Writer: Sooni Taraporevala(screenplay) & Jhumpa Lahiri(Novel)
Director: Mira Nair
Domestic Gross: $10 050 174 (as of April 26th 2007)
what's in a name? well, potentially a lot as we learn in the new film from mira nair, The Namesake.
if you have seen the previews for this film, then you really have a very narrow view of what this movie is all about. the previews play up the kal penn character, gogol ganguli's, issue with his name and his traditional parents. while that is a part of the film, i was surprised and happy to see that the movie is a much grander and deeper story about family, tradition and identity.
the movie begins in 1977 in calcutta where a couple is put together in an arranged marriage. the man has been living and studying in new york for years and after the wedding they go to live back in the states. The Namesake is as much about this couple (gogol's parents) as it is about gogol and his life as a first-generation, born-in-new-york indian.
the movie spans 30 years and does sometimes feel like it is brushing past moments a little to quickly because there is so much to cover. however, that is only a little complaint, and one that came up much less often then i would have expected with such a film.
the performances are very good and, while kal penn is solid, it is the actors that play his parents that really stood out for me. mira nair also does a wonderful job of telling the story without turning it into a melodrama. there are some very touching moments, but they feel absolutely genuine and i was happy to see her end it the way she did as well.
the film has already been out for about a month now, so i don't know how much longer it will be in a theatre near you. however, if you miss it, don't forget to check it out when it hits a video store shelf near you.