MY NAME IS KHAN
Love Conquers All
Release Date: February 12, 2010
Starring: Shah Rukh Khan, Kajol, Jimmy
Shergill, and Tanay Chheda
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 162 minutes
Distributor: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Director: Karan Johar
Executive Producer: None
Producer: Hiroo Yash Johar and Gauri
Writer: Karan Johar and Shibani
Address Comments To:Stephen Gilula, President/COO
Nancy Utley, President/COO
Fox Searchlight Pictures
20th Century Fox Film Corp.
A division of Fox, Inc. and News Corp.
10201 West Pico Blvd., Bldg. 38
Los Angeles, CA 90035
Phone: (310) 369-1000; Fax: (310) 369-2359
Told in flashback, the actual story opens in India with young Rizvan Khan being instructed by his Muslim mother that the differences between Muslims and Hindus are not important. There are only two kinds of people, she tells her young autistic son: good people who do good deeds; and, bad people who do bad deeds. Years later, Rizvan takes this lesson to America when he follows his brother and his brother’s wife, to San Francisco
In San Francisco, Rizvan’s brother gives him a job of selling products to local beauty salons. Blessed with a photographic memory of all the details and sales pitch on each product, Rizvan is able to ingratiate himself with his customers.
At one salon, Rizvan falls for a young Hindu woman, Mandira. Mandira and her son, Sam, have been abandoned by her husband, who found another woman. Sam and Rizvan become fast friends, but Mandira shies away from Rizvan’s marriage proposal. Eventually, however, Rizvan’s compassion, love, and joy for life convince her to say yes.
Their marriage develops strongly until 9/11, however, when, according to this movie, Americans began to harass people who look like Muslim foreigners, including real Muslims. Even though Mandira is Hindu, she loses the customers who came to the beauty salon she opens in the suburbs. Mandira gets another job, however, and all seems well for a time.
Then, however, Sam’s best friend in school, Reese, rejects him, and the other schoolboys taunt Sam for being a Muslim. One afternoon, Sam is beaten by Reese’s new friends. As Sam struggles to get up, the leader of the bigoted gang kicks a soccer ball straight into Sam’s chest, killing him by fatally damaging his heart.
A hysterical Mandira berates Rizvan for being a Muslim. She expresses regret for having married him, saying that, if she hadn’t, Sam might still be alive. She tells Rizvan to leave. Rizvan tries to defend himself verbally, but Mandira angrily tells him, “What are you going to do? Go to the President of the United States and tell him, My name is Khan, and I am not a terrorist?”
Mandira’s statement leads Rizvan on a heart-rending quest to see President Bush and tell him that very thing. Maybe then, Mandira will let him come back to her.
Unlike too many Hollywood movies, many Indian movies know how to tug on the viewer’s emotions. And, MY NAME IS KHAN is no exception. In fact, [spoiler alert] it’s message of love, non-violence, and religious/ethnic tolerance includes a very powerful climax where Rizvan helps a group of kindly African American Christians in rural Georgia being devastated by a powerful hurricane. Rizvan’s efforts get national recognition and inspire Americans across the country, including other Muslims and Hindus.
Despite these positive elements, the main thrust of MY NAME IS KHAN is an idealistic, liberal political correctness supporting multiculturalism. The movie’s political correctness includes a positive view of the false religion of Muslim moderates like its central character. And, the movie’s view of Post 9/11 America is also politically correct, Anti-American, and distorts history. In actual fact, despite some isolated incidents, America’s treatment of Muslims after 9/11 was incredibly positive, especially considering the fact that there is indeed a group of Muslim immigrants and Muslim natives in the U.S. who clearly side secretly and sometimes even openly with the Anti-Semitic, Anti-American Arab, Persian, Pakistani, and Indonesian Muslim terrorists and their goals and demands.
On the positive side, MY NAME IS KHAN explicitly and implicitly condemns those Muslims who do side with the 9/11 terrorists and their ilk. In the movie’s third act, for example, Rizvan calls the FBI about a crypto-terrorist leader that Rizvan uncovers while he’s praying in a mosque.
Thus, in the end, the movie offers viewers a mixed pagan worldview with some negative and positive elements, including some strong Christian and moral content. Regrettably, the movie’s ending throws in an unconvincing, silly politically correct message that includes an idealistic appearance by President-elect Barack Obama. Ultimately, the movie’s socio-political themes, though preaching love and tolerance, are too simplistic, idealistic, and politically correct. All in all, they distort American and world history, giving a false impression of Barack Obama and his political goals, a false impression of America, and a false impression of President George W. Bush.
Finally, it should also be noted that the movie’s claim that there are only two kinds of people in the world is theologically, philosophically, psychologically, and empirically false. As the Bible clearly teaches, and history confirms, we are all bad people saved by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. And, that faith in Jesus requires us to be spiritually baptized with the power of the Holy Spirit, the only thing that truly turns us into truly good people who do good deeds.
The movie is also marred by some brief strong foul language and light sexual references between a married couple in two scenes. Thus, MOVIEGUIDE® advises strong caution overall.
MY NAME IS KHAN builds to an emotionally powerful climax teaching love and tolerance. Regrettably, this positive message is diminished by some politically correct elements giving a slightly too negative view of the United States. The movie also contains brief strong foul language and elements of false theology. Thus, MOVIEGUIDE® advises strong caution.