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Updated: Jun 4, 2020

A short piece I wrote for Asian CineVision, as part of Asian Pacific American Heritage Month, on why Mira Nair's 'The Namesale' impacted me.

As someone who’s grappled with the question of belonging all my life, Mira Nair’s “The Namesake” struck a part of me that hadn’t felt seen until I first watched the film. Adapted from Jhumpa Lahiri’s novel, Nair’s film delicately navigates the emotional tussle between sacrificial first generation parents and their second generation son uncomfortable with his hyphenated identity. The film is full of moments and scenes that resonate deeply with me and my family’s experiences, whether it’s Ashima (Tabu) adapting to a new life and country after getting married, Ashoke (Irrfan Khan, whom we lost this year) quietly working his life away for his family, or Gogol (Kal Penn) altering his name and behaviors to fit in as more American. My first professional job was with Mira Nair, as her assistant. I distinctly remember the very first time I met her, bumbling as I poured out my feelings on “The Namesake”, trying my hardest not to get choked up. The film has stellar performances across the board, but it is Irrfan Khan’s character Ashoke who has the most memorable lines, including a poignant moment with his son, where he says: “Remember that you and I made this journey together to a place where there was nowhere left to go.” I’m someone who rarely cries during movies, but “The Namesake” gets me every single time I watch it.

– Pulkit Datta, Events/Industry Programmer

Read the full post on CineVue.


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