This film takes you on a range of emotions. The only reason I could not give this film 5 stars is because I though, (as is the case with more Bollywood films), it was too long and tried to do too much I would have preferred them to have made 2 films possible like they did for Kill bill. The acting is great Shahrukh Khan is the Tom Cruz of Bollywood a chameleon who can play any role; he and Kajol have always had incredible on screen chemistry. So much so that people always assumed they were a real couple.
Shahrukh plays a high functioning Asperger's syndrome sufferer called Ritswan Khan, as always he plays the role perfectly, due to his condition he is bullied in school, and take up most of his mother's time at home much to the chagrin of his younger brother. Excelling academically with a private tutor, he will always have problems with social interaction and relationships. His brother moves to American and after their mother pass away we brings him to America as well. Khan narrates the film in the past tense giving an ominous warning something very bad has happened.
From here the film of 2 parts start. The first is Khans trying to find acceptance of himself and his condition from the people in America, and the affections of Kajol. This is the happy family film I and I would be glad if the film finished here. The second apart is Khan's struggle in post 9/11 America. Desperate to get his message out that even though his name is Khan he is not a terrorist. This is that dark part of the film, there are moments when that are still up lifting but they are few and far between. There are important messages in this film, but I would have like to watch this part separately. However I can see why they were done together. It is more and ending for justice than a happy ending.
My Name is Khan is a moving, beautiful film about an Indian Muslim with aspergers who moves to America and falls in love. After 9/11, he and his Hindu partner's lives are completely changed and they suffer a terrible tragedy that threatens to destroy their relationship. Khan, because his aspergers has the tendency to make him literal and innocent, decides that he will try and speak with the president of the united states and let him know that not all muslims are terrorists. He begins a long and difficult journey to do so, and in doing so changes the lives of many people he meets.
This is a movie with a message. It's a beautiful, much needed message that is perfect for our current situation. Because of this, I think the parts of the movie that are a little soppy and over the top can be forgiven. This is a movie to make you feel good about mankind. It takes you right down to the bottom of the barrel to get there, but ultimately it wants to show you the loving side of humanity.
Shah Rukh Khan is on excellent form here. His portrayal of a man with aspergers is brilliant - neither comic or distasteful, I thought it was well played, and to my (untrained) eye it seemed quite realistic. The chemistry between him and Kajol is not as sizzling hot as in their previous movies, but that wouldn't be suitable for this delicate, hearfelt story anyway. Instead they have a sweet romance that you will root for all the way through the film.
Now let's move on to what was not so good about the film. One point that made me cringe was the sterotypical portrayal of African Americans. I'm sure that no harm was meant by it, but for me it did spoil certain parts of the film a little. Another criticism would be that I felt Kajol's character became slightly unlikeable as the film went on. I know she was in wracked by grief, but I thought that she behaved overly harshly towards her husband. Still, I guess it's not all that unlikely a human response, so I suppose it's a valid way to show the character. Finally, I should add that certain bits of the film are a little over the top. However, I think it is important to see past this to the message within - after all, it is a film, not a documentary.
Overall, I would reccomend this film. Some people have complained that it is boring and preachy and unrealistic and not very good. I think they are missing the point. This is not another big block busting Bollywood action film about money and girls and cars. It's not a lurid fantasy. This is a serious film about the relationship between muslims and the rest of the world. It's not trying to make you think in a certain way, it's not trying to shove anything down your throat. It's just telling the tale of a remarkable man who did good deeds even though his life was full of suffering. And he just happened to be muslim.
This is without doubt one of the greatest films I've ever watched and I more than recommend it. If you've never seen anything from Bollywood than this is the best place to start. It's a little similar to Forrest Gump, only if that was about being essentially american, then this story goes one better because it is about being essentially human. A young man with Asperger's Syndrome makes his way through life from India to San Francisco and changes the world. I laughed, cried, sobbed, smiled, hated, loved and even had to stop watching for five minutes to shout out the window and re-evaluate my life. The strange thing is, that although Khan's performance is superb, there are director cuts that are a little bit sketchy, and 'some' translation issues, but it never matters. This is the film of the decade in my opinion and quite frankly, the best thing I've watched in years. It changed me, and there's not many films that can do that.
You can imagine the family reaction when my wife suggested this movie....we have two boys and the last thing they wanted on family movie night was a Bollywood movie. How many dress changes and random dances would there be? How corny would the storyline be? How stereotyped would the characters be? And how long would the movie be? How we fought to avoid this film.
How wrong we were....
Amazon classifies this film as a 'Bollywood' movie - do not let that put you off. This film tackles issues (Asperger's) rarely covered in Indian films - or indeed in Western films. It does it with a sensitivity and depth of acting rarely seen. Shahrukh Khan shows depths that are rarely seen by any actors. The delicate and sensitive way in which the whole issue is played is heart wrenching.
At the core of the film this is a romantic film, set in the US of a Muslim boy meeting and falling in love with a Hindu girl - but it deals with multiple other issues from how Muslims are stereotyped by society; how siblings of AS sufferers feel and how an individual with AS deals with the world.
It may appear slow paced but it is endearing and engaging. That it could keep our kids engaged throughout is a tribute to the quality of the cast, the script and the director.
The film also brilliantly raises multiple issues about society, assumption, segregation and stereotyping. I feel the film deserves much more recognition than it has received - I highly recommend it for a family movie night. Indeed I am surprised it did not win any Oscars.
It is suitable for Western / English speaking audiences.
