The Namesake

Rated NR

Struggling with one’s birth name, romantic relationships and cultural heritage are the basis of director Mira Nair’s film adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri’s 2003 novel. After years of being teased about his unusual name, Gogol Ganguli (Kal Penn) refuses to accept his Bengali blood. With extremely devout traditionalist parents of the Bengali culture and all the arranged marriages, proper greetings and celebratory symbols that entails, this is a difficult undertaking. Still, he stubbornly proceeds while destroying various relationships along the way. However, when he is faced with a tragedy, Gogol steps up and accepts his culture and his role within it. There are some small differences created by the page-to-screen transfer, like the setting switch from Boston to New York City due to a production snafu. But the main differences—a less foot-dragging pace and a more likeable protagonist—make this one a mustsee.

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