Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Namesake

The buzzword these days is "The Namesake" – the novel written by Jhumpa Lahiri which is now a movie, directed by Mira Nair. The book/movie captures the perspicuous nuances of being caught between two different cultural experiences. In my opinion, the movie in itself was a work of art. Few poignant scenes hit those emotional chords on a level where you never thought they would; my vulnerability left me abashed in the theatre.

Having said that, I am in a quandary. Okay, so how is this concept of the book/movie new? The success of the movie seems like a paradox in some way. I have lost count of the number of books and movies written/made on immigrant experience and their struggle to create a fine blend of east in west.

Don't get me wrong; I have a lot of admiration for these women. I went to the meet of the South Asian literati where both these eminent ladies shared their side of "The Namesake": writing and movie making. Jhumpa Lahiri's remarkable acumen to details is worth applauding. She is precocious and an adroit writer. Not to forget, Mira Nair lit the room with her piquant wit; people were in splits. What added the icing on the cake was Jhumpa Lahiri's educational background - she is a Columbia graduate who lives in Brooklyn. Boy, it couldn't get any better than that for me. However, none of this explains the astonishing success of the movie.


I have been talking to a friend about how the salient success of "The Namesake" reminds me of a book I read by Malcolm Gladwell – "The Tipping Point". According to Mr. Gladwell, major changes occur when things reach a "tipping point" (or "the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point"). I am sure there is an explanation for why, what, who, or when caused the ineffable triumph of "The Namesake", over other books/movies from the same genre. The answer to this question would make sense to my world. I hope some one is carrying out this research as I'd be intrigued to find out.

Copyright © 03.22.2007

"If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all" - Oscar Wilde

7 comments:

ra said...

Wow..you write so well !!

deepa said...

The Namesake is a Mira Nair movie, that's what makes it different . I never read the book, because I did not know or care much about Jhumpha Lahiri. So, I cannnot comment on the book....but , I saw the movie because it was directed by Mira Nair. And I am an average reader but an above average movie goer. And I think there are more people like me out there who just love to go and enjoy a good movie and Mira Nair has always been successful in creating that. I liked the movie because it was very real and FILMY at the same time. And, I think, that is the essence of the success of the movie in comparison to other movies of the same genre, which simply failed to appeal to the senses....

Anonymous said...

i agree with ra. you are awesome.

NS said...

Interesting stuff!

chezmoi said...

miran nair did an amazing job of directing. but twocents, you have got me thinking. a very valid question. there is something more than just good direction that has led to the success of this movie.

a said...

that's some writing you have there. wow!

bcs said...

The very name "Mira Nair" does make a difference in popularity index.The contents are,of course,importatnt but at times take a back seat.