So I finally managed to catch The Namesake, and to put it in a word, I was disappointed. It was always happens to me-books made into films always fail to live up to my expectations. When you read the book, you tend to make mental sketches of the characters, situations and emotions. But when you see someone else’s imagination take shape on the giant screen in front of you, it is disappointing to see them not match up to your expectations. Maybe this is a wrong approach to watching movies, but that’s the way it is, for me.
Firstly, for me, small details go a long way in making a film impactful .In the beginning shots, the camera rolls over the city roads and pans onto a small road divider sign reading, “The Telegraph. Unputdownable”.The book is set in 1968 and since the film maker does not mention the period of the film, I presume she sticks to the book. The Telegraph began to use the aforesaid catch line only in the last few years.
The trams have been shown with advertisements of ATMs hollering across their tin bodies in the trip the family makes to
During Gogol’s marriage to Moushumi, Ashima recalls her wedding to Ashoke when she remembers herself reciting Daffodils till the end but in the beginning of the film, she is cut short in her recitation by her father-in –law-to be, who recites the concluding lines himself.
The make-up. With all the orange and white flowers adorning her hair and the kilos of kohl in her eyes, Tabu ends up looking more like a Bharatnatyam dancer than a literature student that she’s supposed to be. And the Alta on her hands-it is so weird and one of the biggest misconceptions people have about Bengalis. For once and for all people, Bengali women do not wear it on their hands-be it 1968 or 2007.
Moreover, the make up fails to maintain the continuity of Tabu’s age. She looks old with graying hair in the Taj Mahal trip but scenes later, she looks like a newly wed with her parting smeared with generous doses of vermillion and jet black hair when she receives the news of Ashoke’s death.
I am not being cynical but just pointing out the flaws which caught my eye. I’m no stalwart at judging movies by their technicalities and I lack the qualifications to do so. But as an average movie goer, these were the things which kind of jarred my viewing.
Not everything about the movie is bad. There were quite a few scenes which were warm and touching.
When Gogol returns from Cleveland which his head shorn, the bonding shown between Ashima and her children is a major tear jerker and goes on to say a thousand words without uttering a syllable.
The scene where Gogol’s head is being shaved with the loud punk rock playing in the background is a beautiful scene highlighting the in your face contrast of emotions.
The visuals of the
The scene with the Saraswati idol hauled and being carried in the rickshaw is beautifully shot. The contrasts in the lovemaking scenes of Ashoke-Ashima and Gogol-Maxine have been brought out very subtly without being too grotesque and flesh flaunting. The difference between love and lust has been beautifully brought out....
The concluding scene where Gogol and Ashoke walk down the boulders is beautiful and touching....the words (penned by Jhumpa Lahiri) are equally warm.....
“Will you remember this day,Gogol..try to remember it always...remember that you and I made this journey ,that we went together to a place where there was nowhere left to go.....”