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Makes one say "Khan", right from the epiglottis!
Feb 15, 2010 06:03 PM 2361 Views
(Updated Feb 15, 2010 08:10 PM)





Just what is it about Shahrukh Khan that makes people love and hate him so much? I have to tell you that he has irritated me greatly in the past with his, "I am the best" media slogans, with the whole King Khan hype, with his often silly on screen mannerisms....and yet, when he does a "Swades", "Chak De", and now "My Name is Khan", I cant take my eyes off him on screen! He makes me believe in the magic of cinema, in him, and in whatever message he wants to convey through his character. And THAT, ladies and gentleman, is the power of My Name is is Shahrukh Khan's show all the way!


Briefly, the story revolves around Rizwan Khan (Shahrukh Khan) who has Aspergers Syndrome, undiagnosed at an early age, but beautifully handled by his mother (Zarina Wahab), who gives him the tools to survive in the world despite his obvious social and emotional handicap. He grows up, moves to the States to be with his envious, conflicted brother (Jimi Shergill) and his beautiful wife (Sonya Jehan). Rizwan meets Mandira (Kajol), a joyous (if somewhat uneasily shrill!) single mother, falls head over heels in love, and pursues her till she marries him. Rizwan gets along fabulously with Mandira's son Sameer, and they are all a happy family until 9/11 happens, the family gets torn apart, and the tenacious Rizwan gets it into his head that he needs to see the American President and tell him that he is not a terrorist. The rest of the story is about the journey that Rizwan takes through America, his adventures/misadventures, people he meets along the way, and the love that he has for Mandira that makes him do what he does...

My Take:

I completely bought into the character Rizwan Khan. Cinematic liberties aside, he definitely fits the profile of an adult with Aspergers, and the often black and white way they look at the world. The emotional disconnect he sometimes has, the inability to convey feelings appropriately, the literal way he interprets everything, the single minded obsession with a goal...all of it fits in with an Aspergers profile. Dividing the world into "Good people, bad people" may be too simplistic a view for most of us mortals, but when Rizwan Khan looks at his world that way, its not hard to keep ones own scepticism at bay and believe in his vision.

With regards to direction, Karan Johar does an admirable job of conveying his message of keeping prejudices at bay, and looking at humankind simply as Good versus Bad. KJ gets the best out of his actors, keeps the story moving along very well in the first half, and shows remarkable sensitivity in a lot of scenes (mother-son sequences in the beginning, rizwan's courtship of mandira...brilliant). Where he falters is in the second half of the movie, where he wants to cram too much in to get his "Rizwan Khan is a GOOD human being " point across, a point already well made in the first half!

Kajol is wonderful whenever she shares the screen with Shahrukh. Their chemistry just overflows out of the screen and makes you want to be in love just like that! However, as an actress, Kajol somehow lacked the fire (maybe confidence?) she had earlier. While she is still loud and bubbly, somehow that appeared a bit forced, and she seemed a bit unsure of herself on screen. Except of course when Shahrukh was holding her hand..THEN it looked like Kajol belonged on that screen playing Mandira!

As for the other actors, Zarina Wahab needs to be on screen more (warm and lovely presence on screen), Jimi Shergill does a great job conveying his envy with a few burning glances, Sonya Jehan is LOVELY and lights up the screen. The other actors I dont quite remember, because like I said earlier, it was Shahrukh Khan all the way for me in this movie!

Charisma cannot be underrated in cinema, and Shah Rukh has bucket loads of it and some to spare! Oh my, when Shahrukh decides to go out all out for a movie, leave his mannerisms behind, giggle irresistably when proposed to, convey his pain just through his eyes and body language, no burning rhetoric coming out of his mouth....he is completely irresistable.

Yes Shahrukh, your name is Khan , and when you emote like this, I am quite ready to believe you ARE King "Khan'"(and I will use my Epiglottis each time I say your name!! )

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My Name is Khan