The Namesake Reviews
Religion is very prominent in India and it is evident in this movie how deeply religious the family is. In the wedding scenes we see a lot of Hindu elements and attire. There is also a Hindu funeral scene after *spoiler alert* a character dies. We even see some Hindu tradition in a scene where a baby is directed to choose an item off of a plate to determine their fate or position in this life. There is also a scene where the father talks about meeting again in the next life, a Hindu concept of reincarnation.
After reading the book, my class watched the movie Namesake which was based off the novel. Generally speaking, I enjoy the novel more than the movie because the novel usually gives more in-depth detail to the characters thoughts. However, this movie did a phenomonal job of showing the stages of Gogol's journey of enlightenment. Namesake had excellent character potrayal and was very close to the way I pictured them in my head while I was reading. I would recommend watching it, preferably after you've read the novel.
Later in both the book and the movie Maxine is introduced and Gogol's love life explodes. In the book, Maxine is described as someone much more "hip" and down to Earth while in the movie she is a bit "airy" and crazy. In the movie Ashoke seems to die much quicker, more suspiciously and less eventful death. In the book, there is much more time and detail between the time when Ashoke goes into the hospital and when Ashima finds out that he is dead. In the book, the mourning period is also described with more detail and specifics. The book specifies how Gogol, Ashima and Sonia share meatless meals just as a family for a few days.
After the death of his father Gogol goes on a blind date set up by his mother with Moushimi. In the book their relationship is much more detailed, describing the restaurants they visit, the gifts they get and Moushimi's love for France. The movie speeds past their relationship, showing only brief clips and images.
Overall, the book was much more detailed than the movie, as in most book to movie adaptations. The book started to paint a picture of the world of Gogol, his family, his friends, his work, his house, his school, etc., and the movie completed the picture with visual evidence. Both the book and the movie were very intriguing and I am very glad to have read the book and then watched the movie, I think it gave me a much better understanding of the literature and the imagery as well as Indian culture as a whole.
As a whole, this movie was very interesting, it didn't quite match up with the book and I feel like it skipped over some important parts but it was still good.
Even though the film sits at a comfortable 120 minutes, filmmakers cut out most of the powerful sequences that really make an impact in the novel. Moushimi's emotional baggage, Gogol's college years and relationship with Ruth, the inner racism eating Gogol and Moushimi alive, etc. I highly recommend the novel for an emotional rollercoaster. As for the film, unfortunately the rushed feeling of it all leaves you wishing you read the book instead.