All Talk and No Action Sunday, February 14, 2010

With lots of time to kill last night, my brother and I zeroed in on My Name is Khan.

I always have reservations about a Johar movie, especially, when he directs it. Still, not heeding advice of empirical data and ignoring my intuition (which is almost always correct in pointing out potential disasters), we headed out to watch MNIK.


Oh before we talk about this Opus, let me tell you, yesterday was an official paid leave for the Policemen of Mumbai.

About 30 policemen guarded the Cinemax we went to. We saw a dozen outside a closed Fame Adlabs too.

Well, a shut Adlabs would have cost a bomb to the owners, really. A weekend and no shows to run?

But that is not the point. Business losses toh hote rehte hain. Big Deal !

What I am happy about is that our overstretched, tired, un-appreciated policemen got a paid leave.

Only I don't know if being over-stretched yet doing real work is more exhausting than watching a Karan Johar movie.


So back to MNIK.

Now here, for the first time, Karan Johar has tried his hand at "serious" and "meaningful" cinema.

I hope this is his last time.

My Name is Khan chronicles the life of a Rizwan Khan with Asperger's Syndrome. The movie is a three hour melodrama on his life, his outlook, his relationships, his beliefs, his religion, his kindness, mother-son relationship, husband-wife relationship, racism, Hindu - Muslim riots, 9/11, post 9/11 atrocities on various ethnic communities, Afghanistan, Iraq, President Bush, Hurricane Katrina, President Elect Obama.

There is more. But I am overwhelmed and hence cannot mention all the issues the movie brought up.

Terrorism, Mental/Physical Disorders and Religion - all require certain sensitivity to portray onscreen.

Karan fails colossally.

From the story to characterization - everything is faulty in this one.

The movie is so inconsistent when it deals with characters and historical events, that it leaves you feeling stupid.

E.g. Towards the end of Bush's term, when Obama catapulted on the world political stage, I remember reading that Bush had been advised to make lesser public appearances, since his face was actually doing more harm to Republican candidates than helping them win. So if you have followed the 2008 Presidential Elections, you would actualy know that Bush had almost disappeared from the public scene. Yet, the movie, not only shows Bush in his full glory, being treated like a King at all public appearances, and that at the fag end of his term ! Which would mean August/September 2008 ! Why Karan why??

Also, the relationship between SRK & Kajol is just so inadequate and glib that it leaves you speechless, really.

The movie has various such exasperating incidents and goof ups.

Also, in trying to address various issues, Karan loses track and ends up addressing nothing.

One wouldn't mind such stupidity, had the central characters been well written and brought out onscreen.

But SRK's Rizwan is not what a person with Asperger's Syndrome would look, dress and be like. Though SRK does a good job in some scenes, especially which only require him to smile coyly, or show his emotions when the situation demands, overall I wasn't convinced.

The biggest let down was Kajol's Mandira. The character has no depth and would seem like an opportunist by the end of the movie, if you are still watching it, that is. Kajol, though looks stunning, has a weak role and I am amazed how she didn't object while going with it.

The music by Shankar-Ehsan-Loy is very average and doesn't make the journey any easy for the viewer.

It would have made more sense to make a movie with a person afflicted with some disorder and focus on his relationships.

Or a movie just on Terrorism.

Or a movie on the plight of ethnic communities in the US after 9/11.

Or a superhero SRK flying in to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina. Yes, that would have been more convincing.

While I fidgeted in my seat last night, and almost cried out of boredom, I took an oath of never to watch Karan Johar directed movies, not even if I am thrown out of my house and have no avenues of killing time.


india unbound said...

My bro spoke to one policeman outside Cinemax (Eternity Mall). He was on duty since 7 in the morning, his shift would end at midnight, the weekly off was canceled and so were planned leaves of other policemen for the next few days.

You might be surprised but that policeman was not enjoying his "paid leave".

allthecrap said...

ohh...even I have not watched any full Kjo movie since KKTH (dat was amazing) ..and after reading ur review I doubt will watch this one :)

All Talk and No Action said...

