Well…those who know me…would have very well figured out by now what SHAH RUKH KHAN means to me. If I start writing or talking about him, it will take me a day or two when I will stop. That is precisely why I haven’t written any blog, particularly focussing on him. But, now that I have started writing Movie Blogs as well, it just can’t be that I don’t write even one on an SRK film. So, the movie that I have chosen for writing is my all-time favourite SRK film. Now, I know that the guesses would be revolving around the epics like DDLJ and KKHH, classics like Chak De India and Swades or a movie that is very close to me personally…DARR. But, the movie that I have chosen is MY NAME IS KHAN…for the reasons you will get to know below.

नमाज़ जगह और लोगों से नहीं… नीयत से पढ़ी जाती है

What made the Film?

It was the year 2009, and SRK was returning from an American airport. But, out of surprise, he was detained by the US immigration department and inspected for hours. The reason for this checking was the resemblance of an international terrorist with either SRK’s name. But, this inspection was quite ‘harsh’ in nature where the officers checked his every body part including his teeth to his underwear. Now, one can just imagine how hurt it would have felt to a Global Superstar like SRK. Although he didn’t create a fuss after the incident, a subject had definitely stuck in his mind, and he went on to make that subject as his dream project. The project ultimately turned out to be My Name Is Khan.

Karan Johar wants to redirect this scene of 'My Name Is Khan' - The Statesman

Shah Rukh Khan and Karan Johar from during the shoot (Photo Credit: Statesman)

Making of the Film

The director SRK trusted for taking on such a sensitive project was non-other than his friend Karan Johar. Now, that was an unconventional choice for the project, as KJo is known for romantic and family-oriented movies. But, defying all speculations, KJo went on to deliver a masterpiece. The way he moulded the serious tone of the movie in his directorial style, was extraordinary. There was a love story, family emotions, and soulful music all in the movie, but the overall tone and the subject of the movie weren’t altered. Especially, the music was extremely soulful, especially teh main theme song of the film ‘NOOR E KHUDA’ is a musical rollercoaster. Now, I am not a big KJo fan (although I like all movies ‘directed’ by him), but that’s what you call a commendable job.

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Let me tell you a great piece of trivia here, the movie was initially titled ‘KHAN’. But later it was changed to MNIK to give more meaning to the movie, and if you all remember a dialogue too goes with this line. Another jackpot, the movie stuck was pairing SRK with his DDLG costar Kajol. I don’t think any other actress would have been able to make the story alive, as much as was needed in the case. All the other actors too in their supporting roles (both Indian and American) did their job pretty well. For another great trivia, let me tell you all that out of the many assistant directors who worked on this movie, two were the current stars Sidharth Malhotra and Varun Dhawan.

मुझे डर तो बहुत सी चीज़ों से लगता है… पर सबसे ज़्यादा डर तुम्हे खो देने के ख्याल से लगता है

Synopsis of the film

The film starts off with a story of a man named Rizwan Khan who has Aspergers Syndrome. He walks and talks strangely but has a very sharp mind. During his childhood, when he saw Muslim rioters talking about killing Hindus, the first thing his mother taught him was “इस दुनिया में सिर्फ दो किस्म के इंसान है… अच्छे इंसान जो अच्छा काम करते हैं और बुरे जोह बुरे” (There are only two types of people in this world…good and bad…good who do good stuff and bad who do bad stuff). Rizwan made this very line his motto of life.

His younger brother was already working in the US, and after their mother passed away, he too came to the US. He joined his brother’s company and started working as a salesman. Then, he meets a woman named Mandira and falls in love at first sight. She too starts liking him looking at his innocence and honesty, despite his disability. Mandira was a single parent of her teenage son. Interestingly, the love story between Rizwan and Mandira has been kept very natural and sweet, without any superficial elements. A part of this was the beautiful and romantic ‘Marry Me’ scene, after which the two leads marry. But, just then, a twist was awaiting them.

Watch My Name Is Khan | Prime Video

My Name Is Khan and I’m not a Terrorist!

The movie then shows the time of the 9/11 attack in the US. Incidentally, one of Rizwan’s neighbour too dies while serving in Afghanistan. All this brings Rizwan and his whole family into a precarious situation. The worse happens, when their son ‘Sam’ is racially abused by some white US boys, it eventually turns into a fight and Sam suffers a severe injury leading to his death. Mandira is completely left distraught. She thinks all this happened only because of their surname ‘Khan’. The two separate in the most HEARTBREAKING scene of the film. Rizwan then sets off on a mission to meet teh US President and tell him that he is a ‘Muslim’ and is not a ‘Terrorist’.

The rest of the film traces Rizwan’s whole journey of trying to reach the US President. But, sometimes he is caught suspected to be a terrorist, and sometimes he himself gets stuck in helping those needy. It also kind of recreates the real-life scene of SRK being interrogated at the airport. Slowly, many people start joining him and his story starts reaching many more. Ultimately, he and Mandira, both are able to meet the President, who apologises to them for the loss. Interestingly, the movie also shows the victory of Barack Obama, as the president just before this scene. Overall, the movie ends on a satisfactory note with a sense of hope.

