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The Namesake More at IMDbPro »

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The Namesake is a pretty interesting movie

Author: Argemaluco from Argentina
27 September 2007

On her career,director Mira Nair has shaken the ''taste'' of Indian films(also known as Bollywood)with a European style which made them more accessible to a lot of spectators.Also,Nair's interest goes beyond of showing us the Indian culture because her films do not all of them focus on Indian characters but they focus on other cultures,like the Cuban one(like The Perez Family)or the African one(Missisipi Massala).But,most of her films focus on the Indian culture(which include excellent films like Salaam Bombay,Kama Sutra:A Tale of Love and Monsoon Wedding).After the economic success of Monsoon Wedding,Nair made the boring and cold film Vanity Fair,which represented a false move on her career.But,now,she makes a better work in The Namesake which is a very interesting film which is focused on the subjects she is best on:the Indian culture and the crash between tradition and modernity.The best thing I can say about The Namesake is how natural the story is which does not have exaggerated drama or cheap sentimentalism to produce feelings on the spectator.The fail I found on this film is that there are a lot of jumps of time which confuse a little.But,still with that,The Namesake is a totally interesting film which tells a deep story which does not have cheap sentimentalism and it can produce feelings on the spectator.I recommend The Namesake.

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To each his own

Author: from_christmas_past from United States
9 September 2007

lets face it. It is not an easy job to adapt a book into a movie, not especially if the book spans over generations. Mira Nair faced an uphill task. Adding to her problems was the structure of the book. There is no clear ending, no dramatic incidents to forcefully lead one phase to the next. When you turn this piece into a movie, it is so easy for people to come out and complain that nothing happened in the movie.

Namesake does a commendable job in remaining faithful to the book. The incidents (or the lack of thereof) are religiously recreated, and no major changes are made in the narrative order. But, the book is more than just the story. It is the mood it creates that makes it so haunting. Namesake the book scores the most in the voice of truism that commentates on the progress of the story. It is not surprising to find so few dialogues in the book. The reason a third person narrative is used is because the writer understands that each event has to have a background, intimate detailing and deep analysis. And it is in these impersonal (to characters) statements, you find the beauty of Namesake.

To me, the movie does not do more than just telling the story. effectively, it fails to recreate the mood of the book. You would still love it if you have read the book. You know the inspiration behind each move, and you are just happy to see pictures that were only in your brain come to life. Namesake the movie is like a good supplement. It enhances the effect of its parent source (the book), but is useless without the latter. As a stand-alone movie, Namesake fails because it just does not explain much. I understand that it is not possible to do that enough through cinema, after all, the story has to be told. Namesake is just a bad book to adapt. Its character asks for impossible movie adaptation.

You may adore namesake is if you have read the brilliant book behind it or if appreciating lead performances in a movie is the sole purpose of watching. The movie is vividly filmed and visually top-notch. but if you don't read the book before watching the movie, you are not doing justice to either.

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Gem of a film

Author: sajupj from england
6 September 2007

Is there anything bad in this film? I can not think of anything that was out of place.Everything was just right. Nothing missed, Nothing embellished.Nothing flashy, just ordinary life with its pathos.Sensitive and saddening just like many of the NRIs life.All the actors has done extremely well.The scenes flow despite the gaps in chronological time, smoothly.This is without doubt,Mira Nair's best film and one which will be remembered for a very long time.I had given up my hope after seeing her recent films, but this shows she is back in business.Go and see it if you have not!. I have given it an eight because the story is reminiscent of my life, but even if my experience was not there I would have easily given a seven.Truly a great film.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Left me Gogol-eyed

Author: laclarke
8 November 2007

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I loved this film. It was moving and funny, and the characters were interesting. It wasn't quite as engaging dramatically as it could have been, but the generation and culture gaps were well captured and on the whole it was colourful, entertaining and even sexy ("What happened to you?" "I went to Paris" .... whew!) which for some reason I wasn't expecting in an Indian film. The only thing missing might have been a musical performance from Gogol's mother. More importantly, the next time I was in a bookshop I picked up a copy of Gogol's tales, which is one of the funniest books I have read in years!.. although I haven't quite worked out what it has to do with the film - yet.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

The Movie Namesake--Something "Different"

Author: hb_53 from United States
14 May 2007

My wife and I attended this movie because it was the only one showing that we didn't have to wait an hour to see at the time we showed up at the movie-plex. It turned out to be a breath of fresh air from the usually raucous, noisy, violence-filled plot we often see in American movies these days.

