wogma rating: Add to 'must watch' list (?)
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.Read more
NOT A REVIEW - Just wondering how much of Rizwan Khan is going to be good ol' Shah Rukh Khan…
Even before we talk about the actor/character, the promos were a hug-ish put-off. If just a sneak peek into the film makes you feel there is just too much on the table -
Love story, a medical disorder, Hindu-Muslim, India-US, so much so that the protagonist seems to be aspiring to meet the President of the US.
And there is no brilliant element of climax or 'something to look forward' to when the official site says -
My Name Is Khan is the triumphant story of an unconventional hero overcoming obstacles to regain the love of his life.
Triumphant? Dude, leave some story for me to not give away!
Now add to that the Shah Rukh Khan, and not to mention Karan Johar effect. I'll tell you what I mean -
Usually, for these "preview" posts, I search what people - bloggers, reviewers, newspapers are saying about the film. And guess what, as I set to search for this one I started typing "my name is shah rukh .." and I realized what the biggest issue with this film is going to be.
How much of protagonist Rizwan Khan will be overshadowed by the actor Shah Rukh Khan?
I've heard/read numerous comments that go, "it's going to be supremely painful. Anyways, most of the times you you have SRK hamming and hawing, to top it off he's an excuse to be disabled because the character is autistic." Specifically he suffers from the Asperger Syndrome. This caught my eye -
it is named after the Austrian pediatrician Hans Asperger who, in 1944, described children in his practice who lacked nonverbal communication skills, demonstrated limited empathy with their peers, and were physically clumsy.
"Lacked nonverbal communication skills" - now that will make simpler for the actor to play his character. *phew*
Jus Kiddin'…bring down your guns, people.
Ahh…how can a violent word be kept out of anything that is to be said about this film, right? It is Thursday morning and a film releases on a Friday morning. Dharma Productions usually has a preview show on Thursday nights.
None of the theaters in Pune have the schedule for tomorrow yet, but Bombay theaters seem to be gearing for the release in full strength.
If push comes to shove, I will commute to Bombay to watch this film. I might or might not like the actor or director's body of work in entirety, but this reviewer will not stay away from her work as long as there is a screening within reach.
Sure, the film industry is a very important and integral part of our society. Sure, the Thackerays who are in the opposition have a duty to keep the ruling party on their toes. But creating ruckus which causes the ruling party to guide all security forces to theaters? The 'picture' doesn't look right.
(Not to mention, just when I thought it was impossible, they managed to add some more Shah Rukh to My Name Is Khan.)
The filmmakers have done their duty to the audience, made the film. I'll do mine, by watching and writing about it. When will the politicians do theirs? And this time, the question is for the party in the opposition!
- meeta, a part of the audience
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
Thumbs up, by Naresh Kumar Deoshi, Apun Ka Choice : ...Karan Johar, the czar of popcorn romances, leaps into a new territory and delves into a serious subject without totally slithering out of his old skin.... full review
Thumbs up, by Steven Baker, Bolly Spice : ... The second half of the film suffers from the curse of Bollywood, in that a potential cinematic work of genius developing before the interval, is let down by a number of scenes that drag in comparison.... full review
Thumbs up, by Deepa Garimella, fullhyd.com : ...Shah Rukh Khan's portrayal of an autistic man is slightly difficult to watch for those of us accustomed to a signature performance from the superstar, but this seems to be targeted at the awards.... full review
Thumbs up, by Mayank Shekhar, Hindustan Times : ...Forrest Gump in its scope, Rain Man in its approach, slightly convenient in its ‘Bollywood opera’, world-class in its photographic treatment (Ravi K Chandran), more sorted than Kurban (from the same producer, along a similar theme); you can sense, throughout, honesty in the film’s purpose.... full review
Thumbs up, by Kaveree Bamzai, india today : ...Khan's relationship with his new family, Mandira and Sam, is beautifully etched, proving that however far Johar may run from "loving your family" it will always end up chasing him.... full review
Thumbs up, by Gaurav Malani, indiatimes : ...Arif Zakaria’s Muslim fundamentalist character, which is a clichéd replication of what Om Puri played in Shoot on Sight and Johar’s own Kurbaan , was too formulaic and absolutely avoidable.... full review