@india unbound - i thought a paid leave credit was the only credit Sena could be given. Too bad you took that away too ;)

@allthecrap - if dharma prodns reads this, they will sue me for brainwashing people :)

Anonymous said...

This is what is called as being overtly critical of anything or what happens when you have made up your mind that you are going to criticise something no matter what the thing is even before you have seen it....

Now, lemme explain why....

1) MNIK is NOT a movie on Autisim or Terrorism or Katrina NOR does it ever pretend to be that NOR was publicised to be that too!
It's a simple love story where the guy is ready to do anything to win his love.
It just so happened that the guy here was a Muslim and suffering from autism and the movie was in the time when 09/11 happened.

2) If a character in the movie was involved in terrorism or was suffering from autism does it mean that the movie should completely show what terrorism / autism is or become a documentary on that subject?
Isn't it sufficient to just give a gist of what those are in 5 min just like MNIK does with autism or terrorism when the main subject of the movie is not that?
I have seen hundreds of movie where the main character was suffering from brain tumor or related diseases but I have rarely seen a movie which basically gets into the in and outs of that disease.
For eg, Sadma had Sridevi to be suffering from some imperfection but it did not do anything like that nor does Ghajini which was supposedly a great touching movie which made someone laugh and cry at the same time and feel for Aamir's character.

3) Historical events being misinterpreted !
Now that is something no movie can say it has not done that.
Name one movie which has shown all historical events as it is. Not even biographies do that I guess!
Movies are always dramatized for keeping the viewers interested and not making it monotonous and preachy.

4) Do you really know how a guy suffering from autism looks like or dress's like to say something like SRK just does not do the above in the movie?
I have seen Rainman which had Dustin Hoffman play a similar role and I think that potrayed it in a similar way. He dresses and looks just like a normal individual would, as far as I can remember.
But I am sure that if you watch Rainman, the review would go ga-ga over Dustin Hoffman, his acting, the movie etc.
But when it comes to MNIK it's exactly the opposite. You want originality and showing it as it is.

I could go on but due to lack of time....To be continued.... :D

mukund said...

hey dude u seem to be a die-hard fan of SRK. becoz no one would actually take ur lame explanations to be a part of the explanation u gave to defend the integrity of MNIK....
I really see no point over you making the mention of that first point, that its a simple love story. Is a simple love story bound to be so complicated that we have to almost bang our heads against the walls to understand the nature of Mrs. Mandira Khan when she says she made a mistake marrying a Khan instead of any random KHANNA... So thats really so sweet, cutest love story ever!!!

Laughing over ur second point, where u mentioned "If a character in the movie was involved in terrorism or was suffering from autism does it mean that the movie should completely show what terrorism / autism is or become a documentary on that subject?
Isn't it sufficient to just give a gist of what those are in 5 min just like MNIK does with autism or terrorism when the main subject of the movie is not that?", i must say one thing dude, ur going to watch a movie whose name is "MY NAME IS KHAN" and not " MY NAME IS RAGHU ROMEO" that the crappy love story takes over for 2 hours n 35 mins, n just the main topic is shown for 5 mins.... imagine avataar showing aliens just for 5 mins and the prelusionary form of humans being shown in rest of the movie... thank God that didnt happen(coz hollywood is surely having some great standards!!!)

Laughing over ur fourth point, where u mentioned about a movie named Rainman and commented about SRK's art of enacting autism in the movie, let me ask u, have u seen or interacted directly wid a person suffering from autism??? I agree i havent, but i have amny proofs to prove u wrong bro, get back in touch with me and i will mail u the videos of real PEOPLE who have autism and the way they react or behave in day-to-day life. so lets not be Mr. Know All and lets not defend SRK on any desperate point u want to, which IS NOT EVEN A VALID POINT!!!

