(From the epiglottis)
[Number whatever in the Bollywood Movie Reviews]
So. The Chicken Goddess and I, as has been mentioned before, were thrilled about seeing My Name Is Khan.
Oh, were we in for a surprise.
First, let me say that we have no issues with SRK or Kajol; as usual, they were charming and delightful to watch. They can make a film a year together for the rest of always. That’d be okay. (It would also be okay if SRK keeps posting photos of himself and his kids to his twitter stream, because he’s completely charming and adorable. He can also keep making guest appearances anywhere he wants, also because he’s completely charming and adorable. So is Kajol, but in a more understated, less public way.)
Allow us to sum up.
[WARNING: Contains ALL plot spoilers and represents strong opinions through the use of hyperbole and sarcasm. You may choose to read or not, but consider yourself warned before reading.]
There’s this guy. His name is Rizvan Khan. Kkkkkkhhhhhaaaaaan. He has Asperger’s Syndrome. His brother hates him and resents that his mother spends more time with him. So his brother moves to America and then tries to get Rizvan and his mother to move, only the mother dies so Rizvan moves to America. And to make money, he gets a job doing something really great and non-uncomfortable for someone with Aspergers – he is a salesman! selling products to people at loud hair salons! human interaction! perfect!
So, anyway. Then he meets this hot hairstylist (Kajol) who has a son and he falls in love and convinces her to marry him, you know, like you do, and they have sex because he read how to do it in a book. You know, like you do.
And then comes 9/11. Shit hits the fan, metaphorically speaking. Mandira loses her shop and a seemingly unrelated Sikh takes off his turban and cuts his hair and the Secret Brotherhood of White Men kills Mandira’s son with a soccer ball. Let me tell you, we felt like a couple of blue-eyed devils after this scene. Mandira is upset and tells Rizvan to go tell President Bush “My name is Khan and I’m not a terrorist.” Because he is a literalist, he goes on a quest to do this.
On the way, he goes from Kentucky to Georgia by way of New Mexico (they’re next to each other, you know), and all of a sudden the movie turns into the Song of the South, featuring Mama Jenny and Funny-Haired Joe. (aaaaaaaugh – is this serious? really? “You are now leaving reality. Please keep your seat backs and tray tables in the upright and locked position.” Yeesh.)
At this point we were both thinking, Please don’t go back to Georgia! Pleeeeease.
Oh, was were we ever wrong. We’ll get to that later, though.
He makes it to see President Bush, only he yells “I’m not a terrorist” around white people, who obviously hear “terrorist” (white people! overreact!) and he gets arrested, after which he spends lots of time in a cell being alternately hot and cold, tortured by a very theatrical government agent. Some enterprising young Indian reporters have gotten footage of the rally and want to tell Rizvan’s story. None of the evil and uncaring American reporters will listen! But they find a sympathetic Sikh television anchor who agrees to help them after they shame him for giving up his turban post 9/11 (remember the seemingly unrelated scene? surprise! related!) and lo, Rizvan is sprung!
But wait – there’s more!
Rizvan makes his way to Los Angeles and while there, discovers that “Georgia” is in the grips of a terrible hurricane! (Having been through Katrina with her family, the CG was not offended at all. Noooo.) And as the town has been built in a quarry, it is underwater! Rizvan goes to help Mama Jenny, wading bravely through flood waters (herein begins the two-day soaking wet scene, which might be SRK’s longest wet scene yet) to the church, where all the poor country folk are wailing and saying things like “lawd, save us!” and “Lawd Jesus hep me please! hep me lawd Jesus!” and other totally non-stereotypical things. And then the church roof collapses, prompting more wails, until salvation comes in the form of a sea of all the Indian people we’d met so far in the film, carrying boxes conveniently marked with red crosses, through armpit deep water. Typhoid anyone?
We were both delighted and relieved to know that in the future, if we are in distress, India will come to our aid. Well, maybe. We do live in Georgia but not in an idyllic country setting with no paved roads. But hey! We live in Georgia. That’s something, sort of.
After he saves the world, Rizvan is famous, and he goes to meet the president, who is Obama at this point. At the Georgia state capitol, which has no gold dome any more, but palm trees! Obama says hi, the end.
No, really. That was the whole movie. Oh, and now the CG feels unpatriotic for not wearing a hijab.
In defense of this movie, our understanding going into it was that the point of this film was to create understanding and foster good will between Muslim and non Muslim peoples, probably especially in the U.S., post-9/11. Tthis movie totally achieved this, as the Muslims and the Christians in this post-9/11 American theater were equally appalled by the film and its unnecessary caricature of the many peoples across America. The major themes as we saw them were these. White men are bad. White women are good. Christian charities do not accept money from non Christians (have you ever known a Christian charity to turn down a dollar from ANYONE???) Oh, and the American South? We moved out of Gone With the Wind and entered the 21st century with everyone else, thank you very much.
SRK and Kajol, you’re still awesome. Karan Johar – we need to have words.
Happygoth can’t wait until this comes out on video and the husband can MST3K it, because that may make up for the $20 spent at the theater.
Really. SRK? Charming. Kajol? Delightful. Film? To use a phrase from FarScape – pure dren.
Whew. It feels good to get that out.
Wow.. I guess the only thing I have to say is “thanks for spending that $10 on a movie ticket so I didn’t have to”. Damn.. I was exited about seeing SRK in a movie I didn’t have to read subtitles for.
BUT. You should rent it. For the experience.
will definitely rent it… its much cheaper to Netflix then to go to the movies!!
It had its charming parts. So if you still want to see it, go ahead.
The cool thing is that Bollywood directors are getting more comfortable about releasing films in the US for non-Indian audiences. So even if this one fell short of the mark, I hope it is a small part of a greater continued trend.