Movie: My Name is Khan
We live in an era of where entertainment with a message is perhaps the need of the times. Bollywood's one of the most celebrated directors of recent times, Karan Johar, has come up with latest offering 'My Name is Khan', which has a message to the entire world. MNIK is promising for the message that it delivers but falls short of being a uplifting cinematic experience.
MNIK is about the journey of a man with Aspergers syndrome through the landscape of post 9/11 American mainland, trying to proclaim that all Muslims are not terrorists. His strong belief is that men are only of 2 kinds - good or bad. MNIK is a worth watching movie in the first half. Though not a rollicking entertainer, but the character Rizwan keeps you hooked. He is 'awkward' and 'limited' in true sense of the words but the first half is lifted by a completely contrasting ‘Mandira’ played by Kajol. The contrast and the tale just carries you through the first half with ease and you break at the interval with some proud thoughts about KJo, SRK and Kajol.
The Pit falls
Where MNIK begins to loosen its grip is when each and every scene is planned and composed to proclaim a part of the umpteen numbers of sub messages fitted in to 2.40 hrs of MNIK. Hence, there is an African American township episode, detention episode, Burkha, American - Indian kids love-hate and so on. Alright, the message in the movie is noble and superbly mounted on a good platform but when every scene becomes a mode to keep saying that, then MNIK looses the charm of storytelling in a movie but becomes almost like a corporate presentation deck where each slide has a well planned agenda and message. And slow paced, filmy and preachy it becomes in the second half that, by the end of it we start wishing that the American President somehow appears so that the movie can end.
Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol
MNIK is one of the better movies of SRK but he looks and sounds more 'robotic' than 'autistic'. The kind of perfection expected from such a life changing or path breaking character is lacking. SRK does much better than hamming away as expected but the kind of mind blowing perfection is missing. 'Chak De India' was much more clinical and more justice to that character but Rizwan is more complex a character than in Chak De India for sure. He is very good in some of the scenes like the proposal scene, speech in the church and 'Khan' corrections.
Kajol as 'Mandira' is stupendous and natural as ever as long as she is the thick of it. The breakdown scene is one of the best for a lead actress for some time now. She is so natural in her reactions and a perfect foil for the controlled and limited Rizwan. Perhaps no one else could have brought so much to this role as her.
The surprise of the whole package though is Karan Johar to a great extent. From the days of 'KKHH', 'K3G', 'KANK' Karan has come a long way. But perhaps he has some more way to go and reach the destination that he is headed to. Why does the hero need to have an Aspergers Syndrome in the first place and why not the story of a common man? Why is the story need to be mounted in the US when Indian is equally affected by Terrorism? Can't a global statement be made if the story is placed in India? Even if all these are ignored the filmy clichés of 'Georgia episode' makes you cringe. Rizwan travels all the way to Georgia from LA on a bus much before any help arrives there. He almost forgets his fear for sound or limitations as he helps the people out. Filmy!
Camera by Ravi Chandran is Superb. Music by Shankar trio is a big let down with not even a single outstanding track. Sharbani Bhatija commits the same errors as in 'Fanah'.
In short, MNIK is a many steps forward for Karan Johar, a better work of Shah Rukh, a reaffirmation about the stupendous Kajol and a movie which has a touching message but could have been better in being less preachy , less filmy and more entertaining.
Verdict - Rating - 3/5
Opinion - Watch it once for the Message.
MNIK - 'My Name is Karan' and 'I have few more miles to go'.
Movie: My Name is Khan