Friday, March 30, 2007

Mini-Review – “Namesake” – The Film and the Novel

When I first read Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel, “Namesake,” I was deeply moved. She tells a thought-provoking and evocative tale of an ex-patriot Bengali Indian family living in America. She skillfully explores the identify crisis that such a situation spawns in the Ganguli family’s firstborn son, Gogol. I do not want to reveal much about the plot, other than to say the film version of this well-told tale will certainly spark a wave of people buying Nikolai Gogol’s story, “The Overcoat.”

The book has been carefully, lovingly and effectively translated to the screen. Visual motifs buttress the points that were made in the novel’s narrative. When you see this film, watch for the frequent appearance of bridges to signal the need of one or more characters in the story to span the chasm that perpetually yawns widely between the Bengali culture and the sub-cultures of suburban America. The film is currently playing in most first-run movie complexes. A trip to the cinema will be a bargain in this instance, transporting you – for the price of a single movie ticket – to several worlds. Relish the journey and the characters you will meet along the way. They will grow on you.



1 comment:

Marlene Detierro said...

I highly recommend the film. It is great cinema - and though not necessary as a comparison - is right up there with the best that Ray has made. Please see this if you want to see a wonderful film, enjoy good film-making, or just want to learn more about India and the Indian immigrant experience.

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