He is freed only when an earlier phone call by him to the FBI helps it in nabbing a real terrorist. Rizvan continues his journey but by now, he has become a hero of sorts as the media has picked up the story of his illegal detention, release and also of his quest to meet the president for reasons which nobody can comprehend. He is close to meeting Mandira who has come to seek his release from jail, but doesn’t confront her because he had vowed not to meet her till he had met the president.Even while his journey is on, he touches the lives of people he comes in contact with. Two such people are a mother-son duo from Wilhemina, whom he comes to save, after travelling miles, when they alongwith thousands of others get stranded in floods. Again, the media makes a hero out of Rizvan Khan for reach- ing out where the government does not. Mandira as well as Rizvan’s brother and sister-in-law unite with Rizvan in Wilhemina and ask him to return. But Rizvan must meet the president to, as he feels, win back Mandira’s love. What happens there- after is revealed in the climax.

The film has an interesting story (Shibani Bathija) inasmuch as it takes up for the Muslims who, unfortunately, are all viewed with a lot of suspicion post-9/11. However, Shibani Bathija’s screenplay is bad. It may have some truly masterly scenes which would be loved by the audience, especially the Muslims across the world, but they are too few and far between. For the major part of the film, the drama is boring and preaches more than entertaining the audience.It goes back and forth (flashback and present times), confusing the audience. In fact, a linear narration would’ve served two purposes: it would not have confused the viewers, and it would have helped in creating an emotional connection between the viewers and Rizvan Khan.

But because Rizvan’s present (in which he manages everything independently, that too, pretty well) is shown to the audience before his childhood (in which he has to face humiliation from insensitive people), the audiences in general are not able to sympathize with him as much as they ought to have in a film of this kind. This is a major flaw in Bathija’s screenplay because the foundation (emotional bonding between the audience and Rizvan Khan) of the drama becomes very weak. Even otherwise, most of the emotional scenes fail to touch the heart.Although the film is a love story, the viewer’s heart does not go out to Rizvan or Mandira when they separate. And because of this, the viewer does not pray for their coming together. One major reason for this lack of rooting for the two love birds is Mandira’s obstinate stand much after her emotional outburst which had led to Rizvan leaving home. She tells her sister-in-law, she cannot forgive Rizvan as there is no place for love in her life now because love would weaken her resolve to get justice for her dead child by getting his killers arrested.

This doesn’t ring true at all simply because Rizvan had never told her not to seek justice. Mandira could have easily sought justice along with her husband. Only thing, then he wouldn’t need to go to meet the US president, which is the crux of the story. In other words, if the reason for Rizvan to undertake the journey was to be solid, Mandira had to be shown as crazy as she has been in the film (to ask her husband to go to the president). But so that she does not come across as a vamp with the passage of time, the reason she gives her friend doesn’t serve the purpose.And frankly, what’s in it for Rizvan Khan and Mandira even if he succeeds in meeting the president, which he ultimately does?

Will the meeting make their dead son come alive? One view point is that Rizvan has set out to meet the president for a much bigger mission – of pleading the innocence of ordinary Muslims – but that view point will not appeal to the masses because we all already know that just being a Muslim doesn’t brand one as being a terrorist. Except for giving Rizvan Khan and Mandira lip sympathy, there is little the US president can do – and does. Is that why Rizvan Khan undertook the journey? The élite audience may laud Rizvan for this but the general masses, especially the non-Muslims, won’t be impressed. Yes, had there been an element of benefit for the Khans (other than getting the stigma attached to their last name removed, which, in any case, no intelligent or thinking adult would believe that it existed in the first place), besides the larger benefit to the Muslim community, the audience would’ve experienced a feeling of elation.

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4 COMMENTS

  1. MY NAME IS KHAN may find favour with the élite audience but it will be rejected by the Indian masses.
    vs
    HAPPY NEW YEAR may not find favour with the élite audience but it will be accepted by the Indian masses

    In both cases your rating is 2/5. RIP Koimoi

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