the most hilarious scene in the movie was when those interns approach the central authority of that news channel PBC or BBC whatever it is, and they could succeed in brainwashing him in just a span of 1 minute and made him realise that He is innocent just like Mr. Khan, but still he was ill treated due to which he had to remove his turban... thats so good enough, coz anyhow he managed to keep a BEARD!!! N i think Americans have problems not jus wid turbans but also wid beards, if at all u have gone to any of the american airports for immigration check in :) So thats such an irony to remove his turban but still keeping the beard!!! THat was A REALLY VERY SENSIBLE TWIST IN THE MOVIE, i was almost touched !!!
News reporting is being done in hindi too.. wow i think BBC had finally decided to shut down or spoil its image, coz hardly i saw that news reporter on BBC reporting in english... now thats really so HEART TOUCHING... by that time this Khan had really touched our hearts n we wanted to get up and make an exit, so that we dont cry and break down by this awesomeness!!!!
Mrs Mandira Khan dropping charges against his son's friend Ries, only coz of her friendship wid his mom. wow now what would u call that dude??? Come on that guy was just 13 and its very natural for such a guy to be pressurised by some elderly bullies, I WAS REALLY TOUCHED BY THIS KIND OF SACRIFICE MADE BY MRS MANDIRA KHAN... she was the true hero of this movie....

I mean i really didnt find any outlet to burst out my miseries after watching this movie. I rather felt it was worth to be a shiv sainik for that moment, pick up stones,hurl at the policemen and throw at the screen, coz i have never watched any HEART TOUCHING movie like this ever, n to maintain its originality i really dont want any such movie to release again!!!
SERIOUSLY MNIK was the best movie ever made... i appreciate ur concerns to voice ur opinion Mr. anonymous!!!

All Talk and No Action said...

@Anon - This is what is known as being correct when all others critics are fooling readers.

I have to tell you that your interpretation of the movie was hilarious. So where did you read that MNIK was a simple love story? Some SRK interview?

So, since according to you the central point of the movie is a "simple" love story, I have to say that it's ne of the most superficial stories ever brought
on screen. With no real reason as to why the protagonists end up marrying and later, separating, this was one of the worst love stories ever. It lacked thought,
depth and romance.

Also, one can take cinematic liberties and fudge history. But atleast then the Director/Actor duo shouldn't claim that a year's worth of research has gone into the project. Next time Karan utters the word research, I will shut myself in a room and laugh my head off.

About Rainman, yes, Hoffman was very good. Again, MNIK is one of the most inconsistent movies ever. E.g. Rizwan Khan is shown to hate the human touch. Then how is it that he allows Mandira to cut his hair/have a physical relationship with him?
Again, the movie is highly stupid.

ZK said...

Total bakwaas movie..u got it spot on..i read TOI,masand, and taran adarsh review and watched the movie..should hv read ur review instead :)

All Talk and No Action said...

@ZK - Thanks and am sooo sorry for the torture you had to bear :)

For me, TOI, Taran and Masand lost their credibility some years back after they started bending backwards to hail the Chopra/Johar clan. Any mediocre movie and they still felt it deserved 3.5/4 stars ?!

Sneha said...

Shah Rukh Khan was recently in the US promoting this movie. I heard his interview on our National Public Radio. He did a good job on the interview.

Lately any movie that is extremely melodramatic and deals with racial-ethnic issues has gotten a lot of media attention. (Case and Point the movie Precious) So off course My Name is Khan is being hailed by American movie critics. I wont be surprised if it nominated for the Oscars.

All Talk and No Action said...

Sneha - SRK is a suave speaker and I am not surprised if he did a good job on NPR.

Yes, racism and such issues do attract lot of attention. However, they require certain maturity to deal with and this movie clearly lacks this very basic quality.

Hah.I am sure Oscars aren't that stupid yet.

Parth J Dave said...

Aha..the same reviews of My Name Is Khan...

I completely agree with you that the film is baseless, illogical and has no cinema value. It just does not seem to match with facts and practical logic. As a matter of fact, there are many people and many reviewers who feel the same as you do.

While on the other side, there are people who loved this movie and found it beautiful. In fact, they term MNIK as an example of 'fine cinema'.

..And as a matter of fact, I really enjoyed watching this movie!

Have you ever wondered, why do movie-goers have such a vast difference in opinion about MNIK? Have you thought about it?

It is actually in our perception about movies or any other thing. Movies succeed by pressing the buttons of emotion and drama.

In fact, I've also written a post specially on this, our disparate reviews about MNIK. Do check it out at The Curious Case of MNIK