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Movie Review: My Name is Khan (2010/Hindi) 108

Ever since its release, reviewers and audiences have been busy comparing MNIK with Forrest Gump. So, is it true? Definitely Not! While Forrest Gump was an extraordinary lifetime journey of a low-IQ-nice-guy, MNIK deals with the mending of a relationship smothered by typecasting of communities in the aftermath of terror attacks. The protagonist’s condition, Asperger’s Syndrome adds a third angle to the story.

Born with social interaction disability, Rizvan detests anything yellow or loud, but is gifted with the ability of repairing appliances. Events lead him to the US where he falls in love and marries the vivacious Mandira. Things change post 9/11 when Mandira’s son is killed in the communal hatred for his last name ‘Khan’. She now hates Rizvan for giving them the last name. It is now up to Khan to regain his lost love!

While being sentimental, MNIK packs in a message that every Muslim is not a terrorist, and Khan wants to tell this to the US President. Too many obstacles are thrown in, including a hurricane, terror suspicions, imprisonment, et al. But northing bothers our undaunted hero who even simplistically offers to repair the Air Conditioner in the prison! Ah yes, he also teaches us about pronouncing “Khan from the epiglottis”.

Religious tolerance is a hackneyed Bollywood theme. But, MNIK does it with a lot of heart. Khan lives by his mother’s principles that no religion is bad, but it is people who are either good or bad. His sincere journey touches hearts, admonishes hardliners and pines to re-unite with Mandira who now finds strength in hatred and prefers it to the weakness of love for Khan. The SRK-Kajol pairing here is simply beyond words!

Coming from a director best known for ‘loving your parents’ family movies, Karan Johar has carefully blended his ‘relationship’ skills with stronger themes of religion and disabilities, all into one film. Considering that SRK is one the producers, I won’t entirely believe that his airport security drama was not a publicity stunt! The producers must also thank the politicos for giving a nitrous boost to the release and its profits!

What makes MNIK tick is its cast. While King Khan is probably the best ‘emotion’ actor, adding Kajol to the combo makes it a killer. Tannay Chheda of Slumdog fame as the young Khan has some resemblance with SRK and Zarina Wahab as his mother is apt. Jimmy Shergill as Khan’s brother is decent but Sonia Jehan is outstanding in her role as the professor sister-in-law of Khan who identifies his condition and helps him.

Some of the songs like Sajda are Tere Naina make Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy’s work worthwhile. The songs don’t interrupt the flow either; a credit to the editors. Filming locations are the glossy as usual but those one that is over the top is the little Georgian town that propels Khan to Stardom. While it is undeniable that MNIK has an overdose of drama, it has packs in a lot of little moments that touch your heart. Try it out!

Rating 7/10: A warm love story; neat performances & a message of goodness!
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