I went to see The Namesake a few weeks ago - or many, many weeks ago probably more like.
I have been looking forward to this ever since I heard that Mira Nair was bringing the book to film. I loved the book and hoped that the film would be even half as good. I like a lot of Mira Nair's films, but sometimes they can be a bit hit or miss for me. Monsoon Wedding has been her biggest hit to date and definitely a crow-pleaser. If you want something less middle-of-the-road, you should see Salaam Bombay, which explores the lives of some Mumbai street children.
The Namesake is not a big book, but it packs in a lot and spans 2 continents and several decades. As a result, Mira Nair had to leave out a lot. It still leaves a good film with a solid story, but having read the book probably gave me some degree more understanding than I might have otherwise had. The original story is set in the Boston area, while the film moves the tale to New York. This really doesn't impact the story in anyway. I loved the book because it dealt with issues of feeling culturally at sea. At the time, I felt very much the same way too. I think most people who have lived in cultures outside of their own could relate very well to the book. Hell! Sometimes, we can even feel adrift in our own country.
i think many people wrongly asessed this film as "Just another Indian movie" i.e. a Bollywood film, which it certainly isn't. Consequently, when I went to see the film there couldn't have been more than 20 of us in the hall with my friend and I being the only black people. I thoroughly enjoyed myself, shedding bucket-loads of tears and admiring Tabu's beauty.