The Namesake

I am now in a mood to write a lengthy post. So, here I am typing away all that’s coming to my mind.

The Saturday before last was a day when I didn’t have any specific plans and all I wanted to do was just laze around doing nothing. A movie or a book is what I found to be the best company when I feel like that. On seeing that ‘The Namesake’ was about to begin on Star Movies, after reading a couple of reviews to make sure it was watchable, I decided to give it a try.

There are some actors whom you don’t like seeing onscreen at all. For no specific reason whatsoever! Irfan Khan is (it’s got changed to was now after watching this movie) one such for me. There was a time when I used to change the channel the moment the Hutch/Vodafone ad featuring him came on TV! At the same time, there are some actors whose acting you like so much that you won’t mind watching bits and pieces of movies that may not even be of your preferred genre. Tabu is one such for me and that’s what cinched the decision to watch the movie.

The movie, though seemed to move a bit slow, still had me glued to it throughout and at the end of it, neither did I like the movie nor did I dislike it! All I felt was I had gotten to know some characters. And there were also a few moments in the movie that I liked. That was all.

Having watched the movie, I then wanted to give the book a try too just to make a comparison of the book with the movie, if not for anything else. Besides, I keep reading about her books in Nithya’s and Priya’s blogs. So that’s what made me read the book since I had never read Jhumpa Lahiri’s books before.

I really liked the book more than the movie for the first 150 pages or so and I felt that Tabu and Irfan Khan (Both of them have acted so well in the movie) were apt choice for the roles. But after that, I started finding the too many details, that too trivial ones, that were packed in each page, a bit boring despite the fact that I generally do like descriptive writings.

Say two characters meet in some restaurant. Before the two start conversing, you get to know the clothes that they both are wearing, a few words thrown in tell you about the other people in the restaurant. Then about the food they have. Yes. Every time some character in the book has breakfast/lunch/dinner/whatever or when a party is thrown, an elaborate menu of the food they are eating fills up too many lines in a page. I do remember how I used to love reading Enid Blyton’s ‘Famous Five’ series of books, in which in every other page, the kids used to go on a picnic packing a whole lot of cakes, pastries and what not. 🙂 But, reading often about the food they are having was one thing that didn’t appeal to me in ‘The Namesake’.

Again at the end of the reading the book, neither did I like it that much nor did I dislike it. But it did make a good read and the book too had its own share of some nice moments.

After reading the book, my curiosity to read Nikolai Gogol’s ‘The Overcoat’, which I wanted to read after watching the movie itself, only increased further and I did read that short story too later. That type of story is definitely not my cup of tea!

I am feeling very sleepy already. So I am ending my post right away without boring you any further. Do let me know how you liked ‘The Namesake’.

11 thoughts on “The Namesake

  1. Sreekrishnan

    i dont know why you thought Irfaan was no good. i always thought he was super .. like Pasupathy of tamil cinema ! A true actor .. and Namesake – movie is good !

  2. puranjoy

    Long long ago (I am showing my age here), there used to be a serial called Chandrakanta on DD (which then moved to Star Plus). Irrfan used to play the role of Badrinath, an “aiyaar” (people with abilities to shape-shift to take on the appearance on any other person). You have guessed by now what a hokey serial it was.
    Now the king he served used to get high on snake poison, had a concubine who used to deliver the snakes and the bites, an astrologer who would predict future by throwing dice, and other assortments.
    On reflection, I remember feeling sorry for Badrinath. His was a straight-edge character, not into shenanigans other seemed to enjoy, and served his king with a quiet dignity, and to an extent resignation, even when he didn’t agree with the royal decrees, because that was his duty, and the right thing to do. [Phew. Note to self, write shorter sentences]. The takeaway being, the guy made me think such moderately complex thoughts about human nature in a serial with no pretensions at nuance or complexity.
    That was my first encounter with Irrfan Khan, and a very pleasantly surprised Puranjoy I was many years later when I read about him getting a lot of good press because of Maqbool.

