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The Namesake (2006)

PG-13  |   |  Drama  |  6 April 2007 (USA)
7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 15,609 users   Metascore: 82/100
Reviews: 114 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.

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(screenplay), (novel)
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Title: The Namesake (2006)

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Edit

Cast

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

Storyline

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) »

Taglines:

The greatest journeys are the ones that bring you home. See more »

Genres:

Drama

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:

 »
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Details

Country:

|

Language:

| | |

Release Date:

6 April 2007 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

El buen nombre  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Opening Weekend:

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

Gross:

$13,569,248 (USA) (3 August 2007)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to Kal Penn during an interview on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson (2005), Mira Nair's son and his good friend, who are fans of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle (2004), were adamant that she cast him as Gogol. See more »

Goofs

Early in the film when Gogol's mother and father are sitting together and one of them is holding a letter that they plan to mail to India, there are 2 U.S. stamps on the envelope. These stamps are current (2007) stamps, yet the letters are being mailed in the late 1970's or early 1980's. See more »

Quotes

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

Crazy Credits

For Ritwik Ghatak and Satyajit Ray, the gurus of cinema, with love and salaams. See more »

Connections

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

Soundtracks

Raag Mishra Mel Ki Malhar
Traditional
Performed by Bismillah Khan
Courtesy of Music Today
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User Reviews

 
Moving and beautifully filmed
23 October 2006 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I saw "The Namesake" at the 22nd October screening at the London Film Festival. Mira Nair introduced the film, along with Nitin Sawhney, who wrote the score.

I admit that I loved the book, and therefore have been looking forward to this film for a while. As a second generation Bengali Brit who was born in India and went to university in the US, I know something about what it means to feel displaced, to be a stranger in a strange land, though I have never felt like an immigrant. I also have the Bengali dilemma of having two names. So the book has a lot of resonance for me.

Fortunately the film does full justice to Jhumpa Lahiri's novel. Cramming a story spanning three decades into two hours without making it feel rushed or contrived takes some doing, and Mira Nair paces it beautifully. The cinematography, the editing (juxtaposing Calcutta and New York), and even the colours of the opening credits are all spot on.

The cast are by and large, superb. Kal Penn does really well as the central character, Gogol. Anyone who has seen him in Harold & Kumar and Van Wilder: Party Liaison may have had reservations about a comic actor (albeit talented) playing this part, but he portrays the character as a confused, vulnerable, and multi-layered young man who ultimately learns to become comfortable in his own skin.

But perhaps the main reason why this story appeals to me to so much is the similarity between the experiences of his parents Ashok and Ashima and what I imagine it must have been like for my own parents when they came to England. Both Irfan Khan and Tabu are excellent. They bring a mix of loneliness, hope and pathos to their roles, people who cannot let go of their past but are prepared to sacrifice everything for their future. Their innate ordinariness is what makes their characters so sympathetic and believable.

Much like Monsoon Wedding, this is a visual and lyrical film. It is an essay on home, and on going home, not the physical place, but the state of mind.


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