Dec 2007 10

Mira Nair has taken this adaptation of the novel of the same name and turned in a touching and entertaining movie that while remaining constantly enjoyable, never rises above being anything but pretty good.
Irfan Khan, Tabu, and Kal Penn share the lead in this movie with each giving us a fascinating look into Indian culture and the effect of raising a family in a country far from home can have on everyone involved. Ifran Khan is great as Ashoke Ganguli and we open the film with him in a train crash. We then go on to see the arrangement of Ashoke and his wife Ashima (Tabu) and they quickly move to America where Ashoke has been studying for his PHD. Gogol (Penn) is born as is his sister Sonya and the movie quickly moves up to Gogol’s high school graduation. The movie jumps large blocks of time though out though we don’t really feel like we miss a whole lot, which is a good thing. Along the course of the film we get to see Ashoke and Ashima’s adjusting to America, numerous visits back to India, we follow Gogol’s love interests as well as a discovery of his heritage through his family.
Kal Penn does some pretty good work here and I would love to see him get to spread his wings a bit more like this with some meatier roles. He is able to handle most of the drama well but he is not performing at the same league as Khan and Tabu. His love interests also do admirable jobs but leave you feel like we could have gotten more from them as both characters and actresses.
Tabu is just fantastic as the mother as the emotional core of the film. She is in the middle of everything and deals with a lot of the drama in the film but we get some great looks into her emotions as she deals with all the changes around her. I don’t think I have seen her in anything else, but I hope she pops up more cause she is great and a real find in this movie.
The movie as a whole is good, with some great camera work at Taj Mahal. The jumps in time are a bit jarring, but don’t let us feel like we missed anything to important, and there are some really great genuine moments along the way. The film just lacked something to give it that punch of greatness and I really don’t know what it is, but it’s missing something. Either way it is a film that is definitely worth your time if at all interested and for anyone up for a good family drama with a cultural twist.


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