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Sunday, April 25, 2010

My Name is Khan ... and I am not a terrorist.

It does not happen very often, but I am at a loss for words when it comes to talking about this movie. Based on a true story of a couple living in Los Angeles, CA and directed by Bollywood's Karan Johar, this movie is hitting nerves around the world. Reuniting Sharukh Khan and his leading lady Kajol the dream team made it 'easy on the eyes' for almost 3 hours. (Their last film together was Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham in 2001).

Encompassing themes of Love, Autism and Islam it was definitely a loaded gun, and if you go to see this with your friends do not be surprised if you all walk out of the theater with totally different interpretations.

The early part of the movie tells the story of a mothers love for her autistic child. There are several moments of tenderness that every mother will relate too. There is a scene where Khan's mother sits down with her son and explains to him that there are good and bad people in the world. It does not matter what religious background you come from. 

The young Khan (Tanay Chheda - Slumdog Millionaire), a genius, receives extra tutoring from a reclusive professor. This puts strain on the relationship Khan has with his younger brother as jealousy saunters in. The brother leaves to go to University in America and subsequently sponsors Khan to come live with him when their Mother dies. 

I have never had any contact with an Autistic child so this movie taught me what it would be like to have a child with a disability (like Autism). The adult Khan (played by Shahrukh Khan) settles in to the American dream as he works for his brother selling beauty products. 

He displays obvious signs of Autism and is re-diagnosed by his brothers wife as having Asperger syndrome. Khan meets and falls in-love with Madira (a divorced hairdresser) and her son Sam. Although they have a rocky courtship he eventually convinces her to marry him and both she and Sam take his last (Muslim) name.

The scene of the wedding was one of my favourites. It brought back memories of another great flick Monsoon Wedding. The colour of their traditional dress, the music (amazing) and the looks of love exchanged  between both actors made this perfect. 

The house in the white picket-fence San Francisco neighbourhood followed and life was great for the Khan's. That is, until the September 11th attacks on America. This is where the movie really started to rope me in and it was hard to not get emotional from here right to the bitter end. I do not want to go into anymore detail on the movie because I really want y'all to go see it or at least rent the DVD when it comes out in July (2010).

We have, what I like to refer to, a blended family unit. A husband with no religion but an amazing 'centre of belief in mother-earth', two bi-racial children also not any religion on paper - but exposed to many, and me a mother-wife with a firm faith but serious *dislike* for most organised religious institutions.  


Watching this movie re-invigorated my 'Irish by birth/American by choice' mantra because it reminded me how hard it was to live in 'a country at war'. After the September 11th attacks, everyones lives changed. We were lucky that we lived in middle-America and did not loose any friends or family, but we have friends that did loose family members. Although this part of the movie initially portrays 'Americans' in a very negative light, it was a very real portrayal of 'how things were' at the time. We were scared. Scared for our lives and for our families.

This movie is loaded. You will laugh, and you will cry. You will feel a serious disdain towards America/ans and Muslims. But, by the end of the movie you will have a much better understanding of both and certainly will become more accepting of the fact that there are bad people everywhere in the world and it really has very little to do with their religious persuasion. 

A scene half way through the movie where they sing the song 'We Shall Overcome' a key anthem song of the US civil rights movement, is still sliding around in my head this morning. 

Snippets from the last line of each verse of 

'We Shall Overcome' ( ... ) 

We shall overcome some day
We'll walk hand in hand some day
We shall all be free some day
We are not afraid some day
We are not alone some day
The whole wide world around some day
We shall overcome some day 

I hope you enjoy the movie, let me know!

Those are all the WiseWords I have managed to string together for this rainy Sunday morning,



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