‘My Name is Khan, and I am not a terrorist’ – one line sure to be mouthed by you as you step out of the theatre. And mind you, there are many other priceless quotes.
My Name is Khan is unlike any other Karan Johar-directed film, although it has glimpses of his past work. It does not have masala, no mindless song and dance, and no comic fillers. It has a very strong main message, and several others tucked in. KJo has sure come a long way from candyfloss.
Shah Rukh Khan as Rizwan Khan is gullible, lovable and careful to be not irritable. And thankfully, he makes the audience empathise with him as an Asperger Syndrome patient, and does not look for pity.
So, Rizwan is attracted to machines, and pebbles. He is loving, caring but cannot express it. He hates a hug, and times sexual intercourse – ‘Can we have sex, please?’. He feels passion but cannot express it. He is good at facts and figures, and handling and repairing any kind of machine. And, bright colours and loud sounds freak him out.
My Name is Khan begins with Rizwan looking over the President Bush’s itinerary. He wants to meet Mr President and tell him, "My Name is Khan, and I am not a terrorist". Rizwan starts his journey to Washinton, D.C., but becomes a terror suspect in the beginning itself.
As a child in Mumbai, India, Rizwan (played superbly by Tanay Chheda) loses his father early and is nurtured by his mother (Zarina Wahab) who recognises his special talent along with his Parsi teacher Wadia. But amidst all this, Rizwan’s younger brother Zakir (Jimmy Shergill) feels left out, and he moves to the US as soon as he turns 18. After a few years, he calls Rizwan to stay with him and his wife (played effectively by Sonya Jehan) and work as a salesman for his company.
A genius with machines should have been channeled in the appropriate direction, but Rizwan ends up being a salesman. But it is while selling beauty products that he meets future wife Mandira Rathod (Kajol) who is a single mom with a six-year-old boy Sameer (Yuwaan Makaar).
After a few cute moments together, Mandira and Rizwan get hitched. She is now Mandira Khan and her son, Sameer Khan. And then, 9/11 happens. Attitudes towards Muslims and anybody with a beard and turban change. The film does make you cringe at the thought of being in a situation like countless Muslims and Sikhs have been because of their appearance and/or surname.