The film doesn’t have much to uplift the spirits of the people watching it as it is quite boring and depressing, besides being slow. The pace does pick up after interval but overall, there is stuff which could impress the class and the Muslim audience, not viewers across the board.
One would’ve expected performances in this kind of an issue-based film to be of a very high order, especially because it features two superstars. But while the acting is good, it isn’t outstanding. Shah Rukh Khan acts well and is true to his character. He endears himself in the scenes in which he feels shy. But making him constantly talk at length about the history of new places or about the background of people is not an intelligent move because so much of verbosity bores the audience. Kajol also acts ably. She has very few scenes for a good part of the second half, something her fans won’t like. Jimmy Shergill gets limited scope and is okay. Soniya Jehan leaves a mark. Zarina Wahab is extremely natural. Katie Amanda Keane (as Sarah Garrick), Domnique Renda (as Mark Garrick), Kenton Duty, Parvin Dabas, Arif Zakaria, Jennifer Escholos (as Mama Jenny), Adrian Turner (as Joel), Navneet Nishan, Vinay Pathak, S.M. Zaheer, Sumeet Raghavan, Tarun Mansukhani and Christopher B. Duncan (as US president Barack Obama) lend fair support. Child actor Tanay Chheda (as young Rizvan Khan) is excellent. Yuvaan Makkar (as Sameer) does quite well.
Karan Johar’s direction is fair but the emotional impact of the drama is missing and that’s a red mark on his report card. His narrative style will be hailed by the class audience and the public in the Overseas territories because there is no melodrama, but the Indian audience will not really like the understated drama. Music (Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy) is very soulful. ‘Sajda’, ‘Tere naina’ and ‘Khuda’ songs are all very appealing. Song picturisations (Farah Khan) are good. Ravi K. Chandran’s cinematography is splendid. Action scenes (Sham Kaushal and Spiro Razatos) are well-composed. Sharmishta Roy’s sets are lovely. Deepa Bhatia’s editing is sharp but there’s little she has been able to do about the inherently slow pace of the drama. Dialogues (Niranjan Iyengar and Shibana Bathija) are striking at places only. Production values are grand.
On the whole, My Name Is Khan is far from entertaining and also too boring for the general masses. For the heavy budget at which it has been made, it will keep its worldwide distributors (Fox Searchlight) in the red. Business in big cities, especially in South India, Muslim centres and Overseas will be better but it will be below the mark in North India as also in smaller centres and single-screen cinemas. It may be appreciated by the class audience but the masses will reject the film.