The Film of the Book
with the same name by Jhumpa Lahiri. Directed by Mira Nair. The movie talks about the differences between two first generation immigrants(Ashima and Ashoke), and their children(Gogol/Nikhil and Sonia) The story begins when Ashima (Tabu) and Ashoke Ganguli (Irrfan Khan) move from Calcutta, India to New York. They have a son, whom they temporarily name Gogol, after Nikolai Gogol, and a daughter Sonia. Gogol (Kal Penn
, yes that
Kal Penn) eventually becomes his legal name, and it shapes much of the events of his life. Gogol eventually changes his name to Nikhil and falls in love with two women, both very different.
Not to be confused with namesakes in general
nor Namesake gags
Contains examples of:
- Arranged Marriage - Ashima and Ashoke Ganguli met only once before their marriage.
- Bilingual Backfire: A version. When Moushumi's French friend calls her, she speaks to him in French, triggering Ashima's (correct) suspicions that there's more to their relationship.
- Culture Clash - The entire movie's premise
- Dawson Casting: Kal Penn is Gogol/Nikhil in high school and throughout his life. Kal Penn in in his thirties and is in fact only 7 years younger than Tabu, the actress who plays Ashima, Gogol/Nikhil's mother.
- Tabu herself, who was 37 when cast as the 20 year old Ashima, though this is later justified as she continues to play Ashima as the character ages.
- Dying Alone - Happens to Ashoke.
- Embarrassing First Name - Gogol does not want to be named Gogol. He keeps changing his nickname in his quest to find an identity.
- Happily Married: Despite their Arranged Marriage start out, Ashoke and Ashima become this.
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Gogol/Nikhil is played by Kal Penn from the Harold and Kumar movies. Ashoke is played by Irrfan Khan, who some may recognize as the policeman from Slumdog Millionaire. Also, if you really pay attention, you will notice that Sonia's actress, Sahira Nair, was a young Meena in the movie Mississippi Masala, also directed by Mira Nair.
- Playing Gertrude: Combined with Dawson Casting with 37-year-old Tabu playing a young adult Ashima and an older woman Ashima. In fact, Tabu is only 7 years older than Kal Penn.
- She Is All Grown Up - When Gogol meets his childhood friend and second love Moushumi.
- Timeshifted Actor - In the film, Gogol is played by female infant and a male child as a young kid. Kal Penn's hair is the main age-marker between his character's teen years and adulthood. Similarly, Sonia is an infant in her earlier scenes.
- Train-Station Goodbye- Inverted(or subverted) with Moushumi and Gogol. They are about to get on a train to see Gogol's parents, when Gogol finds out about Moushumi's affair. She leaves the train station and Gogol gets on the train without her.
- Life-changing events associated with trains are all through this story. Ashok nearly died in a midnight train crash; he had a book by Nikolai Gogol, the fluttering pages drew rescuers' attention and saved him. In the film, when the family visits India they take a train to the Taj Mahal, where Gogol decides he wants to be an architect.
- Your Cheating Heart- Moushumi. Enough said.
- Your Normal Is Our Taboo: Gogol's college girlfriend makes a horrible impression on Ashoke and Ashima when she first meets them, first by bringing them an overly elaborate gift, then by addressing them both by their first names without their permission (exactly the opposite of how her less conservative parents treat Gogol), and is physically affectionate with them (kissing them on the cheek) and Gogol (holding his hand) in their presence, something frowned on in their more traditional culture. It's especially irritating as Gogol warned her about all this before the meeting, only for her to completely disregard it. She dooms the relationship by showing up at Ashoke's funeral in a black (everyone else is clad in white), sleeveless dress.