Sunday, February 14, 2010


I don’t know what Karan Johar exactly had in mind while writing and making this film. Maybe He wanted to make a ‘real’ film. A lot more ‘natural’ style of film-making he wanted to adapt perhaps.

Because till about 2/3rd of the film, My Name is Khan has everything going for it very well. The K-JO ingredients are very much there, but with a touch of groundedness we don’t really associate with him.

Its almost decidedly restrained, but works very well. The humour is charming, not the loud-types.

The film is very well made on a basic level, and the other aspects never interfere the narration. The Camerawork and Sets work so well in the background, without trying to draw your attention.

And above all, there is a general feel-good vibe about the environment which keeps a smile on your face.

Rizwan Khan is what keeps you hooked. His character is the soul of the film, and what infuses life in this soul is Shah Rukh Khan’s terrific performance. SRK isn’t loud for a change, and his sheer sincerity looks through. These 2 Khans is what ties the film together (until Johar decides to get to the point, that is)

The writing is remarkable for a large part of the film. I liked the fact that There *WAS* an English family who didn’t turn their back to Rizwan and Mandira even after the turning point. Even their son is only angry on the surface, but deep down cares a lot for his mate Sameer.

The ‘Rizwan in custody’ sequence is what stunned me the most.

Its so capable of creating sheer melodrama on screen but is treated in such so well in an under-stated manner and even with a dash of humour (‘They didn’t let me even repair the AC’.. that defines Rizwan Khan in a sentence :) that for a moment I was shocked to realize I am watching a Karan Johar film!!

But where the film unveils its weak cards is when the film sets out to release SRK. Played out too hurriedly, its disheartening to see everybody turn “bad-to-good” and all it takes a line of preaching from someone.

Everybody from a small towner somewhere in India to A Muslim shopkeeper in US to The US President himself is rooting for Rizwan, and there I lost interest in it.

Everything looks so out-of-the-place henceforth, and I just couldn’t stay connected with the film anymore. Add to that the overdone sequence of the entire Georgia fiasco where everyone comes down following Rizwan.

I wondered if this was assigned to Raju Hirani, what magic he could have created. But Johar looks quite comfortable trying to “preach”.

And somewhere in the plot there’s also the angle of ‘Mandira-wanting’justice’. It wants to make a valid point perhaps, but sadly I was too unengaged by then.

The fact that the film feels too long in the 2nd half at times isn’t a flaw as such, but only adds to the uncomfortable position the film had put me by the time it reached its climax.

So What I eventually carried with me is the landmark performance by Shah Rukh Khan. Its in a league of his own – standing proudly up there with Hrithik In Koi Mil Gaya and Rani in Black. Karan Johar may have lost his way, but SRK never does.. and its an unbelievable experience to see him perform in such an internalized manner. [:)]

And for him alone, This film is a memorable watch. Also for Karan Johar’s 2nd sincere attempt in a row on a road-less-travelled. Only if He had his approach clear and confident. :)

On other notes :

I just couldn’t love Kajol the way I do usually. She was great in 1st half (esp. in the light moments – her natural self) but there on seemed to make an effort to act (esp.the outburst scene) And that’s so not her forte :)

I was both happy and sad to see people like Arjun Mathur, Jimmy Shergill and Vinay Pathak in a K-JO film, yet getting wasted. Sonya Jehan managed to make the best of it.

The dialogues are really impressive, and I mean GENUINELY impressive. Particularly loved the conversations Rizwan has with the people on his ‘Journey’.

So Many brilliant scenes I got to see, but will take away the one where Rizwan explains why their Allah will never wish for an innocent’s death. (Hats off, Shah Rukh.. Love you! :)

And many more - The Jail scene (as mentioned earlier).. ‘Time of death.. 8..0..5’.. the entire ‘Noor-e-Khuda’ sequence… These are gems I will go for the 2nd watch to re-cherish :)

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