Friday, October 20, 2006

The Namesake by Mira Nair


The namesake is a movie based on the novel by Jhumpa Lahiri. The movie is going to hit the theaters in the spring next year. I was lucky to watch it the Hopkins Center. Mira Nair was being presented with the annual Dartmouth film award this year and the screening was a privilege.

As the trailers of the movie say, it IS a loving adaptation of the novel. I found the book great and over the last few days I have been watching a few Mira Nair movies. In Monsoon wedding and Salaam Bombay (the ones I've seen), I was awed by the richness of the visuals. The tension and emotions just beneath the surface, which the characters could all but express, were the qualities which, as I think of them now emerge to me.

The Jhumpa Lahiri book, according to me was as much about Ashima as it was about Gogol and in the end they both ended up finding their destinies. I am very glad that this facet of the novel has been retained in the movie and it stays true to the course. "Life in a foreign country can be difficult ", I've heard people say. Imagine being in a foreign land within a week of your marriage with the knowledge that this is going to be your home for a long long time, perhaps forever.

What do you do when you operate the Laundromat for the first time and don't know whom to ask for instructions? How do you prepare that "hot mix" when none of the ingredients are at hand? What would you do when your husband is not there during your labor? In short how do you continue living? Tabu as Ashima rocks in the movie and it is pleasantly surprising to hear her English with an unmistakable Indian accent even after living as a first generation immigrant for so long. What is the big deal??

The confusion and a crisis of identity for Gogol are according to me very stereotypical. But the way this ABCD carves out his life is interesting. Tired of living a second hand life, everything becomes clear when in the end he says- “I know I am supposed to feel utterly devastated, but I actually feel free for the first time in my life”. That is the thing with life. You find your happiness in the most unexpected of things.

Now I realize I have got all my feelings for the novel and movie all mixed up and this post has been as much about the book as it has been about the movie.

“For our loving parents, who gave us everything”


Dev said...

At times it's books and movies tht make a realise small things which matter a lot !!
Good post !!
I'm looking forward to seeing the movie !!


Nicely written..!!

I am certainly looking forward to read the book and watch the movie aswell........

- Vandit

vaquas said...

hey Huzee you seem to be a connesueir of movies.DO SEE Satyajeet Ray's 'SHATRANJ KE KHILADI' A very different,classic and only hindi movie from idia's greatest director ever.