Directed by Karan Johar. Starring Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol.
My Name is Khan is a sensitive and emotional film. Karan Johar’s treatment of a complicated storyline is marked by finesse, with outstanding portrayals by Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol adding to the sheer quality of the film.
Not to Johar’s liking is the current fad of adding cheap thrills and even cheaper jokes to the proceedings in a film. He goes about his business in a diligent and capable manner and comes up with films that are believable for the most part, even though some far-fetched stuff is part of them.
In MNIK, Johar outdoes himself and goes beyond the levels of class that he displayed in feel good films like Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham and Kal Ho Na Ho.
Rizwan Khan (SRK) is a patient of Aspergers Syndrome and is unable to relate to other people like normal people do. He joins his kid brother (played by Jimmy Shergill) in the US and falls in love with Mandira (Kajol), the divorced mother of a teenaged boy who is a hair stylist with a boutique of her own. Circumstances lead to tensions between the couple after the boy is killed and Mandira blames Khan’s religion for the tragedy. Khan sets out to meet the President of the USA to tell him that he’s not a terrorist, and nor was their son.
What follows is a heart breaking and poignant journey through the length and breadth of America, with an arrest, torture, a rescue act to save Mamma Jenny and Funny Hair Joe (!), a meeting with real terrorists and a TV appearance or two along the way.
Khan emerges as the hero of the immigrant community in the US, and especially of the Muslims, and manages to meet the President after all, who confirms that he is certainly not a terrorist.
Shah Rukh Khan outdoes himself in MNIK and after Swades and Chak De India, comes up with a performance wherein he self-admittedly acts out a role rather than playing himself. His gripping performance in a difficult role is the highlight of MNIK. Rizwan Khan is an endearing character, and one’s heart goes out to him.
Kajol is one of the finest actresses to grace the Hindi film screen. She looks as if she’s been playing Mandira all her life, and is the perfect female interest for Khan to romance and marry.
Zareena Wahab makes an engaging comeback. All the support actors look the part and their characters add depth to the film.
The music is lilting and even the comic scenes go down well, despite the seriousness of the subject being dealt with in MNIK.
Some scenes of a rescue from a hurricane purported to be those of Georgia State look a bit contrived and difficult to believe, but these apart the film makes a powerful impact.