    About the movie, my reaction was also ho-hum. Haven’t gotten around to reading the book. You should try her short stories, very nice and pleasant ones.

    Regarding the dilemma, I don’t know if you are out of that mood or not, but I like this post a lot.

  3. naane

    you could find company in story books huh!!!??… hmmm… Its quite difficult for me to spend hours on a story book. why would somebody do that? I dont’ get it!!! But at the same time, when I look at the array of fiction books on the shelves of Borders, Barnes & Nobles…man! no wonder why the economy is going down!!! There are somany ppl who want to “just laze around doing nothing” 🙂
    anyway! If my memroy serves correct, my last “laze aorund” encounter was with “Matter of honor” & “First among equals” by Archer. That was long long time ago! or “once upon a time”!!!

    ok! no flames! 🙂

  4. priya iyer

    Hey! Whatte coincidence! I am also reading the namesake now, and will be putting up my reading experience on my blog shortly! 🙂 yes, lahiri’s writing is too much in detail, but i still kinda like it… i wish she would write about other subjects, though, apart from bengalis settled in usa…

    why dont u check out the other two books by lahiri – the interpreter of maladies and unaccustomed earth? i liked both these books, and have a feeling you will too… 🙂

  5. Maya

    Many Indian immigrants in the U.S. made it a point to see the movie “The Namesake”. Parts of it do truly reflect the life of immigrants as does many the other short stories by Jhumpa Lahiri. It is a surreal experience for an individual to see ones own experiences on a screen.

  6. sittingathome

    If you like Tabu and Irfan Khan as an onscreen pair, you MUST watch Maqbool by Vishal Bharadwaj.It is based on Shakespeare’s Macbeth.I do not watch too many movies but
    enjoyed watching Maqbool twice.

  7. Yogesh

    Books happen to better than movies made on it.

    As we imagine how the characters and how they deal with their situation which is much more happening than watching them.

    Namesake is a good movie breaking barriers across cultures and one could relate to it.

  8. Aparna

    It wasn’t a question of him being good or no good. It’s just that I somehow couldn’t stand seeing him. Again for no specific reason at all!

    >> I am showing my age here
    I see 😛

    Though I remember that there was a serial called Chandrakanta that was aired on DD a long time back and I did watch some episodes of it too, I remember absolutely nothing about it now.

    I am going to give her short stories a try since I can’t think of anything else to read right now.

    > Regarding the dilemma, I don’t know if you are out of that mood or not,
    What mood is that? I would really like to know what mood I am/was in 😛 I’ll wait for your resolution that’s going to come later anyway 😉

    > but I like this post a lot.
    Thank you!

  9. Aparna

    There are lots of people who spend hours together with just a book!

    > no wonder why the economy is going down!!! There are somany ppl who want to “just laze around doing nothing”
    LOL! That was a good one!

    Those two books by Jeffery Archer were the ones that I never felt like reading beyond the first few pages!

    Oh! 🙂 Waiting to read your post. I am planning to read Unaccustomed Earth today or tomorrow. Hope I like it!

    Welcome to my blog!
    > It is a surreal experience for an individual to see ones own experiences on a screen. Must surely be!

    Welcome to my blog! Shall try to watch it sometime

    Welcome to my blog! I too generally prefer books to movies for the same reason you have stated.

  10. puranjoy

    Ok, here it goes. By my patently unscientific analysis, you were distracted. Distracted by what? I have no idea. It was not sadness or happiness or anger or such stuff, just something constantly at the back of your mind. Whatever the issue was, it is resolved now. Could be something as simple as the words to a tune you have been humming that you couldn’t remember, or something more complex. But my story is distraction, and whatever you say I’m sticking to it.
    BTW, I am much curious to know how far I am off the mark (I guess around half a mile). If you deign to reply, feel free to email if need be.


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