09-Apr-2007

A Review

Went to the movies after a long gap of three years, our only son having abandoned us for his grandmother's house. 'The Namesake' by Mira Nair, based on the novel by Jhumpa Lahiri. A film about Ashoke, a Bengali, who emigrates to the US and the family he raises there. A nice story told well. But as it got over I was trying to think what message was being conveyed. Damn! Why couldn't there have been a nice summary at the end with the key takeaways listed clearly? True, Tabu gives something almost similar at the very end - about Ashok's ashes being in the Ganges, but his real spirit and memories residing in the circle of his (mostly Bengali) friends and relatives in the US. But was that all?

Then a complete stranger helped me out as I was squeezing the car out of the parking lot. He was in converstation with his friend, obviously regarding the film we'd all just finished watching. And this is what I overheard:
"neither they become american, nor they become indian".
A simple review cutting right to the heart of the matter! Fair with regard to the Indian diaspora in the US? I don't know. But when I thought it over, it described the characters in the movie perfectly!

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