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.

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