The Namesake (2006)



Critic Consensus: An ambitious exploration of the immigrant experience with a talented cast that serves the material well.

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"The Namesake" is the story of the Ganguli family whose move from Calcutta to New York evokes a lifelong balancing act to meld to a new world without forgetting the old. Although parents Ashoke and Ashima long for the family and culture that enveloped them in India, they take great pride in the opportunities their sacrifices have afforded their children. Paradoxically, their son Gogol is torn between finding his own unique identity without losing his heritage. Even Gogol's name represents the family's journey into the unknown.
PG-13 (for sexuality/nudity, a scene of drug use, some disturbing images and brief language)
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Kal Penn
as Gogol Ganguli
Irrfan Khan
as Ashoke
as Ashima Ganguli
Ruma Guha Thakurta
as Ashoke's Mother
Sandip Deb
as Music Teacher
as Rini
Linus Roache
as Mr. Lawson
Tanushree Shankar
as Ashima's Mother
Sabyasachi Chakraborty
as Ashima's Father
Christie Moreau
as Phone Operator
Jo Yang
as Ms. Lu
Krishna Dikshit
as Funeral Priest
Jeb Brown
as Oliver
as Viola
Partha Chatterjee
as Reformed Hindoo
Supriya Devi
as Ashima's Grandmother
Sahira Nair
as Sonia
Stuart Rudin
as Crazy Wino
Heather MacRae
as Nurse Patty
Michael Countryman
as Mr. Wilcox
Kousik Bhowal
as Dr. Gupta
Rupak Ginn
as Uncle
Soham Chatterjee
as Gogol--Age 4
B.C. Parikh
as Mr. Mazumdar
Sibani Biswas
as Mrs. Mazumdar
Lakhan Das
as Baul Singer
Gary Cowling
as Hotel Manager
Tamal Roy Choudhury
as Ashoke's Father
Pallavi Shah
as Kajol Mashi
Jhumpa Lahiri
as Jhumpa Mashi
Gargi Mukherjee
as Mira Mashi
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News & Interviews for The Namesake

Critic Reviews for The Namesake

All Critics (127) | Top Critics (41)

What holds it together are the subtle loving performances by Tabu and Khan, both Bollywoood stars. They never overplay, never spell out what can be said in a glance or a shrug, communicate great passion very quietly.

Full Review… | December 7, 2007
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

It is a saga told in small pieces, a patchwork of short scenes that tumble after each other almost apologetically, as if they would love to linger a little longer, but there is too much to tell and only so much time in which to do it.

Full Review… | April 22, 2007
Top Critic

Penn is just wrong for it.

April 1, 2007
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

Intelligent and insightful, The Namesake celebrates family in a unique way.

March 29, 2007
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

This is a wonderful movie.

March 23, 2007
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

A moving generational drama focusing on a Bengali family but searingly universal in its subtle, tender grasp of love, regret and the search for identity.

Full Review… | March 23, 2007
Miami Herald
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Namesake

A beautiful journey through places, times, and mainly the souls of a group of fascinating people, struggling to find themselves in the midst of all the changes that come with life.

Pierluigi Puccini
Pierluigi Puccini

Super Reviewer

This film, about a young Bengali American wrestling with a cultural identity crisis, is a nice take on the culture clash/cultural identity film, and also marks a nice change of pace for Kal Penn. True, he had a serious role on House, but there was also a lot of humor.This is a more mature work for him, even though Gogol isn't too far removed from Kumar. Gogol is more smart and serious though. All the cliched words like touching, heartwarming, etc apply here, and the film hits some familair beats, but it's not totally unoriginal thanks to how everything is conducted and presented. This is obviously a labor of love for Nair, and she does a great job, especially since she can relate to the material. All of the perforances are terrific, but Penn, Tabu, and Khan are the real strong points here. Give this one a shot. It's far from brilliant or new, but it is well played, and gives some welcome portrayals of India and Indian culture.

Chris Weber
Chris Weber

Super Reviewer


A beautiful film, great screenplay and direction that brings a terrific cast. Fresh.

Lucas Martins
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

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