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The Namesake (2006)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  6 April 2007 (USA)
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 15,821 users   Metascore: 82/100
Reviews: 115 user | 167 critic | 33 from

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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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 (

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?


Mira Nair originally wanted Abhishek Bachchan to play the part of Gogol, but changed her mind as she wanted someone who looks like he is raised in the US, so she cast Kal Penn as he was very keen to do the role, and also because Mira Nair's son wanted Kal Penn to do the role. See more »


When the family is in the airport (leaving the US), they're in the International Arrivals (not Departures) area of JFK Airport. See more »


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

Crazy Credits

Kal Penn is credited twice - once as Kal Penn in the role of Gogol, and once as Kalpen Modi (his birth name) in the role of Nikhil. See more »


Referenced in Life in a Metro (2007) See more »


Written by Eddie Vedder and Stone Gossard
Performed by Pearl Jam
Courtesy of Epic Records
By Arrangement with Sony BMG Music Entertainment
See more »

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User Reviews

A very well-shot, vibrant film that captures the nuances of Bengali culture, as well as the loneliness universally felt by all persons.
7 January 2007 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

As a fellow Bengali and Jhumpa Lahiri fan, I had low expectations for a movie adaptation of her poignant novel (though I think The Interpreter of Maladies was better written). However, I was pleasantly surprised when I finally saw the movie at today's NY Times Arts and Leisure Weekend screening. The movie addresses all issues with care, and makes a non-Bengali audience understand the nuances of Bengali culture. The movie captures the hustle and bustle of India, sets the tone of the movie from the very first scene, and, overall, is heartwarming and true. It is humorous at all the right points, and the transition from a loud, vibrant and colorful life to a lonely, cold, and snow-white New York is breathtaking. You can feel Tabu's (Ashima's) loneliness. Jhumpa Lahiri's cameo is well-appreciated, though many in the audience did not catch it. The movie is respectful of Indian culture and uses small instances as canvases for large messages. Everyone is well-cast. Kal Penn shows himself to be capable of more difficult roles than the college-boy stereotype. Tabu and Irrfan Khan do not disappoint, since they are some of the highest-esteemed actors in India today. I felt like going back to Calcutta during all the Indian scenes. Starting the opening credits with the characters of the actors' names replaced with American characters was witty. "Everyday has been a gift, Gogol," Irrfan Khan (Ashok) tells Kal Penn (Gogol) in the movie, but truly, The Namesake is a wonderful gift for its audience, especially since I saw this movie 5 days before my birthday.

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