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Language: Hindi, English
Release Date: February 12, 2010 – India & U.S. (limited)
Hindi Title: Khan

Have you ever heard of Shahrukh Khan? Probably not. I never heard of him either until I saw his new movie My Name is Khan. He has been the top-rated actor in Bollywood, name of India’s film industry, for the past 20 years. This Forrest Gump-like movie will pull you in and leave you satisfied when it is over.

Rizwan Khan (Khan) has Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism. This unknown disease in India caused Rizwan to be misunderstood by adults and ridiculed by kids in his Muslim neighborhood.  With the deep love of his mother (Zarina Wahab), Rizwan grows up to be intelligent and able to fix just about anything that is broken.

Eventually, Rizwan joins his younger brother, Zakir (Jimmy Shergill), and his wife Hasina (Sonya Jehan) in San Francisco. Zakir gives Rizwan a job with his company selling beauty products to local salons. One day while working, Rizwan meets Mandira (Kajol), a beautiful hair stylist, and he immediately becomes quite smitten with her.

Rizwan’s dream becomes true when he marries Mandira. They seems to be living the perfect life until 9/11 happens. A strong anti-Muslim sentiment sweeps the country and catches Rizwan and Mandira in its clutches. After they suffer a terrible loss, Mandira blames it on Rizwan being a Muslim and tells him to leave. Mandira tells Rizwan that she doesn’t want to see him again until he tells the President himself that he is not a terrorist.

So, Rizwan sets off on a long journey across the U.S. to try to meet the President and give him his simple message. Along the way, Rizwan faces many difficult hardships, but because of his undying love for Mandira, he continues on.

Shahrukh Khan gives an outstanding performance. He makes Rizwan so likable that you feel for him and you want to see him succeed. After watching this movie, you can easily see why Khan has won more than 20 awards for his acting.

Kajol is equally talented. She displays a wide range of emotions very skillfully. Kajol is one of India’s most popular actresses and she has appeared in several other movies with Shahrukh Khan. This probably explains why they had such natural chemistry together in this movie.

The combination of talented directing by Karan Johar, one of India’s top directors, and an engrossing story written by Shibani Bathija, My Name is Khan superbly blends romantic comedy with intense drama.

The only blemish in Bathija’s story is the sequence that involves a flood and Rizwan’s involvement in trying to help the people. Ordinary people seem to be able to travel in and out of this flood ravaged area very easily, but you never see any police, National Guard or Red Cross members at all. This sequence sticks out like a sore thumb in an otherwise smooth flowing narrative.

The deletion of this sequence would have also helped trim down a runtime (almost 2 hours and 30 minutes) that seemed a little too long.

However, if you’ve never seen a Bollywood film, like me, My Name is Khan would make for a great introduction and is definitely worthy of your attention.

Click on the movie screen below to see its trailer.