Directed By: Mira Nair Starring: Irrfan Khan Kal Penn

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Product Overview

American-born Gogol, the son of Indian immigrants, wants to fit in among his fellow New Yorkers, despite his family's unwillingness to let go of their traditional ways.


Studio Foxvideo
SKU 205702444
UPC 024543456087
UPC 14 00024543456087
Format DVD
Release Date 10/13/2009
Rating Rating
Coming Of Age
Fathers And Sons
New York City
Theatrical Release
Editors Note
Note Like her previous films VANITY FAIR, MONSOON WEDDING, and HBO's HYSTERICAL BLINDNESS, Mira Nair's THE NAMESAKE is a lush, beautiful film bursting with rich color and visual texture. Based on the bestselling book by Jhumpa Lahiri, the film follows two generations of the Ganguli family. After wedding via an arranged marriage, Ashima (Tabu) moves with Ashoke (Irrfan Khan) from her native Calcutta to New York. As Ashima struggles to adjust to life in her new home, a true love grows between the newlyweds. When they give birth to Gogol (who does not learn the true origin of his name until adulthood), the Gangolis decide to stay in American for their child's sake, settling in the suburbs and eventually giving birth to a daughter, Sonia (Sahira Nair). While Ashima and Ashoke attempt to balance their new life with Indian traditions, their children have the very different experience of being raised first-generation Americans. With little interest in their ancestry, both Gogol and Sonia disappoint their parents by having little respect for the sacrifices their parents made for them. Gogol's desire to change his name, and his relationship with a wealthy American girl (Jacinda Barrett), places a strain on the family which Gogol will later regret.^Here, Penn proves he can play a serious role while still using his comedic skills to great affect. The actor shows impressive range in growing a clueless teen to a man his father would be proud of. Nair's skill at directing can be felt in the film's many great performances. Both Tabu and Irrfan Khan embody their characters so fully that the viewer really feels a personal connection to the story. As the head of the household, Khan's character will subtly make viewers laugh while breaking their heart. Packed with unique characters, THE NAMESAKE offers audiences an outlet into Bengali traditions and the immigrant experience while telling a universal story of family bonds which all parents and children should connect with. Nair excels in what is her most personal work to date.
Premiere 3.5 stars out of 4 -- "THE NAMESAKE is a thoroughly engaging, terrifically moving family story that's rich in beautifully observed and lovingly conveyed human detail." 03/01/2007 p.45
Entertainment Weekly "[M]oving and marvelous....Penn, who has a gift for letting feelings burn through his skin, shows you the conflicts roiling inside him..." - Grade: A- 03/16/2007 p.48
USA Today 3.5 stars out of 4 -- "THE NAMESAKE is an engaging and moving film with a universal story about the bonds of family as told through two generations of a Bengali family." 03/09/2007 p.11D,3.5 stars out of 4 -- "THE NAMESAKE is an engaging and moving story about the bonds of family as told through two generations of a Bengali family." 03/16/3007 p.4E
Rolling Stone 3 stars out of 4 -- "This is a generational family saga everyone can relate to, and Nair gives it her special magic." 03/22/2007 p.90
Total Film 3 stars out of 5 -- "[The film] casts a spell thanks to committed performances across the board and Nair's sharp eye for local colour." 05/01/2007 p.40
Movieline's Hollywood Life "Kal Penn anchors the movie with his eloquent portrayal....This immigrant journey ends on a deeply moving note." 03/01/2007 p.105
Sight and Sound "Kal Penn...exactly catches the awkwardness of adolescence, carrying us with him as he matures." 04/01/2007 p.74
Wall Street Journal "[An] immensely pleasurable film....The Indian film star Tabu is exquisite as Ashima. Ashoke is played, magnificently, by Irrfan Khan..." 02/27/2009
Mira Nair
Irrfan Khan
Kal Penn
Cast & Crew
Allyson C. Johnson - Editor
Frederick Elmes - Cinematographer
Heather MacRae - Actor
Irfan Khan - Actor
Jhumpa Lahiri - Based On Novel By
Kal Penn - Actor
Linus Roache - Actor
Lydia Dean Pilcher - Producer
Mira Nair - Director
Nitin Sawhney - Original Music By
Sooni Taraporevala - Screenplay
Stephanie Carroll - Production Designer
Suttirat Anne Larlarb - Art Director
Yasushi Kotani - Executive Producer
Technical Info
Original Release Date 2007
Catalog ID 2245608
UPC 00024543456087
Number of Discs 1
Running Time 114 minutes
Color Color
Original Language English
Available Subtitles English, French, Spanish
Available Audio Tracks English, Spanish Dubbed
Aspect Ratio
Widescreen  1.85:1
ReviewSource ReelViews
Review The Namesake is an affecting drama spanning two generations of an Indian American family and exploring the generational and cultural conflicts that arise as a result of their assimilation into society. By carefully developing her characters and allowing us to believe the exist beyond what is shown on screen, director Mira Nair is able to cover 25 years without making the audience feel that the plot leaps forward awkwardly or that story gaps are left unfilled. The Namesake is a chronicle not so much of events but of individuals and the ways in which tension develops between them and how each makes peace with who he or she is...It's difficult to overstate what the director and her screenwriter, Sooni Taraporevala, have achieved with this adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri's novel. They have taken events specific to one culture and produced a movie that is universal in its appeal and thematic content. The Namesake is a rich and moving motion picture.
Reviewer James Berardinelli
ReviewRating 9
Review In the nearly twenty years since she made a prodigious directorial debut with the Oscar-nominated Salaam Bombay (1988), filmmaker Mira Nair has chalked up a frustratingly erratic number of film, with the misses (The Perez Family, Kama Sutra, Vanity Fair) sadly outnumbering the hits (Monsoon Wedding). Her latest film, an adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri's precisely observed 2003 novel The Namesake, is an unfocused and overly episodic drama that emotionally truncates what could have been a richly textured saga of an Indian family torn between assimilation and tradition. Working with her longtime collaborator, screenwriter Sooni Taraporevala (Mississippi Masala), Nair is unable to draw a consistent narrative through-line in The Namesake, a patchily affecting film further marred by its wobbly tone and Kal Penn's superficial performance in the title role...The film's acting honors go to Tabu, a Bollywood star making her American film debut. She supplies the grace and subtlety that's ultimately missing from much of Nair's uneven adaptation of The Namesake.
Reviewer Tim Knight
ReviewRating 7
DVD, Widescreen, English, French, Spanish, Subtitled, Sensormatic
Product Attributes
Actor Penn,Kal
Label Fox Home Entertainment
Music Format DVD
Video Format DVD
Connie Ogle, Miami Herald A rarity, a film that preserves the depth and integrity of its source while bringing the story to life in an indelible way.
M.E. Russell, Portland Oregonian ...sensual, funny and quietly devastating.
Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune Brims with intelligence, compassion and sensuous delight in the textures, sights and sounds of life...
Owen Gleiberman, Entertainment Weekly Moving and marvelous new cross-cultural family saga.
Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer It's a tearjerker, sometimes, and sweetly funny at other moments. It's near perfect.

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