The Namesake (2007) *HQ*

The son of Indian immigrants, Gogol (Kal Penn) wants to be a thoroughly modern American man, but he finds that his wishes are at odds with the traditional life his parents (Irfan Khan, Tabu) wish he would live.

Cast: Irfan Khan, Tabu, Kal Penn, Jagannath Guha, Ruma Guha

The Namesake is the story of the Ganguli family whose move from Calcutta to New York evokes a lifelong balancing act to meld to a new world without forgetting the old. Though parents Ashoke and Ashima (Irfan Khan, Tabu) long for the family and culture that enveloped them in India, they take great pride in the opportunities their sacrifices have afforded their children. Paradoxically, their son Gogol (Kal Penn) is torn between finding his own unique identity without losing his heritage. Even Gogol’s name represents the family’s journey into the unknown.

The Namesake’s greatest strength is that it is a real, uncaricatured story; it avoids the trap of lapsing into cliche, of recycling the tired themes of the strained arranged marriage, the overbearing immigrant parents, the second generation’s rebellion. Instead, Ashima and Irfan’s marriage grows from its formal beginning into genuine, moving tenderness; while Ashima laments the brash, American mannerisms of her children she and Irfan are committed to letting them have their own choices and freedoms; and Gogol’s distance from his parents is not so much a reaction against being Indian as it is a general malaise. His identity crisis is focused through his particular cultural lens, but his drifting of purpose perhaps resonates universally.

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Video Source: DVD
Host: DM
Chapters: 6

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