Review - My Name Is Khan: And I spread goodwill with restraint

wogma rating: Add to 'must watch' list (?)
quick review:

The constraint is really appreciated both in terms of Karan Johar's direction and Shah Rukh Khan's performance. But unfortunately, in the last hour the movie leaves the US and enters K-Jo-land. And in both worlds Kajol intolerably shrieks her way through.

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Wogma Review

Simran and Raj have grown up. They have crossed a few hurdles in the past 15 years, and now they face new ones. They are left to now deal with terrorism and racial divides. Director Karan Johar has grown up too and shows respect to his growing audience too. There isn't super-sappy emotional drama. There is no over-the-board filmy dialogue. There aren't frolic-y dances. All HUGE plusses. But, every once in a while melodrama takes a quick peek, and by the end it takes over. The lines aren't super-mushy but they are still belong to Utopia. And the background score takes over the gap left by the song and dance sequences.

If I could give marks to improvement that a director, this movie deserves garlands, accolades, awards, and more. Surely, when something as sappy as "We shall overcome" gives me goose bumps, the director has done something very, very right. But, if a movie was only rated for the mistakes it didn't make, all credit would be taken away from films that don't have any intention of making them in the first place. And the argument could go round and round in circles.

Well, then let's focus on what they did. I was wondering, if there was any need at all to bring in the "autism" angle at all? And I realized the film wouldn't be engaging at all if that wasn't a part of the whole schema. Shah Rukh Khan, would then be Shah Rukh Khan. And there is zero-tolerance for that. But, here his character, Rizwan, suffers from this syndrome which gives Shah Rukh completely different material to deal with.

The permanent cock-eyed-ness, the no-eye-contact with any character for the entire length of the film, the restricted body movement - all keep you attached to Rizwan and far way from Shah Rukh. And kudos to the latter for that!

:) No people, that was not the only purpose of making Rizwan suffer from Asperger's. Here’s this person who had difficulty identifying emotions let alone expressing them. He just follows one guiding principle, "That he is a good human being and will not let bad enter him." Now, when a person with a low EQ knows that, how can we as a head and a heart allow bad things to happen in this world.

Beautiful, ain't it? Unfortunately, anything with such high sentimental content has to give way to sappiness. Though, Karan Johar and his team of writers do manage to keep a huge chunk out for most of the film. The last 40 minutes complete lose all sanity. The moment you see a mother who has just lost her son change into whites while her child is lying still in the house, you know this film has very little hope, now on. Though, ironically, it's trying to say there is hope.

Add to this drop, a super-shrill Kajol throughout the film. The lady's voice is high-pitched when she's excited/happy and piercingly so when she's upset/sad. Considering that, there are only two main characters whose personalities we are exposed to; it is actually heartbreaking to see zero chemistry between the two. Save a couple of "moments", there is no romance in this love story.

However, you do see a lot of romance between the camera and its subjects. The arid deserts, the city sky-lines, and the general magnificence of the US is covered beautifully. The puller-downer is that it is almost like it was shot for their makemytrip.com advertisements.

Given all of this, I might have urged all of you to wait for the DVD for the first two hours of the film and would have also equally vehemently urged you to skip the last 40 minutes or so. But given the "illogical" conditions revolving around the release of the film, I'd say - all those keen to support the entire team of My Name Is Khan should go watch it in the theaters. It is not a waste of money, time, energy and certainly not a waste of your courage.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: A few strong scenes where a child is beaten up brutally.
  • Language: Everyday abusive language. No sexual expletives, that is.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: A bed room scene with mention of intercourse.
  • Concept: That of spreading goodwill across religion and color.
  • General Look and Feel: It's not stark, it's not happy. It's in-between and has a lesson or two for the next generation.

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

  • Direction: 3
  • Story: 2.5
  • Lead Actors: 3.5
  • Character Artists: 3
  • Dialogues: 3
  • Screenplay: 3
  • Music Director: 3
  • Lyrics: 3

My Name Is Khan - Trailer

Comments (16)

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Ravikiran SHinde:

Meetu,
Constrained to give marks for the Music?

Music was released much earlier and should have at least 4. And Story 2.5?

I think you were juggling to make the average of all aspects at 3 and hence randomly distributed like "ina mina mina moo"!!

meetu:

@Sesh thanks for pointing those mistakes out. Will take better care. Much appreciated.

Sid:

Agree with your assessment! Here's my review of the film

http://morethanfilms.blogspot.com/2010/02/film-review-my-name-is-khan.html

meetu:

@B H Harsh yeah man, I am really apprehensive of his 'acting' skills. He has the tendency to annoy, but this one he's got it right.

@Ravikiran not at all.. i didn't like the music that much. too standard and forgettable. And the story was super down hill towards the end.

@Perx no man, that is just me...

@Adam well, my rating for dvd watch or otherwise is not based on cinematography only. It is the overall experience. And the experience of this film can be enjoyed at home too, where as with 3 idiots a theater watch is much more fun with a huge crowd around you.

@Robertson we don't like giving away the plot here dude, watching the film is the best option for wogma readers :D

@Harpreet Ouch i liked the film better than that.

@G-10 usually i think that such controversies are schemed and fixed. But this once, it went a bit too far to believe that.

@BollywoodBuff anything that is fairly common knowledge, i let it pass in the comment section. This question about the climax has been doing its rounds on sms and twitter. so...
But thanks a ton for standing by the theme of the blog though. much appreciated.

Ankit:

wow , I like the idea of short review ..

Prashant:

Well, then let's focus on what they did. I was wondering, if there was any need at all to bring in the "autism" angle at all?

I think the main reason to bring the autism angle was to make Rizwan go after the US president. Being autistic, he took the words of Kajol literally when she (out of anger) asked her to go to the president. Had it not been for autism, the plot of the movie would have been absurd.

meetu:

@Prashant oh, the president bit made it less absurd, really? anyway, my line was supposed to be a joke...

meetu:

@Adam RixWan wow and a very good morning to you too!

I'd love to hear what you have to say about wogma's No Smoking review vis-a-vis the Jodhaa Akbar review. Not comparable, right? I rest my case.

Hindi Radio:

You are right that Raj and Simran has grown. But i dont think that they will be able to create history like DDLJ by this movie. This is not a movie that can be a big hit. Yes the opening was great as there was publicity stunt done by Shahrukh Khan, Shiv sena and Ashok chauhan together. But overall its ok if you miss it in theatres but dont miss it on DVD.

meetu:

@Manu :) I thought I was cynical. Boy, you beat me hands down!

Prashant:

@Manu,

He could have been an 'aam-admi' to be 'different'. What say?

@Meetu: I never mentioned about absurdity. What's absurd for some may be novelty for others. BTW, You crack great jokes! :-P

meetu:

@Ashfak Dedicated you are!

@Prashant good one about "aam-aadmi". And which joke did you like?

meetu:

@Kunal I don't delete comments as long as they are not super-abusive or are a personal attack to anyone involved in the film.

After all, an opinion is an opinion is an opinion.

Thank you so much for your support!

Hindi Radio:

@shruti

You must think like a normal person and not like srk fan. I am sure a normal person will ignore this movie as it has nothing to see in it except crying and bagging of srk as usual as he is doing in all movies till now.

anyhow its an individuals choice.

rifky:

fantastic film!!

Aspergers in adults:

Great movie. Just wanted to mention that aspergers in adults is a big issue and concern, since about 70-75% of adults on the autism spectrum are aspergers.
Thanks.

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