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The Namesake is a film which was released in the United States on March 9, 2007, following screenings at film festivals in Torontomarker and New York Citymarker. It was directed by Mira Nair and is based upon the novel of the same name by Jhumpa Lahiri, who appeared in the movie. Sooni Taraporevala adapted the novel to a screenplay. The film received very positive reviews from American critics.


The Namesake depicts the struggles of Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli (Irrfan Khan and Tabu), two first-generation immigrants from West Bengal, India to the United States, and their American-born children Gogol (Kal Penn) and Sonia (Sahira Nair). The film takes place primarily in Kolkata, Indiamarker; New York Citymarker; and various New Yorkmarker state suburbs.

The story begins as Ashoke and Ashima leave Calcutta and settle in New York City. Through a series of miscues, their son's nickname, Gogol (named after Russian author Nikolai Gogol), becomes his official birth name, an event which will shape many aspects of his life. The film chronicles Gogol's cross-cultural experiences and his exploration of his Indian heritage, as the story shifts between the United States and India. Gogol eventually meets and falls in love with two women, Maxine (Jacinda Barrett) and Moushumi (Zuleikha Robinson), while his parents struggle to understand his modern, American perspectives on dating, marriage and love.

As much as Gogol/Nikhil's experiences, the film tenderly describes the courtship and marriage of Ashima and Ashoke, and the effect of Ashoke's early death of a massive heart attack. Ashima's decision to move on with her life, selling the suburban family home and returning to Calcutta, unifies and ends the film.



The soundtrack has varied music, Indian, Anglo-Indian (by Nitin Sawhney, - influenced by Ravi Shankar's music for Pather Panchali) , and a French piece. One British Indian electronica piece is State of Bengal's "IC408." The ringtone from Moushumi's mobile phone is the song "Riviera Rendezvous" by Ursula 1000 from the album Kinda' Kinky - this is the same song that is played when Gogol and Moushumi first sleep together. The Indian classical pieces (performed on screen by Tabu) were sung by Mitali Banerjee Bhawmik, a New Jerseymarker-based musician.

Critical reception

The film received favorable reviews from critics. As of February 23, 2009, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 85% of critics gave the film positive reviews, based on 121 reviews. Metacritic reported the film had an average score of 82 out of 100, based on 33 reviews.

Top ten lists

The film appeared on several critics' top ten lists of the best films of 2007.

Awards and nominations


  1. Observer Music Monthly March 2007

See also

External links

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