“My Name is Khan” Bollywood Did it Again!

Genres: Action/Adventure, Drama and Politics/Religion
Running Time: 2 hrs. 45 min.
Release Date: February 12th, 2010 (limited)
MPAA Rating:
Not Rated
Distributors:Fox Searchlight Pictures

Director: Karan Johar

JJ Rating: A-

Rizwan Khan (Shah Rukh) has a difficult life because he is already different, he has Asperger syndrome. He was loved by his mother. He was endured by his brother. He finds love in America. He marries and finds happiness. Then 9/11 happens, things just start to crumble, but because of his unique perspective he finds a way to hold it all together. My Name is Khan.

The daunting thing about Bollywood movies is the time. I start to feel it around the 2hour mark but with this film there are 45 minutes more. It’s hard to sit there, especially when I’m sitting next to a woman explaining things to her mother. This is the same woman who was shocked, because I’m not Indian, as to why I am sitting there wanting to see this movie. Talk about racist. I would add a rule to my theater and that would be no old people along with no teenagers. Why? Because old people who cannot hear what is going on will sit there and ask what just happened, then by the time the person explains they want to know what just happened. It’s an endless loop that perpetuates itself with idiot fuel.

I like Bollywood movies. I think they are very well rounded movies. I was ready to give My Name is Khan a solid A+, but then the ending reared its ugly head and I rolled my eyes. I was not at all impressed by the end and thought it could have been stronger and less cheesy; it have a propaganda feel. Endings are important because they are the last impression you are left with. They are part of the aftertaste. First impressions matter in introductions to new faces, but endings really matter for movies. A great ending can make a bad film seem that much better, just like a bad ending can make a good film that much worse.

My Name is Khan had a great foundation. It methodically laid out a well developed character with Rizwan Khan. So well done is the development of his character that I felt joy when he was happy and sadness when he lost something or someone. There was a strong connection. I wanted him to succeed. It is weird. I do not recall when was the last time I felt that way about a character in a film. I think the last time I’ve somewhat felt this way was with 3 Idiots and before that maybe with The Kite Runner. I have liked movies like X-Men, Iron Man, Jurassic Park and even Doubt, but none of these movies have characters that I felt a connection with. I like rooting for characters like Khan. I do it with TV characters, I rarely do it with movies.

The acting was top notch. Shah Rukh made Khan believable, made him powerful, made him enjoyable and made him someone that was worth rooting for even if the ending was not that great. Everyone did a fantastic job, but Rukh is the important aspect of the film and he carried his weight and made My Name is Khan worth seeing.

I really liked how Khan stated that the West deals with time differently with B.C.E. and A.D., but now they have before 9/11 and after. That is what My Name is Khan deals with through the second half of the film. I haven’t thought of 9/11 like that. I never had to deal with what those who look Middle Eastern have to deal with in America. Based on the trailer I decided to see it. The terrible reviews kept me from seeing The Wolfman.

Ah but I had not even thought that it could be sold out at my favorite theater. I had to go to my least favorite theater. While standing in line for the theater I had people come up behind me. A frail older woman was standing right up on me. So when we walked into the theater she kept bumping my bag. Rude and inconsiderate of my personal space. I was getting irritated, every time we stopped she bump me and so I bumped her back. I sit down and this woman sits next to me with her mother. She proceeds to judge me by the color of my skin and assumes I cannot speak Hindi. I do not speak it, but this would be called profiling. She asked me why I decided to see the movie. I answered but she didn’t care about my answer. She proceeded to talk over me to tell me that there were subtitles. Then during the movie when Khan is pulled from a security line at the airport she said that they’ve all had that happen to them (those who are the same skin color as her). The lady that judge me via my skin was feeling offended for others doing the same to her. Funnier is that she had to explain to her mom what was going on in the film. Guess she should have asked her if she understood that it was subtitled, oops.

What did I learn? I learned that I have to get to the theater earlier if it’s a Bollywood film and that if I don’t tan I might run into the possibility of a racist asking me why do I bother I’m not Indian.

My Name is Khan is a good film that offered me a different perspective that I had not previously thought of. I would see it again. I’d even buy it and omit seeing the end. Others should see it and if anything they will learn about Asperger syndrome and be ahead of many who have no idea. Go Bollywood!

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