My Name is Khan Movie Review by Sputnik

Director: Karan Johar
Cast: Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Jimmy Shergill, Soniya Jehan, Zarina Wahab, Tanay Chheda

Rizvan Khan, a Muslim man from India, moves to San Francisco and lives with his brother Zakir (Jimmy Shergill) and sister-in-law (Soniya Jehan). Rizvan, who has Aspergers, falls in love with Mandira. Despite protests from his family they get married and start a small business together. They are happy until September 11, 2001 when attitudes towards Muslims undergo a sea-change. When a personal tragedy strikes, Mandira is devastated and in a fit of rage she asks Rizvan to go tell the President that he is not a terrorist. Rizvan, who takes everything literally, embarks on a journey across America to meet the President.

Some scenes stand out like the airport scene, Rizvan’s (Tanay Chheda) childhood scenes, the 9/11 memorial scene, the scene at the mosque, the motel scene, Rizvan meeting a Muslim couple on his way and his arrest. The street crossing scene and the elevator scenes are good though they are clearly inspired from similar scenes from Rain Man.

Rizvan does not like the color yellow but has no problems looking at it while solving a puzzle. It seems a bit far fetched that people stop visiting Mandira’s salon in a California neighborhood because of the Khan name. Though the mosque confrontation scene is good it is somewhat incredulous to see them discussing such things so openly where anyone can walk in. But the worst scenes of the movie are the ones in Wilhelmina, where the African American characters look like they are from ‘Gone with the Wind’.

Story and screenplay by Shibani Bathija is good except for the whole detour to Wilhelmina. The Hurricane scene is ridiculous and one can clearly tell it is a set. Dialogues by Shibani Bathija and Niranjan Iyengar are excellent for the most part. Some of them stand out like when Rizvan says his brother Zakir is lucky that he can cry or that he could not repair his Abbu or his dialogues during his torture. A couple of them are lame like Mandira telling that the whole city hates Rizvan or her asking if she has the job as her husband is Muslim. Cinematography by Ravi K Chandran is excellent as always. Songs by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy have a Sufi influence and sound similar. Noore-Khuda is the best of the lot. Background music is excellent.

Shah Rukh is brilliant as Rizvan and this should rank as one of his finest performances and arguably his best. This should win him all the Best Actor awards. Kajol is decent though her nasal voice and her constant shrieking is annoying. She is brilliant in one scene where she breaks down. Zarina Wahab, the veteran actress, is excellent as Rizvan’s Ammi and so is Tanay Chheda as little Rizvan. Jimmy Shergill, Soniya Jehan, Yuvaan Makaar and the rest of the cast all give good performances.

Karan Johar’s direction is excellent and this is unlike any of his previous work. The movie is inspired from Forrest Gump and the movie has a Hollywood feel but the climax is a big letdown. The movie is a bit lengthy and if only there was no Hurricane scene, the movie would not only be 20 minutes shorter but it would also have been a brilliant movie. Despite this one big flaw the movie is still worth a watch because it is a sincere and noble effort.

Rating: 3.5 / 5 (Very Good)

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