The Namesake

( 9 )

Overview

A couple coming to terms with living in a new culture discover their troubles are compounded by their son in this drama from filmmaker Mira Nair. Ashoke Irfan Khan and Ashima Tabu are a young couple who are brought together in an arranged marriage and soon leave Calcutta to seek their fortune in America. As the couple becomes accustomed to one another, they learn to deal with the coolness and superficiality of life in New York, even as they revel in the opportunities the city offers them. Before long, Ashima ...
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Overview

A couple coming to terms with living in a new culture discover their troubles are compounded by their son in this drama from filmmaker Mira Nair. Ashoke Irfan Khan and Ashima Tabu are a young couple who are brought together in an arranged marriage and soon leave Calcutta to seek their fortune in America. As the couple becomes accustomed to one another, they learn to deal with the coolness and superficiality of life in New York, even as they revel in the opportunities the city offers them. Before long, Ashima gives birth to a baby boy, and pressed to choose a name, they dub the infant Nikhil, though he soon picks up the nickname Gogol, after Ashoke's favorite author. By the time the child is old enough to attend school, he insists upon being called Gogol at all times, and he displays little interest in his Indian heritage. Several years on, Gogol has decided he wants to be called Nick and is now played by Kal Penn and has become a thoroughly Americanized teenager, openly rebelling against his parents, smoking marijuana in his room, and dating Maxine Jacinda Barrett, a preppy blonde from a wealthy family. Ashoke and Ashima are uncertain about how to deal with their son's attempts to cut himself off from their culture, but Nick begins expressing some uncertainty himself when he meets Moushumi Zuleikha Robinson, a beautiful girl who also comes from a family of Indian expatriates. The Namesake was adapted from the bestselling novel by Jhumpa Lahiri.
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Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Gifted Indian filmmaker Mira Nair shifts focus to a subject that should interest Americans of Indian descent -- and, in truth, any immigrant eager to maintain his or her ethnic roots. Nair's The Namesake follows an Indian national Irfan Khan and his arranged bride Tabu during their first fledgling months in snowy New York, eventually transitioning into the story of their adult son Kal Penn coming to grips with his unusual first name. However, this one-sentence synopsis hints at why The Namesake can't achieve greatness -- it can't decide on either a main character or a main story. Nair has plenty to say about the cultural identity issues that permeate the narrative, and her usual confident filming techniques bolster her observations. But the film feels too diffuse with its variety of agendas and perspectives. The central idea -- at least, the idea that spawned the title -- is that Penn's Gogol seeks to grow into harmony with being named after Russian author Nikolai Gogol, whose book his father was clutching when he survived a train wreck back in India. But this incident doesn't have the metaphorical punch it's supposed to have. One would think the book his father was reading was somewhat random, and even then, it was a Russian author, not an Indian one, so the relevance to his Indian heritage is absent. Essentially, Gogol's identity crisis is just one of a half-dozen short stories The Namesake wants to tackle. The result is an overlong running time and a sense of exhaustion by the finish. Despite this, there is much to recommend about The Namesake, particularly Penn's decision to go arthouse after such frat-house efforts as Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle and National Lampoon's Van Wilder: The Rise of Taj.
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 10/13/2009
  • UPC: 024543628507
  • Original Release: 2006
  • Rating:

  • Source: 20th Century Fox
  • Region Code: 1
  • Presentation: Wide Screen
  • Sound: Dolby Digital Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • Language: English, Español
  • Time: 1:54:00
  • Format: DVD

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Kal Penn Gogol Ganguli
Tabu Ashima
Irfan Khan Ashoke
Jacinda Barrett Maxine
Zuleikha Robinson Moushumi Mazumdar
Gretchen Egolf Astrid
Pallavi Shah Kajol Mashi
Technical Credits
Mira Nair Director, Producer
Arjun Bhasin Costumes/Costume Designer
Stephanie Carroll Production Designer
Tanmoy Chakroborty Art Director
Linda Cohen Musical Direction/Supervision
Michael Decasper Asst. Director
Lori Keith Douglas Co-producer
Frederick Elmes Cinematographer
Dylan Gray Asst. Director
Allyson C. Johnson Editor
Tess Joseph Casting
Yukie Kito Co-producer
Yasushi Kotani Executive Producer
Suttirat Anne Larlarb Art Director
Ed Novick Sound/Sound Designer
Lydia Dean Pilcher Producer
Nitin Sawhney Score Composer
Ronnie Screwvala Executive Producer
Zarina Screwvala Co-producer
Taiso Son Executive Producer
Dinaz Stafford Associate Producer
Sooni Taraporevala Screenwriter
Cindy Tolan Casting
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Scene Index

Disc #1 -- The Namesake
1. See the World (Main Titles) [:26]
2. Introductions [5:31]
3. The Wedding [1:09]
4. New Home, New Life [2:36]
5. Learning to Love [1:34]
6. Daknam [3:09]
7. Land of Opportunity [3:16]
8. A Death in the Family [3:07]
9. What's in a Name? [1:27]
10. Graduation Present [3:33]
11. Homecoming [2:36]
12. The Taj [1:29]
13. Nikhil [3:41]
14. Separate Lives [2:40]
15. Every Day a Gift [1:56]
16. At the Lake [3:11]
17. Alone [2:04]
18. Just a Stomachache [3:34]
19. In Mourning [3:54]
20. The Eleventh Day [:42]
21. "Call Her If You Want" [5:15]
22. Tradition [5:28]
23. Two Worlds [1:14]
24. Advice From a Friend [3:46]
25. Not Enough [1:23]
26. Farewell [2:06]
27. The Journey [1:52]
28. Bliss/End Titles [5:31]
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Menu

