The Namesake.


A new commentator to my blog, janey canuck, through her comments on my post The Rabbit Hole got me interested in seeing this film at home yesterday. I had read the novel when it was released in 2003 and had liked it. Till the comments came, I had no idea that a film had been made on the novel and hence my curiosity to see the film.

The story is about an Indian immigrant family in the USA in the good old days when Indians were just beginning to go to the USA in large numbers. Since I have known some other such families, and since I have lived in Calcutta, I could appreciate the nuances of Bengali values and attitudes brought out very well in the book.

janey canuck too has read the book and seen the movie. From her comments it appeared to me that she had found both the film and the book very interesting. Her comment in particular that the story is all about the mother in the story rather than about the son resonated with me. I too had thought so and in the movie though, in my opinion, in terms of sheer presence and acting skills, Kal Penn as Gogol stole the show. While both Irrfan and Tabu gave creditable performances, their presence in the film version was more for background effect rather than to portray both as the lead characters.

While watching the film was a memorable experience because it brought memories of the book rushing back, I thought that the book was not done enough justice in the film. The film could have run for some more time to bring about more character definitions of Irrfan and Tabu which would have given more punch to the film. I suppose that Mira Nair had other priorities and had to restrict the length of the film.

In any case, thanks to janey canuck, I enjoyed watching the film which brought back many memories of the book and some old friends.

6 thoughts on “The Namesake.”

  1. Cheerful, I bought the DVD and years ago, the book and enjoyed them both. I like Mira Nair’s work, even Monsoon Wedding. When studying literature I seemed to favour the exhile theme and that has not changed. Now I do the movies instead of books because in the time since I had some strokes which affected my language and reading abilities. So I am very happy for good movies, and do like trying to figure out what the director is doing, how they are telling us the story.

    I didn’t know any of the actors before, but I understand it was a very different turn for Penn.

    Last night I watched “Australia”. It had mixed reviews, with some people upset because it didn’t tell the full story of the Stolen Generations, not as factually as many would have liked. It had a magical quality though, and uses some of the same motifs as The Wizard of Oz. I smiled even though I knew it was sometimes corny. Two amazing performances in that movie make it a must watch: the little boy, and the villain. In a differerent way, this movie was also of the exhile theme.

    “I not white fella. I not black fella. I b’long no-one. I creamy”. A lot of resonance with what is going on racially here, for our First Nations people. I too, am “creamy”.

    I am fascinated that Australia has a national film body, attempting to if not always succeeding in telling their story, and Canada does not.

  2. I’ve watched clips of the “lost generation/Australia” when taking a women’s study paper at university in I think 2006…this was a small part of the course. It was about that time, that Australia started to delve into the situation a bit more (if I remember rightly).

    I’m in NZ, Janey – I think we have similar stories of the indigenous people here…

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