My Name is Khan: No, it didn’t work for me!

Posted: February 14, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , , ,

It could have been the expectations. There were big statements by SRK and KJo about this being bigger than anything they have done, and what not. About it being a labor of love. And stuff of that kind.

And then the whole SRK-Sena fracas and the question about the possible release of the film in Mumbai. And about how people in Mumbai might be deprived of seeing a masterpiece.

All of this could have been part of the cause of my disappointment.

But only a part. The film just did not deliver and my disappointment came because of that.

But before I get started with my crib sheet, let’s put the good stuff up front. The film was all Shah Rukh Khan. And he does a wonderful job, playing a character with Asperger’s Syndrome. As one with the affliction, the role demands special delivery, and SRK delivers. It is good, it is impressive, as only a role like this can get out of him!

Having said that, if we have to compare with other special characters in films, I would list the following for comparison: Aamir in Ghajani, Hrithik in Koi Mil Gaya, Darsheel Safary in Taare Zameen Par, Ayesha Kapur as the young girl in Black. And I’d believe that all of them did a wonderful job, and SRK in MNIK was somewhere in the middle of this group, certainly not the best there.

But what SRK does well is to constrain his usual style, and put in a tremendously retrained performance as demanded by this role. And which is good.

Kajol looks awesome. Just wish she’d do more films. She has a magnetic personality on screen, and she stands out. Although her role is far smaller than that of SRK, she made it worth seeing the film!

No other character is seriously developed as all of them are bit players compared to SRK. Which is where I start with my crib sheet!

So here’s the exhaustive list of the issues that I have with the film:

1. The point of it! Other than creating sympathy for one suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome, I don’t see the story having any other point. This whole business of all Muslims not being terrorists, I believe, does not need to be told, and when it is told here, appears like one big sermon. For me, the character of Hrithik, and what he had to go through as a city bred Muslim, post Mumbai riots, in the film, Fiza, told a better story! And there must be others like those. MNIK was just one more lecture, of the type you hear from politicians post any terrorist event!

2. The whole point of randomly walking around or going in buses, from one place to another in the US, again without much purpose, also made no sense to me. Ok – what are we trying to prove?

3. Also while I grant the filmmaker, some liberties of stretching facts, when he names places (and he could have easily named other places!), there has to be an understanding of geography. People seem to hop into small town Georgia, all the way from California, or wherever, like it was a 2 hour drive away! Let’s just understand what this distance is like?

4. The scene in the hurricane in Georgia is the most astounding.

– First, in the middle of that hurricane, SRK manages to reach there, like in a hurry, from wherever he was,

– Then, Mamma Jenny asks him to go away! Travel out in that hurricane, back to safety. And like, if he could, why couldn’t they??

– Then the Indian crew of PBS and interns from Star News also wade their way through. And in that hurricane, shoot scenes and project it on live TV. And that’s like the first that the world sees of Khan’s heroices.

– Neither has any kind of official government aid still reached, nor has other mainstream US media reached there. Yet, the place is evidently reachable, as later you see many individual helpers also wade their way in. Including folks from across the country, in California.

Like this place was not a town in modern day USA, but was a small village in Africa, which nobody cared about?!! A little bizarre, I thought.

All in all, there was not much of a story, and these wild extensions were made, to stretch the product to 2.5 hours. Maybe Striker or Road to Sangam drive a better story about the Muslim being, in current times. I haven’t seen either, but have read the storylines, and they seem better. Or a US story with Muslim characters then, is better depicted in thriller, Kurbaan. My Name is Khan does not seem to go anywhere at all!

So except for Shah Rukh’s acting as one with Asperger’s Syndrome, and the rare opportunity these days to see Kajol on screen, there was nothing for me. So much so that I was fidgeting away, tweeting thoughts even while the movie was on. Something I did not need to do in Kurbaan or Harishchandrachi Factory or Ishqiya in recent times. I had gone on a Sunday afternoon, post lunch, with 4 others. Two of them dozed off, for parts of the movie. All this tells me that it did not engross us!

For once, I would propose to those who have not seen the film, that you can safely give it a miss. No, I would not recommend even seeing it once!

  1. simarprit says:

    Sanjay,I agree with you on all the points and I noticed them too but for me entertainment comes first and Yes, I was entertained. I feel if the camera has not be SRK obsessed things may have been better for you too.
    Good post and good review. Thanks.

    • ruby walia says:

      I totally agree with Sanjay.. was not upto the mark, disappointed..Heard a lot about the movie..went with a friend to watch the very first show, as we r biggggggg fans of SRK..I don’t see any strong or gripping storyline..Its a guys if u haven’t watched it & dying to watch, still can wait for the dvd, not worth going to watch in the theatre..would love to go to watch 3 idiots & kurbaan one more time in the theatre..

    • Sanjay Mehta says:

      As we have discussed in the past, I am a little less tolerant. And of course, our tastes are different!

  2. Ajay Dand says:

    Hi Sanjay,
    You made a very pertinent point here. But I would say this is the problem with almost all Indian film makers. They do not take the pains to make sure that the other aspects of the story, other than the main plot, are plausible or practical or not. This certainly makes the story jarring, if you’re looking it from a rational angle. Perhaps the movie makers have yet to realize that many viewers have moved from being emotional to rational and anything can be pushed in the name of entertainment. The same goes for making use of hi-tech computer effects, without paying attention to creating a proper background for their use. The story may be entertaining, but if such kind of inconsistencies creep in, it makes one wonder if the director is taking too much liberty with assumption of the IQ levels of his/her audience. One can understand Johar senior making a movie like that, but coming from KJo is kinda an insult to us the viewers.

    • Sanjay Mehta says:

      Absolutely, Ajay.
      Today’s viewer has access to good, intelligent cinema options, from Bollywood as well as from Hollywood. KJo also values his global audience. You can’t push anything down viewers throats like this!

      SRK made a big deal about KJo’s use of helicopters for camera work, in some interviews. That is like you say, abuse of money and technology. Every now and then, seeing SRK walk in the Arizona desert from the top, or worse, seeing the soccer field from the top, is not so exciting. It was a different thing when such aerial views were taken for Hrithik’s train sequence in Dhoom 2. That was needed and was well done too.

  3. Zana Bault says:

    Cool, there are actually some worthwhile facts on this blog some of my readers may find this worthwhile, I must send a link, thanks.

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