The movie makes us think of valuable things we have that we usually take for granted. For example, in her first letter back home to India, recent Indian immigrant, Ashima Ganguli is delighted that she has "gas for 24 hours a day," unlike India where it is rationed. Although she lives in a slum of New York, she seems unaware and says that she has a wonderful home in New York. This is understandable when you consider she is from Calcutta, one of the poorest cities of the world. The movie does not dwell on the dangers of living in a New York slum, and this is well, for it would not have fitted into the plot.

The movie underscores the struggle that many immigrants face. They are torn between trying to maintain their culture and moral values from their homeland and adopting (or assimilating into) American culture.

The title derives from the namesake of Ashima's son, Gogol Ganguli. He got it in he hospital where he was born where his parents' were pressured to give him a name before leaving the hospital. His father, Ashoke Ganguli, chose "Gogol" the famous Russian writer because he was reclining on a passenger seat reading Gogol's story, The Overcoat when the train wrecked, killing most of the passengers. Perhaps he attributed his survival to the novel. Throughout the movie, Ashoke's son, Gogol, complains of his name and doesn't understand why it was given him. He adopts the American name, Nick, concealing his real one from his friends.

The story also underscores the oft rebellious children of immigrants who cannot relate to their parents culture.

I highly recommend this as "something different" in a movie that will hold the viewer's interest, and perhaps draw a tear or two, as well as help many of us better understand a group of immigrants that are quite common among us.

--Walter LeCroy

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Poetic yet very real!!

Author: Shashwat Badoni from India
13 April 2007

Can Indians who are so obsessed with commercial potboilers create art, paint a picture so pure that you feel honesty oozing out of every frame? Can a story possible have characters and not actors? I have been a fan of Mira Nair ever since I saw Monsoon Wedding which even after all these years remains my all time fav movie in its genre. A 'Salaam Bombay' later Mira Nair movies remain the most anticipated watch for me. I had heard a lot about The Namesake from almost everyone who matters, which cannot be good cause you sort of feel compelled to like a movie, you try not to find faults cos it can make you less intelligent in the eyes of the connoisseurs, so i was skeptical to say the least as I was going with a lot of expectations. Once the titles rolled I forgot everything and was submerged in a beautiful experience. The Namesake traces the journey of Gogol Ganguli from being an ABCD ie American Born Confused Desi for the uninitiated to being liberated. Meanwhile parallel tracks trace the lives of Ashima Ganguli and Ashoke Ganguli her husband. Their life together, separated by death, brought together again by love. There is not a lot more you can talk about the story cause it is essentially very simple, yet very complex and beyond words. You have to see it to understand it. The characterization was simply superb with each and every character etched superbly, even the backdrop taken could not be separated from the story, it was as if New York and Calcutta were characters who talked thro' their architecture, their culture, their people. As for the performance I would go as far as saying no one was acting they were characters and with them the audience became the character, laughing when they laughed, crying when they cried. The settings were surreal, the dialogues were poetic yet there was not one point where the movie went overboard into schmaltzy. Finally when I left the hall, I didn't want to look like X,Y,Zee or be rich like Mr.Tom, I just wanted to live life in all its purity. That is what Namesake did to me. May be it doesn't touch anyone the way it touched me. May be this review looks maudlin and overwrought with sentiments but trust me if you can see what I saw which unfortunately I can't express, you'll never regret it. Highly recommended!!

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

I liked your shoes

Author: David Ferguson ( from Dallas, Texas
9 April 2007

Greetings again from the darkness. Director Mira Nair is so very adept at capturing the emotions within Indian culture. Her stout resume includes "Monsoon Wedding", "Mississippi Masala" and "Salaam Bombay". Somehow "The Namesake" may be her best work yet. Certainly it is her most detailed and intimate.

