Monday, July 19, 2010


There had been one DVD lying in my room for the longest time now. It was Cecil’s DVD titled “My Name is Khan.” Based on hearsays, the said movie was great. And so, finally, after months, I had the time to watch it on one Sunday afternoon.

My Name is Khan is a very poignant and touching story that re-designs the image of our Muslim brothers through a lot of powerful scenes and heart breaking dialogues. Looking back at the story line of this masterpiece, My Name is Khan narrates the life of Riawan Khan, a Muslim from Borivali section of Mumbai, who suffers from Asperger’s syndrome, a form of autism; Khan’s case of autism makes him angry whenever he sees an object painted with color yellow and whenever he hears a lot of noise. Despite such condition, Khan marries a Hindu single mother named Mandira, whom he met accidentally in one event his aperger’s syndrome occurs. As the story progresses from the time Khan and Mandira met and toward their marriage, the story also shows the complex impact of the 9/11 tragedy especially on their family, and on most Muslim individuals. And events in his life and Mandiro become twisted, Khan begins his journey to meet US President Obama to say that “He is not a terrorist.”

My Name is Khan is not a simplistic film that talks about how one individual can overcome personal challenges. The success of the movie lies in its brave and powerful attempt to shun the long held representation among Muslims as ‘terrorists” and who are greatly discriminated right after the 9/11 tragedy. As a viewer, you get to feel the authentic emotions of the characters who are battling not only their personal struggles in their personal space, but more importantly on the public space they are part of. More or more, a human versus human overarching conflict is brought to interpersonal and intrapersonal struggles.

I like how the movie starts. It shows Khan working his papers in the airport for a flight going to Los Angeles. Unfortunately, with his strange actions, he is pulled out by American police and was interrogated. What’s worse, his statement of “My name is Khan and I’m not a terrorist” worsens the situation. And from this scene, the audience will be moved to understand that Khan suffers from autism. Soon, the story unfolds the sole reason of his journey.

Apart from the beautiful dialogues and cultural infusion of the film to better convey the lives of the characters and the social milieu, the film is able to challenge the stereotypical views among Muslims. Based on the story, there is a high axing of Muslims in America especially when the 9/11 tragedy happened. Perhaps, not only in America, but across the globe. In fact, the movie zooms into the hardship a Muslim has to undergo in America to avoid discrimination and even death – change their names, stop wearing their religious dress, and a lot more. While sufferings are presented, hope is defined as well. And this is a reality that the movie is able to convey to its audience; not all Muslims are bad and there are also who are good.

The dichotomy of the bad and the good as a subordinate concept of the film successfully supports the advocacy on anti-discrimination among Muslims. Using the spontaneity and interaction of Khan to those people he meets on his journey, the audience is appalled to break the discriminatory views among Muslims. To my surprise, I was even crying at some scenes in the movie where Khan made an effort to metaphorically ‘repair’ some social injustices. Who can ever forget the deep relationship he had with Mama Jenny and its son in the small town of Wilhomena? That’s just rousing. And so I remember the movie titles The Kite Runner.

In the end, the movie leaves the audience an opening of possibilities, a sea of refreshing re-articulation of the Muslim imagery. Indeed, while there is a reification that some Muslims delve in misconception as pointed in Dr. Rahman’s recruitment, there are also those who seek for equality and unity that they gain through good deeds. Regardless of religion and race, the movie sets in a creation of a world that is fair and habitable by anyone.

So, did Khan is able to meet the President? It’s for you to find out. Watch it and better prepare to fall in tears. =)


Another movie, which left with me with a lot of things to ponder on, is Inception. With a blackout in our area here in Brunei due to heavy rains, I just joined my officemate to watch the movie in the nearest cinema.

The movie Inception is touted as contemporary sci-fi narrative that zooms into the architecture of the mind through dreams. Through the main character, Dom Cobb, a skilled ‘mind’ thief, the narrative articulates the endless possibilities of layering of dreams, creating projections and bending time and space continuum to extract valuable secrets in a corporate espionage. Interestingly, as the movie progresses, the story will showcase the challenges Cobb and his hired team to make a counter action; instead of extracting information from the mind, their team has to plant an idea that has to regenerate and impact action on the target person. As the team moves in maneuvering their well-planned design, everyone will be dragged in chaos with Cobb’s unresolved past that lies in his subconscious.

The movie Inception is a great articulation of the interplay of dreams and reality. While there is the story line that presents us a character that can extract an idea from a person through the dream state, there is also a disturbing re-articulation of planting an idea in the mind to provoke action. While these concepts are presented to the audience, one may also question the theoretical statement of the movie; the existence of projections that build and sometimes destroy images in the subconscious, and the possibility of layering dreams which break space and time continuum. Relative to such, the element of limbo as defined in the movie can be analyzed as a springboard on degradation or demise of one’s consciousness.

Apart from the action packed and adrenaline pumping scenes of the movie, the success of the movie works in the theoretical foundations it present to the audience. Seriously, a viewer may not only ponder on the journey of Cobb as he wants to be home with his family that always appear as his subconscious, but a viewer may also question the border with sets reality apart from dreams. Disturbingly, the movie posits that time can be lengthened through dreams as compared with the time arched in reality.

In the end, the movie gives a overwhelming experience to its viewers as it successfully showcases the existence of the ‘Kick’ to break the layers of dream and let the ‘dreamers’ be back in a state of reality. Bottom line, the movie simplifies the bending of time and space through the subconscious, powered by a surreal cinematography and high-powered visual effects.

As I walk away from the movie house, there was one idea that was planted in me; that is, are we really living in a reality or in a dream? Then again, reality is perception.


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