wogma rating: Beg or borrow, but do watch (?)
This is story-telling at its best. Especially considering there was nothing very unique or great about the story itself. I was mesmerized by Tabu’s acting. Simple day-to-day dialogues and none, if not necessary added to the elegance of the movie.Read more
In general, I like movies which have a strong compelling story. Once in a while though, comes along a movie like ‘The Namesake’ where the direction, screenplay and most importantly - the acting make you forget that the story is ‘nothing spectacular’. And this is despite the fact that it is relatively slow paced.
The story is no doubt a truthful and authentic narration of the average NRI family who moved abroad in the 70s - from the locations and sets to the accents and reactions of various characters. Especially, how Tabu and Irrfan lose the heavy Bangla accent gradually as the years go by. This could also mean that people who haven’t lived outside India for an extended period of time might not identify with the characters. They will enjoy the narrative nevertheless.
While the characters of Ashima (Tabu) and Ashoke (Irrfan Khan) are sketched out in quite some detail and are played out beautifully, some parts of Gogol’s (Kal Penn) character seemed superficial, especially his love life. By any standards, this is a Tabu movie all the way. The lady gracefully ages from a daughter to a wife to a mother. It is amazing how with just one movement of her eye, you know exactly what her character is feeling.
However, since it is a movie that tries to be as close to reality as possible, it is the missing nuances that bothered me a couple of times during the two hours. I must admit that I haven’t read the book, and this could be one of those things that didn’t find their way into the movie.
High on emotions and jerking tears along the way, this one is worth a watch just for the performances. The beauty lies in the depth of the relationships touched upon. This is one of those rare occasions where how the story is told consumes the audience rather than the story itself.
Update: Corrected spelling mistake - 'Ashim' replaced by 'Ashima'. Thanks Ashima (Comment #1 on notepad).
- meeta, a part of the audience
Thumbs up, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...It's clear that the film's central theme is alienation from other cultures and one's own, and it's remarkable how the director hits the right note from the very start.... full review
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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
Warning: this section has some details that could distort your experience while watching the movie. I strongly recommend reading this only after you have seen the movie or if you have decided not to see it.
Ashoke (Irrfan Khan) and Ashima (Tabu) get married the arranged marriage way. Ashima goes to New York with Ashoke who is studying there. They do well for themselves and start a family. The story then goes on to show the various facets of their relationship with their children.
Update: Corrected spelling mistake - 'Ashim' replaced by 'Ashima'. Thanks Ashima (Comment #1).