The touching and very moving story revolves around an Indian couple who live in NYC after marriage in India. As they raise their kids and come to grips with the American way, the wisdom of both parents is inspiring to behold. Irfan Khan plays the dad, Ashoke, and the beautiful Tabu plays Ashima, the mother. Both performances are remarkable and textured and subtle and provide the soul of the film.

Most of the story involves their son, Gogol, played by Kal Penn in his best performance to date. Born and raised in the U.S., it takes awhile for him to embrace his heritage and really appreciate his remarkable parents. Touching, sincere moments occur as life just happens to strengthen the bonds within the family.

Sadly, the film will probably not be seen by a wide American audience, but for those who make the effort, the reward is an excellent, intelligent film by a truly expert filmmaker.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Very subtle

Author: johhhnnny from United States
8 April 2007

I was wanting to see this film after reading a number of good reviews on IMDb. Today was a day I will remember for quite some time.

The story delves and gives an insight on what really goes behind when a family has made a choice of leaving their home country for good.

There are many reasons as I believe that connects the movie to the audience. Its a very realistic portrayal of lives of a lot of people who have had a situation like this. This is also one of the most beautiful movies with a very excellent characterization of a middle class family, which has to face the constant battle of seeing their kids through till they have earned a good life. I can swear from my personal experience that had I been just in India and not exposed to what it takes or how it feels being in a different country with a different culture, I wouldn't have ever appreciated the movie as much as I do now. May be my fallacy. I loved it for the subtlety in which character portrayal has been made. The way the story unfolds and how the philosophy of 'everything comes out of the Overcoat' is tremendous.

This is a kind which you really don't want to validate with your mind but one with an open heart. It has its moments of joy and sorrow. It really connects if you implant yourself in to the heart of the characters, which the movie facilitates. You will feel the joy and the pain despite being in the theatre seat. I couldn't believe like the character 'Ashima' when she hears that husband who was fine till evening died of an heart attack. I could hear the loud sigh of a lot of beautiful human beings in the theatre who I am sure were well connected with the lively character played by Tabu. I find myself unable to recollect the last movie, which had an impact as deep as this one. It is joyous in its own way as it shows how an incident in the life changes the approach of Gogol towards life in total. It is so inspiring as it gives thought on how understanding the couple were towards each other and the kids as they grew. I think the highlights brought out by creating a parallelism when comparing the two cultures were just to add fun and not at all demeaning. I loved it every time they did that. I am going to see it again:-)

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Mira Nair Scores Again: POSSIBLE SPOILERS

Author: ( from Washington, D.C.
6 April 2007

The ever green story of immigrants trying to integrate into a new culture while preserving their ties to the old has turned recently to immigrants from India to the United States or Great Britain. Although it has had several distinguished predecessors, The Namesake is unquestionably the best. Mira Nair, who proved her versatility with Vanity Fair, has drawn outstanding performances from all the principles, Ifran Khan and Tabu and Kal Penn. The tale covers 20+ years beginning with an arranged marriage between Kahn and Tabu and continuing with the attempt of their son, Kal Penn, to break with the traditional ways and marry an American girl of his own choosing. His father's sudden death changes everything and he decides to marry another émigré -- a marriage that turns out badly. The action moves from India to New York and then back and forth between the two countries and cultures. Nair handles it all deftly -- the loneliness and gradual adaptation of the parents, the rebellions and reconciliations, the decision of the forty-ish widow (Tabu) to split her time between India and the United States. Over the years, some of Nair's actors have "made it" outside India, others have not. But she regularly returns, and her sensibility makes her one of the most interesting movie makers of our time.

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1 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

Beautiful, sensitive film adaptation - award material?

Author: armstrongd_uk from United Kingdom
4 April 2007

Just returned from seeing the film in London. Both my wife and I had read the novel previously, and have usually been disappointed by adaptations, but this is a truly excellent one which captures the essence. Congratulations to Mira Nair.

Irfan Khan and the exquisite Tabu were both absolutely sensational, and in my humble opinion I believe each delivered award-meriting performances, making the transition from Bollywood to the west with consummate ease. I shall hope to see both featuring in future movies.

Kal Penn was also superb as Gogol. But every aspect was excellent. Would this film be eligible for Best Foreign film Oscar?

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