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The Namesake (2006)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  6 April 2007 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 15,939 users   Metascore: 82/100
Reviews: 115 user | 167 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

American-born Gogol, the son of Indian immigrants, wants to fit in among his fellow New Yorkers, despite his family's unwillingness to let go of their traditional ways.



(screenplay), (novel)
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3 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »



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Cast overview, first billed only:
Gogol / Nikhil
Moushumi Mazumdar
Sahira Nair ...
Jagannath Guha ...
Ruma Guha Thakurta ...
Ashoke's Mother
Sandip Deb ...
Music Teacher
Sukanya ...
Tanushree Shankar ...
Ashima's Mother
Sabyasachi Chakraborty ...
Ashima's Father
Tamal Ray Chowdhury ...
Ashoke's Father
Dhruv Mookerji ...


While traveling by train to visit his grandfather in Jamshedpur, Calcutta born, Bengali-speaking Ashoke Ganguli meets with fellow-traveler, Ghosh, who impresses upon him to travel, while Ashoke is deep into a book authored by Nicholai Gogol. The train meets with an accident, and after recuperating, Ashoke re-locates to America, settles down, returns home in 1977 to get married to aspiring singer, Ashima, and returns home to New York. Shortly thereafter they become parents of a boy, who they initially name Gogol, and a few years later both give birth to Sonia. The family then buy their own house in the suburbs and travel to India for the first time after their marriage. The second time they travel to India is when Gogol and Sonia are in their late teens, and after a memorable visit to Kolkata and then to the Taj Mahal, they return home. Gogol falls in love with Maxine Ratliff and moves in with her family, while Ashoke spends time traveling, and Sonia moves to California, leaving Ashima... Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

india | train | singer | parents | death | See All (41) »


Two Worlds. One Journey. See more »



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexuality/nudity, a scene of drug use, some disturbing images and brief language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:






| | |

Release Date:

6 April 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El buen nombre  »

Filming Locations:


Box Office

Opening Weekend:

$248,552 (USA) (9 March 2007)


$13,569,248 (USA) (3 August 2007)

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The novel's author (Jhumpa Lahiri) and much of her extended family were used in party/funeral scenes for the family in the U.S. because Mira Nair stayed at Lahiri's home and met much of her family. She thought they had a look she was trying to achieve, and that they were lovely people. See more »


After the family reaches Kolkata by air they are shown traveling in a taxi on the Howrah bridge entering the city, but one does not have to cross the bridge to enter the city from the airport because both the airport and the city lie on the same side of the river Ganga. See more »


[first lines]
Man: Mm, what are you reading?
Ashoke Ganguli: Hm? "The Overcoat", by Gogol.
See more »

Crazy Credits

The first end credit is 'For our parents who gave us everything' and names of presumably the cast & crews' parents appear before the cast list. See more »


Featured in Siskel & Ebert: Episode dated 10 March 2007 (2007) See more »


Ye Mera Divanapan Hai
Written by Shankarsingh Raghuwanshi, Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal (as Shankar Jaikishan) and Shahryar (as Sharyar)
Performed by Susheela Raman
Courtesy of Narada Productions, Inc.
Under license from EMI Film & Television Music
(played in the scene of Kal Penn's wedding night)
See more »

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User Reviews

Best Movie So Far in 2007
20 March 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As another proof that some of the recent award recipients have nothing to do with quality, here comes an assured and delicate piece of film-making that will probably not be honoured in the fair manner it deserves in next year's awards' frenzy. Just the other night, I had the pleasured to see an accomplished film for the second time: "Inside Man", and my jaw dropped when I realized that it was mysteriously absent in any "best of" celebrations. Regardless of what happens in about one year, audiences should not deny themselves the transcendental experience from seeing a movie that recognizes the beauty inside families and how their relationships are a mixture of inner and external pressures; only to all boil down to one word: Love.

As the title indicates, most of the storyline originates from a very peculiar name, and how it seems to affect the main protagonist. As the plot unfolds, we become involved in a sophisticated, almost flawless, and touching, without being maudlin masterpiece. With stunning camera work, a spiritual and moving score, and astounding performances by the entire cast, we learn to identify the universal values that this marvelous film highlights.

What is truly miraculous in the film is how its director weaves a story from the incongruities between two cultures that couldn't be any more different from each other, and yet, they are mirror reflections of each other. We all cry, feel happiness and disappointment. As our characters grow and change, we feel their sense of wonder, joy, and grief. Seeing them celebrate breaks down any resistance we might have to whatever foreign quality this movie might be. It's exotic, inviting, showing us that we share more than we think. In "The Namesake", a Russian name becomes essential to some of the tribulations of a Hindu American young man. It anchors the love that originates between a mother and her children. As Ashima adjusts to her new surroundings, she manages to hold on her traditions, as she learns to cope with the changes that she can't stop. In the end, she delivers one of the most inspirational speeches in movie history, and we can't do nothing but witness a superb dramatic performance come full circle. Many in Hollywood might feel a tinge of envy as her is an actress that charms us in spite of apparently not trying very hard. Her character is lovely, strong, and sometimes reads like a collection of the best moments in every female great role in the last century. She embodies the best of Scarlett O'Hara, the pain and frustration of Sophie in "Sophie's Choice", some of the regal qualities of Helen Mirren in "The Queen", and she can even sing and makes us laugh, all when a screenplay that addresses the lives of one regular family in New York.

"The Namesake" deserves every single of the kudos people decide to give it. It's a brilliant film, based on an outstanding piece of fiction, and that one that never struggles to be anything else but faithful to its source material, and whose heart never stops beating, with a real and magnificent heart.

Run and enjoy some of the best moments of your life.

57 of 68 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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