Monday, May 21, 2007

The Namesake on Film

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.


uknaija said...

Still planning to see The Namesake. i liked the book. Have you seen Mississippi masala which was my introduction to Mira Nair- back in the 90s

Ore said...

Yes, I saw Mississippi Masala many years ago.

Anonymous said...

Hi Ore
Was watching the Omnibus of Tyra show yesterday and one of the episodes was one she featured the owner of Carol's daughter (Alice Rice) and her two spokesperson(s) Jada Picket Smith and Mary J Blige. After the show, I was so intrested in her products that I browsed her website first thing this morning and while there, something in my memory clicked that I had read about Carol's daughter did not take me long to remember it was from your early blogs (back in 2005). So is there anywhere in Lagos where I can get her stuff??

Anonymous said...

I mearnt Lisa Price

Ore said...

Hi Modupe,
I don't know anywhere in Lagos that sells Carol's Daughter products. As far as I know, you can only get them in the States and at that, only in select stores.

Sorry! Some of the products are pretty fab.


Uzo said...

Loved The Namesake - went to see with fellow bollywood loover Daddy's Girl. Carol's Daughter products are sooo great. If you have anyone in the states, you can simply order the products online and they will be delivered country wide. Sadly no access to the products in the UK yet.

Mona said...

wow ive missed so much :-/

catwalq said...

i also went to see the Namesake.
I am a bollywood fan but I also know that Nair is not a "bollywood director" and that is why most of her movies do not sit well with the conservatism of Indians. Have u seen Kama Sutra and Monsoon Wedding?
Another Indian director that I would give an arm and a leg to work with is Deepak Mehta. Absolutely love her work.
U can see my review on the namesake on my post under "On The Hill".

Angela said...

I loved The Namesake!!

Ore said...

Yes, I've seen Kama Sutra and Monsoon Wedding. I liked both. I have MW.

I also know Deepak Mehta. I've seen Fire and Earth of her trilogy. I am yet to see Water.

I recommended The Namesake to a friend and he absolutely hated it; so much so that he walked out before the end. He didn't see the point of the movie. Gogol was named after a Russian writer. So what? He was born of Indian parents living in the States. So what? He had a girlfriend of a different cultural background. So what?

My sister told me that she was glad that she had read the book before seeing the film otherwise it might not have made much sense to her and thinking about it, especially in the light of my friend's criticisms, I think I can see that the film would mean a lot more to someone who had read the book first.