Film Review: The Namesake

13 Apr

Plot: The story of the Ganguli family whose move from Calcutta to New York evokes a lifelong balancing act to meld to a new world without forgetting the old. Though parents Ashoke and Ashima (Irrfan Khan, Tabu) long for the family and culture that enveloped them in India, they take great pride in the opportunities their sacrifices have afforded their children.

I had not planned to watch a movie at all this week so I can start working on my college coursework but if you know me, you know I will be procrastinating. So I was in the middle of having a nap when my friend Sue decides on a spur of the moment to go out and just watch any film. We opted for The Namesake at the Cineworld in Wood Green as she is not sure how to get to Canary Wharf driving as we’re so used to taking the 277 bus to get there. After fellow filmstalker Ram gave it a glowing review on his site I was already looking forward to see it. So how did my first experience of watching an Indian film go?

The Namesake was beautiful and I really enjoyed every minute of it. I have seen Nair’s previous work in Vanity Fair and really liked her use of opulent sets, vibrant colours and images to tell a story, here she uses the same style but toned down and it worked quite well. I was instantly drawn to Ashoke and Ashima and their struggles living in a foreign country, I can relate to this easily having left home and having to adopt the British way of life. The only difference is that they have each other when I only had myself, now my life is another movie altogether. I just had to say this, I’m not even sure if it was in the novel, and I am referring to the scene were Gogol was listening to Pearl Jam as Once played loudly in his basement room as his father gave him his graduation gift.

The acting ensemble in this film was great and the film is truly powerful in its message that the greatest journeys are the ones that bring you home. We may try to live out of the shadow of who we are and where we came from but it’s accepting this realities that ultimately sets us free.

The Namesake: 4/5

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4 Responses to “Film Review: The Namesake”

  1. _ram-jaane' April 14, 2007 at 10:16 am #

    Don’t you find you come out thinking, yea, I should hangout with my family more .. and then don’t bother .. 🙂

    Glad you enjoyed it. I’d call this a semi-Indian film though, and an arty one at that. You’ve still to experience the out & out larger than life Bollywood. 🙂 Soon I’m sure ..

  2. Simone April 14, 2007 at 12:59 pm #

    Well you know what Ram, Filipinos are similar to Indians when it comes to family, as in we are also close knit. I am very close to my parents and with my siblings and when I was still back home we always hang out it’s just that I am living so far away from all of them now, but that’s all going to change soon.

    I saw your review of Provoked and might catch that one too, I surely will see one or two Bollywood films. 🙂

  3. Jonathan April 19, 2007 at 4:40 am #

    My girlfriend recently finished reading the book, but neither of us really have much hope for this movie with Kumar or Harold or whoever he is starring in it.

    We’ll give it a chance when it comes to DVD though, I am sure, if not because of the praise you are giving it!

  4. Simone April 19, 2007 at 1:36 pm #

    Jonathan, you must be referring to Kal Penn – I havent seen Harold & Kumar and I dont blame you if you couldnt take him seriously but he was actually fantastic in this film. Can you please ask the gf (hello!) if it’s worth reading the book, I wouldnt mind though having enjoyed the film version.

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