Berlinale film review: My Name is Khan (2010) by Karan Johar
The producers of one of the biggest Bollywood box office hits, Sometimes Happy, Sometimes Sad (2001), took to the US to produce My Name is Khan (2010) with the Indian superstar Shah Rukh Khan. The film tells the story of Rizvan Kahn, an Indian muslim who suffers from an autistic disorder called Asperger syndrome, who heads off to the US. After 9/11, his happy life will take a turn for the worse: muslims are no longer welcome. Apparently, the idea for the film came to the lead actor after he was subject to a rigorous security control at Newark airport - probably for his not so white-christian appearance.
Trailer: 'My Name Is Khan' (Hindi/ English)
Why should I go and watch this film?
Are you a fan of Forrest Gump? Does the post 9/11 islamonoia get you down? Like happy endings, tearful scenes and cheesy sentiments? Then this is the film for you
The film deals with the problem of islamophobia, the obsession with security and the limits on individual freedoms whilst managing to stay entertaining throughout its abnormally long running time (almost three hours). The film isn't only in English - the actors speak in Hindi too - which is great for opening up a more cultural understanding
The only dark shadow comes towards the end of the film, where there is a political hint that America made mistakes after 9/11, though this period didn't last too long. The American dream remains intact in any case. I wouldn't be surprised if 20th Century Fox were behind this nice politically correct ending.
Pictured (L - R): Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol and director Karan Johar
Rating out of 5: ****
4/5: for its message of tolerance
When it premiered in the UK on 16 February, the film broke all Bollywood records and entered the charts at six
Watching this film will make you want to
Think: the role that the US plays in the world, what religions mean, extremism, tolerance....