Karan Johar's sagas have depicted the bonding of friends, families, married couples and now, cultures within diversity. An autistic Khan's journey of redemption and clarification to the President of USA that he is not a terrorist, falls short of being epic because it so apparently glorifies its melodramatic and incredulous nature. The theme is potent and moving but the filmy execution in most parts not only makes it a drag but also unreal. We did not expect a docu-drama from the master of Bollywood melodrama but in the age of redefining story telling, 'My Name is Khan' struggles to overcome the expectations of a masterpiece about the aftermath of the War on America and its effect on an innocent muslim resident. In the end, it just ends up being far better than 'New York' and 'Kurbaan' but that's not giving it much credit is it?
On the bright side, the film has a few outstanding moments, courtesy some good screenplay and a fine act by ShahRukh Khan. His cajoling of Kajol in the cutest manner, his righteous teachings that he implements, the bond he quickly establishes with Mandira, Sam, Mama Jenny, his dedicated effort to fulfill his mission to meet the President and his one straightforward discrimination between what's good and evil. Like Rancho and Gandhiji, Khan's simple philosophies in life are didactic for the audience and King Khan's acting easily convinces us. Khan's asperger's syndrome prevents him from emoting during tragedy, anger, joy, confusion and fear but such challenges are once again portrayed well by SRK as he smoothly dissolves into his character.
Karan Johar's direction of Shibani Bathija's story and screenplay seems thorough but lacks the editor's necessary scissors. While the musical score runs in the background without obstructing the story, it is essentially the melodrama and filmy angles that drag the film well beyond its deserved limit. There are too many characters who seem very eager to get as much screen time as possible, thus, digressing from our character's journey. While the concept of Khan's journey to redeem the tragedy caused by his identity of being a muslim in the post 9/11 era is inspiring and epic, the enhanced focus on him meeting the President and having hurdles and diversions in that attempt simply takes the juice out of the concept. Yes, meeting the President of a country should not be such a big deal for a resident but making it such an ordeal of a film is what makes My Name is Khan a little incredulous and tiring.
Shankar, Ehsaan & Loy deliver a pleasant score with Noor-E-Khuda towering above all other tracks with its music, lyrics, singers, presentation and pertinence to the movie's theme. Tere Naina and Sajda are hummable and sweet because it has the sensational pair of SRK & Kajol romancing.
Although Kajol doesn't have the role of a lifetime, she still brings the energy and bubblyness that we have seen in her previous Dharma films. Though, sometimes a little overboard with that. ShahRukh Khan's portrayal of Rizwan Khan still has his trademark style in every scene but this time, there's more subtlety due to the character's autism.
My Name is Khan is not a landmark film by any standard. Not even the best of Kajol, SRK or Karan Johar but it still is worthy of a watch because of it's theme and the various underlying messages it tries to convey. The non-filmy scenes including the one in the mosque where Khan is confronting Prof Faisal Rahman hold water and those are the moments you will remember from the film. Barring those few moments, the film is a lengthy drama in a familiar backdrop with some indigestible achievements.
- 7.092 on a scale of 1-10.