The Namesake

on Tuesday, April 5, 2011

title :The Namesake
actors :Irrfan Khan , Tabu , Kal Penn
directed by :Mira Nair

The film tells the story of an expatriate Indian couple living in New York. The story begins in early 70s. Ashoke Ganguly (Irrfan Khan ) marries a Kolkata girl, Ashima ( Tabu ) and they emigrate to the US. It takes some time for Ashima to adjust to the lifestyle of the west.

A few years down the line, Ashima gives birth to a son, Gogol, and a daughter, Sonia.

Thereafter begins the tale of slow but unreceding conflict within Gogol ( Kal Penn ), who finds himself torn between the western lifestyle in the American society all around him and the Indian culture in his home. His friends poke fun at his unusual name. Overtime, Gogol begins to dislike his own name and his traditional parents.

In order to find an identity of his own, Gogol changes his name to Nikhil, or Nick, and begins dating a white girl (Jacinda Barrett), thereby openly going against the wishes of his parents who want him to settle down with a Bengali girl.

On the other hand, Gogol's father Ashoke stands as a liberal minded man who sticks to his roots and his values without shunning the western culture.

One meeting with his father Ashoke begins to change Gogol's life. In the meeting, Ashoke explains to him why he was named Gogol, (after Ashoke's favourite author Nikolai Gogol). A tragic incident that changed Ashoke's life in 1971 prompted him to name his son Gogol.

The story then comes to a crucial point when Ashoke dies of heart attack, leaving Ashima alone and shattered. His father's death brings new realizations to the prodigal son. Now, Gogol begins to see and realize who he really is.

Irrfan Khan and Tabu are simply superb together. Irrfan gives a controlled, understated performance while Tabu is highly expressive even when she is not delivering any dialogues. Kal Penn gives a decent performance. Jacinda Barrett is competent.

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