I have Aspergers and was in tears watching this film.The movie portrays what it is like to have Aspergers and some of what we go through-the airport scene is the sort of treatment we receive,though not just at airports.I an Irish but live in England and went through a lot of the same harrassment and racism in the 1980s and 1990s (when the IRA were active) as Khan does in this movie.
I'd been wanting to see this or a while and only managed to get the chance tonight. I was expecting a lot, as the trailer made it seem inspirational, and recommendations from friends only enforced that expectation. I have to say that not only were my expectations met, but they were surpassed. It is a truly beautiful film in every possible way. The story it has to tell, the way it is shot, the actors and their characters, the overall feel of the film is just absolutely stunning. I was taken on a rollercoaster ride of emotion as one moment I would be laughing my head off, and the next I'd be literally in tears. This film is not just here to entertain and make money (although I'm hoping it does a lot of both), but it sends out a very important and poignant message about the image of Islam in the world since the shocking and terrible events of 9/11. Not just Islam, but it sends out a message about all religion with the use of a very simple statement; "Good people who do good deeds. Bad People who do bad. There is no other difference". Such a strong message to send and it says something so simple. We're all human and regardless of the religion we live by or the culture we have, our deeds are what make us good or bad people and not those labels applied by those other parts of our lives.
The story follows the journey of Rizwan Khan (Shah Rukh Khan), a Muslim man with Asperger's Syndrome as he writes a letter to his wife Mandira (Kajol) while he is on a journey to give the President of the United States a message; "My Name Is Khan, and I am not a Terrorist". Through this letter he is writing, we come to learn about the emotions he truly feels and can't express when speaking due to his condition. We learn about his upbringing with his brother Zakir and his Mother in Mumbai, his arrival in America to work with his brother and his eventual falling in love with the woman who would be his wife, Mandira. Rizwan achieves the impossible. He has made a happy life for himself in America and kept a promise he made to his Ammi. This happiness is not to last, however, as the tragedy of 9/11 occurs turning Riwan and Mandira's life upside down in very frightening and tragic ways. The stereotyping of the Muslim terrorist begins to make its mark on the couple and put a strain on their relationship but, one day things hit rock bottom and their son, Sameer (Yuvaan Makaar) is killed in a racially motivated attack. This is the final straw and the relationship breaks apart and Rizwan is told to leave and in the heat of the moment, only to return when he has given the message to the US President.
Out of my little description, I've missed out so much. There's a lot to take in from this film and something that you will enjoy as the film runs. Shah Rukh Khan deserves a very prestigious western award for his role in this film. Possibly even going as high up as an Oscar (although I'm sure there's some rule that would prevent that from ever happening) as his performance is magnificent and he is truly deserving of wider recognition in the western world. He steals the show as the personality and mannerisms of the character are maintained beautifully throughout, from the twitching of the neck to simply the way he speaks. There are times when his traits are hilarious, and others when they are frankly annoying. But you never lose sight of the genuine and caring nature of this character and you become adoring of his flaws as they simply vale what is a very sweet personality.
This, in a sense, gives you more of a respectful understanding of the condition and how difficult it may be to cope with, especially in social circumstances, when you want to say something, but simply cannot express it the way you want. The message of everyone being simply being defined as being part of one of two groups, good or bad people, is one that I truly admire and taking on the topic of religion during such a raw and emotional time, and offering it from the perspective of an Asian family is a very brave and meaningful move.
A beautiful film with a beautiful message, and by far the best film I've ever had the pleasure of watching.
I love Bollywood films and this was no exception. It reminded me an awful lot of Forest Gump; in that both of them are heroes who triumph despite their social limitations or,indeed, maybe because of them?
I found MNIK very painful to watch at times because those who have no understanding of autism/Asp.syndrome are quick to write sufferers off as slow-witted, which is so not the case. Many AS sufferers are very high-functioning people, who simply have an alternative way of looking at the World, one that scientists are realising confers some advantages over non-sufferers. They are very literal and don't always understand the nuances of social interaction, hence they tell the often, brutal truth! They don't realise that it can be offensive although sometimes it can be refreshingly honest!
It also touched upon how siblings of AS sufferers feel neglected or less important when their parent's attention is focused so heavily on the child with AS, or any limiting condition for that matter! It must be so difficult for the parents to have a child that can't bear to be touched as your natural instinct is to want to hug your child.
This film dealt with so many different issues woven throughout the plot that it wasn't until afterwards that I really started to think about them in detail. Because there was so much hatred towards the 9/11 terrorists no-one really stopped to think about the impact on the Muslim communities in US and elsewhere. I imagine that Hindus and Sikhs probably suffered too, just by dint of looking Asian. When a nation is angry and in mourning they want someone to blame for their pain & anguish, thus high emotion forsakes rationality!
The moral of this story is that you should be judged for your humanity not your race or religion. It is a very powerful, thought-provoking film; sometimes extremely painful to watch, sometimes funny but one that I don't think can fail to leave some sort of impression on you!
I noticed a few reviewers have complained about the fact the film is subtitled because it's in Hindi. It's primarily aimed at an Indian audience so it's only fair it's in Hindi, just as Hollywood films are always in English because of it's target audience - namely Americans. I didn't find the subtitles detracted from the film and you do acclimatise to them quite quickly!
In summary, the movie was a great watch. The story is very deep and insightful, the acting was spot on and the story is great. I was at the edge of my seat many times during watching this movie and enjoyed it very much. Highly recommend this movie to anyone who is in the mood of watching a movie with a great story and plot.