Disc #1 -- The Namesake
   Play
   Language Selection
      Audio
         English 5.1 Dolby Surround
         Spanish Dolby Surround
         Commentary by Director Mira Nair
      Subtitles
         English
         Spanish
         French
         None
   Scene Selection
   Special Features
      Commentary by Director Mira Nair: On/Off
      Deleted Scenes
         Optional Commentary by Director Mira Nair: On/Off
         Play All
         Ashoke Looks at Baby Gogol
         "This Is So Not You, Mo"
         Mo Visits Her Mother
      The Anatomy of the Namesake: A Class at Columbia University's Graduate Film School
      Fox Movie Channel Presents: In Character With Kal Penn
      Kolkata Love Poem
      Photography As Inspiration
      Theatrical Trailer
      Trailers
         The Flying Scotsman
         Water
         In America
         Blind Dating
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 9 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(4)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(0)

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Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Excellent movie, well worth seeing.

    Very good view of Indian/American families and good view into upper class family in Indian. Interesting to see how the parents grew to love each other from their arranged marriage in India. It touched on Father/son relationship and a young man's acceptance of not just his name but also his ethnic background and family life. I love Jumpa Lahiri, she gives a beautiful picture of what it is like to be an Indian/American and the importantance of family history and what it is like to make a new family in an new country.

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  • Posted October 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Cultural Movie

    Although I have not read the book ofthe same name, the movie was quite touching. The story of an Indian couple who move to America and immerse themselves in the culture over their lifetimes. A thoughtful plot that makes you remember why you value your family so much and how important it is to follor your heart in the direction of your dreams. Must-see.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    'We all come out of Gogol's Overcoat'

    Jhumpa Lahiri's very popular novel THE NAMESAKE has been successfully adapted for the screen by Sooni Taraporevala and the gifted director Mira Nair has gathered a fine cast to capture the spirit of the original story of family commitment despite cultural changes and challenges. Some of the novel's impact is lost on the big screen, but the tender message remains at the end. In India a gifted young singer Ashima (Tabu) follows her family's rules of matchmaking and marries the quiet Ashoke (Irfan Khan), and soon after the wedding festivities are over the couple depart to New York for Ashoke's career. The cultural and climate changes are a shock to both, but their marriage soon produces a boy child who, instead of being named traditionally by the grandmother in India, has to have a name assigned in the New York hospital in order to be released with a birth certificate. Out of desperation, Ashoke decides to temporarily name him Gogol (Ashoke's favorite author)-played as a child by Sohan Chatterjee - , and the family of three soon becomes a family of four with the arrival of their daughter Sonia (Sahira Nair). While the parents maintain the customs of their Bengali heritage, the two children struggle with adapting to their preferred life in America and the conflict between parent and child is magnified by the cultural disparities. As young Gogol grows toward manhood (now Kal Penn) he favors Western ways and becomes involved with a non-Indian girl Maxine (Jacinda Barrett) and her family. Gogol tires of the critical comments about his name and decides to change his name to the more traditional Nick- further evidence of his separation from his background. But family tragedies occur and Gogol finds himself drawn to his mother and to his roots. When Gogol's father dies, the significance of his family grows even stronger and being unable to identify with Maxine and her family, he instead agrees to 'date' a Bengali girl from his past - Moushumi (Zuleikha Robinson) has blossomed from the frumpy bookworm into a beautiful and experienced woman. They marry, keeping to Indian traditions, but the marriage is rocky and in the end Gogol discovers that his true happiness is in the rich family history and beauty of his native India. There are moments of rare beauty, both cinematically (camera work is by Frederick Elmes) and emotionally (musical score is a lovely creation by Nitin Sawhney), and while the film is somewhat brittle at times due to the occasional bilingual nature of the script, the main characters are portrayed by such strong actors that the little flaws become unimportant. It is well to have so many films that deal with the immigrant experience at this particular juncture in our history, and when that theme is enhanced by the beauty of authors such as Lahiri, the messages become even more poignant. Grady Harp

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    Promising, but ultimately, disappointing

    I really enjoyed this movie at first. It showed the trials and tribulations of immigrant families and did a very good job of that. Unfortunately, the director tried to include too much in the film. The story became quite boring after awhile. More like you were watching a video of someone's life. It lacked character development and dramatic tension. The scene where his wife reveals that she is having an affair was terrible. The dialogue was anticlimactic and pathetic. I felt like I had wasted two hours which is sad because I thought the story seemed interesting at first.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    From novel to book

    The book was excellent, the prose beautiful. I was surprised to find it as a movie. It is a wonderful adaptation both the book and the movie are worth the time and effort. The movie takes us from the immigrant experience over two generations and does it quietly, thoughtfully, beautifully and caused me to reflect on my "and my wife's experience"as third generation American Jews. A movie that can both captivate and evoke memory is in my opinion a beauty. Namesake is for those who value character development, understated acting, real emotion and eschew violence, simplicity or the need for distraction. It is broad, deep, and wonderful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 1, 2010

    A reviewer

    The Namesake is an extrodinary movie! Showing the trials and tibulations of growing up in a family of a different culture. Kal Penn shows off a serious side and does an amazing job playing a character with a lot of internal conflicts. A movie about growing up and growing old, facing fears, and accepting who you are. Can’t reccommed it enough!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted December 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted September 20, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 9 Customer Reviews