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The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri and Mira Nair

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The Namesake by Jhumpa LahiriThe movie The Namesake is based on the book of the same name written by the Indian American author Jhumpa Lahiri. Most of her stories revolve around Indian families living in their native land or of Indian immigrants, most of who travel to the United States of America to have a better chance at life. She writes about the problems faced by these people when adapting to the new world, new traditions, new culture, so completely opposite of what they were used of being in their homeland. Keeping along with this pattern, The Namesake has similar issues even though it has its own share of twists and turns.The Namesake is directed by Mira Nair, with Jhumpa Lahiri helping out with the screenplay along with Sooni Taraporevala. Kal Penn plays Gogol, who the title of the movie is after. His parents Ashima and Ashoke are played by Tabu and Irrfan Khan respectively. They have another child, a girl called Sonia who is acted by Sahira Nair.The story starts off with Ashoke travelling in a train, reading a book written by the Russian author Nikolai Gogol. A brutal accident takes place in which almost everyone dies. However, Ashoke survives and is only discovered because of the fluttering page of the book he was reading earlier. His recovery follows his marriage to Ashima – a girl chosen to be his bride by his parents – and they move to the States.It is hard for Ashima to live at a place which is completely different from the place where she had spent all her life at. Life in New York City is poles apart than life in Calcutta. Yet she does manage to try her best to fit in. An Indian wife is nothing if not willing to change herself, her lifestyle just for the sake of her husband. What was fortunate for Ashima was that Ashoke actually fell in love with her and her with him, which made adapting comparatively easier. She knew the English language, but not fluently. But she worked it all out just to make her husband happy. Life away from her parents, everything that was familiar, was not easy, and she particularly felt the absence at the birth of her first child named Gogol when there was no one around but her husband.Ashima adjusts to the new environment but seeing her children so utterly unconscious of all the traditions and values that she was brought up with pains her. She tries to smile it off, fully aware of how things were different now that they were not living in their native land, with their elders to guide them. She was told to stay close to her family whereas her children were moving out. Their dressing, the songs they blasted were miles apart. The fact that her son did not like his name at all but would rather call himself Nick – short for Nikhil, that he had a Christian, American girlfriend and he preferred her family to his. She tried to accept it all and more when Ashoke left to teach at a university and finally, when he died. Living alone was hard but being a widow was worse. She transformed from the unsure, inexperienced immigrant to a brave and confident woman who finally makes a decision on her own, becomes independent. She sells their house and moves back to India where her family was. Because, at the end of the day, home is where the heart is.