My Name Is Khan poster

My Name Is Khan

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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Director: Karan Johar
Running time: 160 minutes
Genres: Romance
More Movie Info

My Name Is Khan - Preview

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

62 reviewers(?) - 40 yays 11 so-so 11 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Amodini, Amodini's Movie Reviews : ...He has defined a new genre of candy-floss cinema, which I can tolerate maybe, but never quite applaud.... full review

Thumbs up, by Noyon Jyoti Parasara, AOL INDIA : ...In an effort to make a movie with a distinct message, Karan Johar moves out of his regular tearjerker mode.... full review

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 Manish Gajjar, BBC : ...Director Karan Johar deviates from his comfort zone of candyfloss romances by attempting a realistic subject with an underlying message.... 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 Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama : ...Karan's take on the issue deserves the highest praise, since a subject like this is difficult to attempt... full review

Thumbs up, by Daliya Ghose, Bollywood Mantra : ...The screenplay by Shibani Bhatija is very sincere and not over dramatic.... full review

Thumbs up, by Shweta Parande, Buzz18 : ...Cinematography by the renowned Ravi K Chandran lives up to his name totally in My Name is Khan.... full review

Thumbs up, desi hits : ...Unrealistic scenes are mixed with over-emotional ones and the film loses some of its original intensity and humor.... 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 Martin D'Souza, Glamsham.com : ...Shah Rukh Khan has done a complete study of this syndrome and has delivered a terrific performance from frame one.... 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 Subhash K Jha, IBOS : ...wonderful story told with a flair and flourish that leave a lingering impact on the viewer. ... 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, indiaserver.com : ...Karan Johar walks in with the right movie for Shah Rukh at a time when he desperately needs one to revive his magic on his audience.... 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, Indicine : ...The chemistry she shares with SRK is electrifying, not that we expected anything less anyway.... 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 Mazhar Nawaz, merinews : ...Music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy is good & has a sufi soul with wonderful lyrics by Niranjan Iyengar. ... 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, Movie Talkies : ... Karan Johar shows a rare maturity in the manner in which he is able to essay this heartwarming and humane tale of love and integrity.... full review

Thumbs up, by Minu Jain, Now Running.com : ...Plenty of great one liners. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Ashok Nayak, Now Running.com : ...MNIK falls slightly short of being a classic.... full review

Thumbs up, by Saba Naqvi, Outlook India : ...I may be SRK the big movie star, but I’m also a Muslim and please love me for it and please, please, don’t hate me for it.... 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 Subhasish Chakraborty Subhasish Chakraborty, Passion for Cinema : ...The SRK-Kajol chemistry in the movie is so good that you could ignore anything else... full review

Thumbs up, by Gianysh Toolsee , Planet Bollywood : ...delves deeper into the psychology of the Muslims who feel being targeted unnecessarily in the US after the 9/11 events... full review

Thumbs up, by Samir Dave, Planet Bollywood : ...The story and screenplay by Shibani Bathija for the most part, holds together very well. ... 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 Sampurn, real bollywoood : ...My Name Is Khan will prove to be a landmark film in the careers of Karan Johar, Shah Rukh Khan and of course Kajol... full review

Thumbs up, by Savera R Someshwar, Rediff : ...Kajol, no one runs up a hill dressed in a night suit, wearing floppy slippers, with no make-up on, as well as you do.... full review

Thumbs up, by Raja Sen, Rediff : ...Reference points aside, My Name Is Khan is a film that will have the galleries cheering and making sure there aren't many dry eyes in the house. ... full review

Thumbs up, by K N Gupta, SmasHits.com : ...Tanay Chheda for playing Rizwan as a child deserves kudos and so also Yuvaan Makaar as Kajol's son.... full review

Thumbs up, by Harshita Kohli, StarBoxOffice : ...Kajol is brilliant and this time her eyes do a lot more tlaking than her words.... full review

Thumbs up, by K K Rai, STARDUST : ...Kajol surpasses even Shah Rukh Khan in some sequences... 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

Thumbs up, by Mr Care, Upper Stall : ...In spite of her character's flaws, Kajol burns the screen with her radiance.... full review

Thumbs up, by SpiceZee Bureau, ZEENEWS.COM : ... The story moves on a brisk pace in the first half; yet, the second half slackens a bit both literally and figuratively.... full review

So-So, by Baradwaj Rangan, Blogical Conclusion, The New Sunday Express : ...more pressing issue is how a film could pack in so much and yet accomplish so little. ... full review

So-So, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks Cinema.com : ...The real action starts post intermission, which also leads to major glitches in the screenplay. ... 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 Anupama Chopra, NDTV : ...The romance between Rizwan and Mandira is too designed and mawkish.... 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

So-So, by Shilpa Jamkhandikar, Reuters : ...oversimplifies the issue and overstates his message.... full review

So-So, by Sakshi O Juneja, To Each Its Own : ... I am glad Karan Johar made this film. But then again, I’d rather have him selling candy floss. ... 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 Blogeswari, Blogeswari : ...which terrorist discusses plan out in the open I want to know...so fake I tell you!... 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 Aniruddha Guha, DNA : ...A two-hour-long intense drama with well-crafted, emotional sequences (which MNIK has in plenty, actually) would have driven the point home.... full review

Thumbs down, by Anuj, Indian Auteur : ...It is cinema of contempt. It is the cinema of ridicule. Of an overbearing- overwhelming- stinking feeling of being underestimated way too much.... full review

Thumbs down, by Amrita, Indiequill : ...I’m not one of those people maddened by the sight of a movie star acting like a movie star. ... 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 Rachel Saltz, New York Times : ...Rizvan proves that not only is he not a terrorist, but he is also the only man in America willing to help those in need. ... 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

Thumbs down, by Ajit Duara, Open Magazine : ...Human relations in this film are completely artificial, especially the one between Rizwan and wife Mandira (Kajol). ... full review

Thumbs down, by Neha Vishwanathan, Within / Without : ...the worst crime a film can commit is that of being boring. I was bored to death in the last one hour.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

9 readers - 6 yays 1 so-so 2 nays

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

Nay! Thumbs Down, by ceai verde antiadipos

Nay! Thumbs Down, by Nelson

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Plot Summary

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.

What Worked

  • The performance by the little Rizwan Khan.
  • Depicting Kajol as a young mother rather than some college-going kid. I know it's one of the things they didn't do and got it right, but yet, it was refreshing.
  • Mamma Jolie and Funny hair kiddo! Brought such a warm and yet sad smile.
  • The consistency of Rizwan Khan's dancing style.

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • Sibling relationship wasn't explored or rather just left hanging after a good opening.
  • Throughout the film Rizwan dresses like anyone else without ever hinting at him being a Muslim and suddenly at the 7/11 memorial thing he gets Muslim outfit out. Why?
  • Ok, how does one identify the cause of death as "racial discrimination" by looking at the victim's bruises, etc?!
  • The beauty of a hard-hitting, punch line "My name is Khan. And I'm not a terrorist." is completely nullified by the repetitive use and over-exposure pre-release, just like "Don ko pakdna mushkil hi nahi, na-mumkin hai" from Don.

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:
Story:
Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Dialogues:
Screenplay:
Music Director:
Lyrics:

Comments (16)

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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"!!

@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

@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.

wow , I like the idea of short review ..

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.

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

@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.

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.

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

@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

@Ashfak Dedicated you are!

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

@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!

@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.

fantastic film!!

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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