Thumbs up, by Akhlaq, Indicine : ...As a Muslim, I can confidently say that this is the most Pro-Muslim movie ever from bollywood. The references of Quran and Hadith are 100% relevant and correct. There are only few things which are not properly propagated…... full review
Thumbs up, by Kshitij Mehta, J.A.M : ...The first half is superb, as it builds Rizwan's character. One understands him, his thought process and his issues. The second half on the other hand is a little more dramatic.... full review
Thumbs up, by Sarita Tanwar, MiD DAY : ...The second half of the film is the crowning glory -- the lead pair's parting forms the base leading to Rizwan's spectacular ride through the country and his ability to strike a chord with everyone he encounters.... full review
Thumbs up, by Khalid Mohamed, Passion for Cinema : ...Huh huh huh…Fatally, the concluding reels fly off into la-la land, upgrading the little man grappling with insurmountable Kryptonite odds into a Super-duperman. Nuh, nuh, nuh.... full review
Thumbs up, by ram jaane, Ramchandra.me.uk : ...suggests a very straightforward and simple solution. People should only be grouped into two types, those who do good & those who do otherwise.... full review
Thumbs up, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ...Zarina Wahab's Ammi who articulates an almost perfect prototype of the perfect Indian as Shah Rukh Khan's mom: completely rooted in her culture and yet, completely secular.... full review
Thumbs up, by Theresa Smith, TONIGHT : ...Instead of being allowed to play the stereotype of nurturing mother, she has to become the angry avenger who must seek justice. She does this delicately, without descending into shrieking harpy territory. ... full review
So-So, by Darshit, Dunkdaft : ...Can you imagine Kajol sounding screechy? Yes, in a most crucial scene, Kajol [I repeat, KAJOL] sounds over the top. The whole sequence looks so silly at that time.... full review
So-So, by Phelim O'Neill, Guardian.co.uk : ...the first half is more soap opera, spending plenty of getting-to-know-you time with the appealing characters before putting them through the wringer in the more politicised second section.... full review
So-So, by Mihir Fadnavis, india.com : ...The leading lady has a solid screen presence but the much-hyped jodi of Shahrukh and Kajol disappoints, because the duo are not in sync with the fundamentals and intricacies of the people they play.... full review
So-So, by Sanjukta Sharma, Live Mint : ...There is not much good writing here. Some of the dialogues by Niranjan Iyengar are shockingly banal, and the screenplay by Shibani Bathija is such that all the smaller characters exist only to facilitate the way the two leads progress... full review
So-So, by Movie Magik, Passion for Cinema : ...as the second half stumbles and wavers around, we end up having the film maker venturing out into adventures too many, most of them easily expendable.... full review
So-So, by Tony, Radio Sargam : ...incredibly played by the ever-surprising Shahrukh Khan, that touches you, moves you, makes you cry, gives you goose pimples, and enlightens you with its message.... full review
Thumbs down, by Beth, Beth Loves Bollywood : ...part from my mild indignation at his depiction of certain aspects of my culture, I worry a lot about what this film is telling audiences around the world about the US.... full review
Thumbs down, by Deepa Gahlot, cinemaah : ...The film gives Shah Rukh Khan the opportunity to exercise his nearly atrophied acting muscles, and he is wonderful as Rizwan—charming even when he is being difficult.... full review
Thumbs down, by Sid, More Than Films : ...Human complexity is not Johar's strongest suit -- he failed on almost every level the last time he made an attempt at exploring complicated characters and situations (Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna).But I can sense that there is a desire in Johar to prove his "seriousness" as a director.... full review
Thumbs down, by Sujit, OneKnightStands.net : ...The premise is serious stuff. The environment that envelopes this movie is damn serious. Then why layer it with all sorts of bloody non-sense stereotypes. ... full review
Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.
Want to Watch, by conservatories
Yay! Thumbs Up, by Aspergers in adults
Yay! Thumbs Up, by chiropractic clinic
Yay! Thumbs Up, by Hindilyrics4u.co.in : For all Hindi songs lyrics
Yay! Thumbs Up, by Marken Grill : cool, liked it
Yay! Thumbs Up, by rahuldev1234
Yay! Thumbs Up, by Sunny
So-So, by Hindi Radio : dvd might be worth watching
This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
Rizwan Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) suffers from a kind of autism. He eventually reaches the US where he falls in love with Mandira (Kajol). But not everything is smooth-going after that.