My Name Is Khan (2010): Chance and happenstance

83. My Name Is Khan (2010) — Happy and thankful after watching MNIK. Not because the movie itself made me so — the plot contrivances toppled my suspension of disbelief in the end, and the core tragedy was almost Whedonesque in its ‘necessity’ — but because:

(1) I got to watch the movie (unexpectedly!);

(2) I got to watch it on the big screen;

(3) I got to watch it with Sayesha and VV (as well as a new acquaintance);

Cute! And reflective of their altered dynamic in MNIK

(4) Kajol and Shah Rukh Khan! Onscreen together again! (albeit with an alteration of their usual equation — though I suppose the roles of child and adult in the relationship do get swapped around unexpectedly);

(5) Well done, Karan Johar. I don’t think all your gambles paid off this time (fake presidents and crazy calamities, c’mon), but there were some moments of real beauty in the shots (love that sun flare in the haircut scene — must be my favourite shot) and script (the risk of the hero having Asperger’s and having that hero played by SRK actually paid off). MNIK was a better film — more honest in tone (doesn’t try to manipulate the heartstrings cynically, though try it does) and genuinely entertaining (with not a single dance number in sight!) — compared to KANK, which tried too hard for no good reason; and finally

(6) SRK really pulled it off this time — allowed to ditch the superhuman SRK brand for the very human Rizvan Khan, not having to play the brash hero, he was able to subsume the ‘bling’ of his cinematic persona into this challenged and challenging character, and somehow let only the best parts — that warmth, that humour, that charm — seep through. It wasn’t about seeing him ‘act’ — he really made me forget about the public SRK; he really did become Rizvan Khan.

For me, Rizvan Khan’s real ‘hero’ moment came not when he waded into a very wet part of town, but when he spoke out against a twisted interpretation of God’s call to Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice Ismail (Isaac). Indeed, the real story is not so much the sacrifice, as the love that demands it, isn’t it? RK then decried a would-be terrorist as the devil that he was, turning the initial power balance of the whole scene on its head. Pretty awesome, actually.

All in all, MNIK an enjoyable film populated with characters you will come to care for — but beware: bad stuff happens to good people. But the good in people will help you to see how life can and must go on.

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