Subtle Messages

The movie primarily highlights ISLAMOPHOBIA which is no doubt highly prevalent in the world, including in India. It showed how innocent Muslims suffer because of the deeds of some demonic-minded terrorists. The movie shows women being discriminated against for wearing a ‘Hijab’ and doing ‘Namaz’. It shows Sikhs shaving off their beards to avoid discrimination by mistakenly identifying as Muslims. But, at the same time, it also showcases instances of Islamic extremism. It shows the orthodox thinking of calling inter-religious marriage ‘Haram’. It shows evil-minded Muslim scholars radicalising the youth. Even in the climax, the man who attacks Rizwan is a Muslim. So, in all aspects, it is a PERFECT example showing how to do ‘Messaging’ in a film. One of the great scenes of the movie is when Rizwan tries to donate money for those suffering from floods in Africa. But, the manager tells him that only Christians are allowed to do that. Rizwan leaves without taking his money, and when the manager asks him to take back his money, Rizwan says “Keep it for those who are ‘Not Christians’ in Africa”.

Shweta Kushe on Twitter: "It's Shah Rukh Khan's birthday today and I am here to tell you that he gave Bollywood one of the greatest proposal scenes of all time. He is

Shah Rukh Khan and Kajol in the beautiful ‘Marry Me’ scene 

OSCAR Winning Performance

There is no doubt that in his illustrious career, SRK has given many great performances (almost all), but in this movie, he is in a different league altogether. If I ask you all what is the most common attribute of SRK’s performance, of course, it’s his ENERGY that he puts in every scene. But, in this movie, energy is there, but it is being presented in a very channelized manner. The audience is able to feel SRK’s intensity in every scene, but it’s very subtle in nature, which actually makes all the scenes extremely powerful.

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This movie was really special for SRK, and for this particular role, he worked extremely hard. He deeply researched the disease ‘Asperger’s Syndrome’. He watched several videos of patients and even met several patients to get into the very skin of the character. For enacting the role, he recorded himself and kept on looking at himself doing the scenes for getting the desired result. There is one specific ‘Church’ scene, where Rizwan tells about how his son was killed. In that scene, it’s very difficult for you to hold your tears, it comes out every time I watch that scene. For me, the BEST acting can be something, when a person just delivers the dialogue with expressions, being still and without doing anything extra, and is able to make the audience cry. This is exactly what SRK has done in this film.

मुझे डर तोह बहुत सी चीज़ों से लगता है… पर सबसे ज़्यादा डर तुम्हे खो देने के ख्याल से लगता है

Security beefed up at cinemas showing My Name Is Khan | India – Gulf News

Shiv Sena led a protest against the movie (Photo Credit: Gulf News)

The Controversy during the release

This movie has been made with an extremely pure heart and with the noblest intentions of propagating peace. But, some people, precisely the HINDUTVA extremists had serious objections to the movie. As per them, the title ‘My Name Is Khan’ hurt religious sentiments (how?), the movie promoted Love Jihad (their fantasy term) and it promoted Islam (I don’t think so). At the time of its release, Shiv Sena tried to create as many hurdles as possible. It damaged posters, burned effigies, and threatened of cancelling shows. Eventually, it hurt the movie to quite an extent, but fortunately, the movie turned out to be a success. By teh way, I must clarify that Shiv Sena, back then was in its original ‘communal’ form and not that ‘secular’ form that it got into in the company of Congress and NCP.

कुछ ख़ास आवाज़ों से दिल की धड़कने तेज़्ज़ हो जाती है… और मेरे लिए वो आवाज तुम्हारी है मंदिरा…

Overall Reception and Records

The movie was a hit at the Indian box office and a huge blockbuster overseas. It was the first Indian movie ever to do $10 million overseas business. The internally acclaimed writer Paulo Coelho called SRK’s performance “Oscar Deserving”. Other than him, several other Hollywood stars and organisations hugely acclaimed the performance. In my opinion, this was India’s BEST chance of winning an Oscar. Not just the movie was a masterpiece, but its international appeal would have worked in its favour. We have long been wasting opportunities by sending movies that international audiences can’t understand. Also, I just can’t digest that SRK didn’t get the National Award for this one. He has truly been unlucky in this regard, he hasn’t received even one despite giving so many great performances.

My Name Is Khan (2010) - IMDb

Shah Rukh Khan in a still from the movie (Photo Credit: IMDb)

Thank You Shah Rukh Khan

It is very normal to have an ideology in life, everybody does. But wearing it on your sleeves with so much conviction is not everybody’s cup of tea. When I am talking about wearing your ideology, I don’t mean that ‘Kangana Ranaurt’ style. But, what I mean is that despite knowing so many threats and risks involved in the film, SRK didn’t bow down to any pressure. First of all, he chose such a bold topic, worked so tremendously hard and at last came out victorious despite fighting that ‘hateful’ ideology. Now, that’s some KING stuff.

Now, can any of us even imagine a movie like this releasing today, in the current polarised and hateful atmosphere? That’s what makes SRK’s work more commendable and brave. The message of the movie lives on…terrorism has no religion…and there are only good or bad people in the world. At last, I would like to thank Shah Rukh Khan and the whole My Name Is Khan team for working so hard and delivering such a great film. And…Shah Rukh Khan, this is my FAVOURITE film of yours and I cherish watching it again and again.

जब एक बेगुनाह मरता है… तो उसकी मौत के साथ सारी इंसानियत की भी मौत हो जाती है

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