MNIK review: SRK-Kajol chemistry rocks!

MNIK review: SRK-Kajol chemistry rocks!

Source: General

By: Sonia Chopra

Critic's Rating: 3/5

Friday 12 February 2010

Movie Title

MNIK review: SRK-Kajol chemistry rocks!


Karan Johar

Star Cast

Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Jimmy Shergill, Tanay Chheda, Yuvaan Makaar, Soniya Jehan

The irony cannot escape the viewer.

The film's protagonist wants to tell the whole world that he's a Khan and not a terrorist. And the actor, a superstar, is fighting to make himself understood because he is being called a traitor since he thinks sports and politics don't mix.

Speak up for SRK! Send him your messages of support!

Most seem to have sided with the actor's perspective - that speaking in favour of Pakistani cricketers doesn?t equal to speaking for the country?s terrorists - and that it's a bizarre connection to make.

In the film's case, Rizwan Khan (Shah Rukh Khan) has a goal. His wife said in a fit of rage that it was impossible to explain to everyone that having Khan for a surname did not make one a terrorist. 'Go and explain this to the president of the United States,' she said. And he was off.

Trade review: MNIK: Goodbye Raj, hello Rizwan!

Just in case the subject seems too far-fetched or you can't sympathise with Rizwan?s journey, Johar has a backup plan: the romance.

And so you have Kajol. Her open smile illuminates the screen, and her eyes are cauldrons of emotions. Forgive the gushing - this writer has never been a fan and still came away deeply affected by Kajol's performance.

A single, divorced mom of a 13-year-old, Mandira (Kajol) works at a high-profile salon and meets Rizwan when he comes there selling his brother's company's herbal products. He's suffering from Asperger's Syndrome, but she finds his quaint mannerisms and child-like straightforwardness endearing. He proposes marriage almost immediately, but she takes time coming around.

Post the 9/11 attacks, in an 'Islamophobic' world, she realises that becoming a Khan from a Rathod can have very serious repercussions. A tragic racial attack later, the couple splits. In order to win Mandira back, Rizwan takes up a determined trek to find the American president, proclaiming 'My name is Khan and I am not a terrorist.'

All about My Name is Khan

The film trails the prejudices that people harbour against a Muslim name. The ending, however, is haphazard. The problem is, it all seems too manipulative.

Shah Rukh Khan is likeable as Rizwan Khan, who is a man of character and strength. Shah Rukh makes us like Khan for his convictions while retaining a purity and disarming lack of guile. His aversion to loud noises and finding San Francisco ?very scary? only makes the hero more human.

Kajol's Mandira is the soul of the film. She's always had tough choices to make, and Kajol brings out Mandira's grittiness without ever losing her warmth and humour. It's a masterful performance that you'll fondly remember after the film.

Stand up for SRK! Show him your support!

And what to say of the SRK-Kajol chemistry? It's stating the obvious - it's rocking! No other jodi currently has the kind of likeability, drama and charisma as this one.

Tanay Chheda, who plays Rizwan as a child, and Yuvaan Makaar, who is Kajol's son in the film, deserve special mention for their superb performance. Soniya Jehan is striking in her cameo.

Screenplay by Shibani Bathija deftly moves across time zones and the story is told through Rizwan's voice-overs. Dialogue is real and intelligent. The languorous pace can make one restless and the finale should have been wrapped up quicker.

Emotions are over-dramatised constantly, be it the bond that Rizwan forms with an African-American family, his hurried romance with Mandira, or the recurring 'hum honge kaamyaab' song whenever the characters are faced with a challenge. You're not particularly moved when Rizwan defeats a fundamentalist in a battle of words, or when a female character proudly dons the hijab saying it's a part of her identity.

But thankfully, amid all the plasticity emerge some real moments that touch your heart. Comparing it with Johar's Kurbaan would be a waste - it was a mess confused about its politics and too much in a hurry to milk terrorism to make a thriller.

Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna was a refreshing film and with My Name is Khan, producer-writer-director Karan Johar proves he?s set on doing films after his heart. Viewers who turn down thinking films saying they prefer the 'Karan Johar brand of cinema' may well revise their definition.

Verdict: Three and a half stars

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