kal is actually the weak link. He has a dumb expression half the time and manages to do well only in a few scenes. The supporting cast do no intrude.

‘We all have sprung from the pages of the overcoat’ says a melancholy Ashok to damn-care Gogol.

A slice of life in a search for identity.

Rating: 7/10

1 comment:

Pathik said...

hehe..read my review too!!