My Name Is Khan, And I’m Not A Terrorist

Some guy thinks he’s the Indian Incarnation of Forrest Gump. Similarities are purely coincidental. 

Rizwan Khan, suffering from Asperger’s Syndrome, sets on a journey to meet the President of the United States so he can tell him one single thing: “I am not a terrorist”.

2010 : Year
Karan Johar : Director
Shahrukh Khan/Kajol Devgan : Actor/Actress
$4M (limited release) : Box Office

Let me warn you upfront if you are from the US: By watching My Name is Khan you either start to hate yourself or the movie. Totally depends on your mindset.

On the whole the joint venture movie from Hollywood and Bollywood brings the best from both worlds. I loved the colorful and lush scenes in the right moments and I loved the great Bollywood soundtrack.

I also love the fact that there is not one single dance number. Yep, you read right. Not one! Thank god, Fox Star Studio or whatever the western counterpart of the production team is named. If there is one single thing I hate, it’s the dancing numbers which substitute for sex scenes. Come on guys, show us thirty boring seconds of blurred bodies in motion and save us at least forty minutes per movie. But I am loosing track here…

If I had to describe My Name is Khan in one word I’d pick “manipulative”. From the get go the movie uses every single frame to show us a character so bigger than life and so innocent and naïve that I was unable to anything else than root for him. You could even describe him as some sort of Indian Jesus. Really, he is characterized as that good and innocent and this fact doesn’t change one iota until the very end.

At the beginning of My Name is Khan you see the titular character at the airport and anyone who ever set one foot on those things in recent times will know what happens: since Khan is autistic and therefore acts a little strange he of course gets immediately snapped by the airport security. There he states the reason for his travel: he wants to meet the President and tell him he’s not a terrorist.

In the following course we not only follow him on his travel but also see his past which leads to this travel.

Of course this would be no Bollywood movie without the big Love and My Name is Khan is no exception. In fact, most of the first half of the movie is only about that, shown in the typical Bollywood way – except the dancing of course. Surprisingly I really liked that, especially those moments when this fluffy and cavity causing music kicks in. It has so much innocence to it I simply don’t know from most of the romantic comedies I have to endure now and then. It was refreshing although I constantly felt the movie had to reverse at one moment to its total opposite.

In that regard My Name is Khan also delivers as predicted: 9/11 happens and the world becomes hell.

My Name is Khan doesn’t try to be neutral or anything. This movie throws everything it has to show you a country that changed for the worse and to make you totally feel sympathetic towards the main character – and basically hate everyone else.

This movie in full power goes for emotionalism at its highest. It throws everything at you so you get the point. And its single biggest tool to do this is the main character of Rizwan Khan. I laughed and I felt with him, but I also know this character (and hence the script) manipulated me in ways beyond my imagination.

The only thing I can safely write at the moment is this: I seriously need to watch this movie another time to get a better impression and a better feeling. Currently the movie is a mixed bag to me. I loved many moments and the overall visual style. But because of this obvious manipulation I cannot really say whether I liked My Name is Khan or not.

Any by of the way: it seems this movie exists in several versions because in my version there was no scene  where Khan and a choir sing “We shall overcome” in a church.

And by oh way the second: the director seriously should have added some title cards here and there because I seriously couldn’t tell that some massive parts of this movie seriously take place even before 9/11.

For me, this movie was highly recommended for all of you movie-goers who love strong quality of life and moral value in a movie.

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