My Name Is Khan

Last night my fiance and I decided to watch a movie, and we decided on a Shah Rukh Khan film we had not seen yet (not many in that list). We set up My Name Is Khan (MNIK) and began to watch. It is the kind of movie that you just get sucked in and takes you on the journey with the characters. I love Rizwan Khan, Mandira, Sam, Ammi, Zakir, Haseena, Mamma Jenny, Funny Hair Joel, and the other characters that Rizwan comes across on his journey to meet the President of the US and utter the words “My name is Khan, and I am not a terrorist.”

It starts with an airport scene in which he gets taken to a room to be searched. I remembered that this actually happened to SRK while he was filming this movie in the US. Even though people recognized him and vouched for him being a famous star, they kept him for two hours. His name was supposedly similar to another name on the “watch list”. People in the holding area were asking for his autograph and everything. OK, maybe no one in the TSA has ever seen a Bollywood, but I might want to check out someones information if everyone else knew them.

The story is narrated by the letter/diary entries that Rizwan writes to his wife Mandira while on his journey. There are also flashbacks to his youth and when he moved to San Francisco and started his life with Mandira and Sam. Rizwan has Asperger’s and SRK does an amazing acting job being in character. He is still charming as ever, but never once do you suspect he is playing a part. I have taught a couple children with Asperger’s (much milder versions than the one Rizwan has) and he is really right on. I was laughing though when he comments on San Francisco being “scary, very scary.” Growing up a couple hours away from the city I went there all the time. I love SF but it can definitely be scary and I usually have some kind of panic attack while driving there (I hate it!).

So, I would love to hear all of your thoughts if you have seen the movie, and if not, watch it as soon as possible.

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Lagaan

Lagaan was my first real Bollywood film and it surprised me in so many ways. Firstly, it was looooong. I had never watched a movie that long (almost four hours!), but what surprised me even more was I did not want it to end. Secondly, it had a lot about cricket in it. A sport that was never on my radar and I knew nothing about. And thirdly, it was a musical?!? I had not educated myself at all about Bollywood and had no clue what to expect.

Lagaan is, on the surface, about the oppression of an Indian village, during colonial times, by the taxes imposed by the local British cantonment. Rain has been scarce and crops scarcer. How does does one provide for their family and pay outrageous taxes (which is what Lagaan means, taxes)? Well, making a crazy bet with the British General might be their only hope. Under the surface, and what you take from the movie as you watch it, is hope and an unbreakable spirit. Every character holds that hope in their heart and puts it into learning and playing the game of their lives. There is also a lot of comedy, romance, signing, and dancing. The music is amazing and I could not get enough of it. I kept re-watching just the songs and trying to dance along. My favorites are “O Rey Chhori“, “Radha Kaise Na Jale“, and “Ghanan Ghanan” but they are all great songs.

My final surprise was Aamir Khan. He was such an amazing actor and quite handsome. He became my first Bollywood crush, but certainly not the last ;). I made a list of all the movies he had made (which is no small list), and started to look for them online. I found many for purchase on eBay and they even came 3 or 4 at a time. I also had discovered a CD with songs from Lagaan and other films. If I liked the song I looked for the film. Movies led to actors/actresses/music and then onto other movies. And that is how an obsession starts, my friends.