Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

New on DVD: 'The Namesake' and 'Stardust'

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

New on DVD: 'The Namesake' and 'Stardust'

Article excerpt

The Namesake (PG-13)

Mira Nair ("Monsoon Wedding") returns to familiar themes of cultural conflict in her adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri's family saga about a young couple, Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli (Bollywood stars Irrfan Khan and Tabu), from Calcutta who struggle to adapt to their new life in New York. Their children are equally conflicted, especially their son, the unfortunately named Gogol - played by Kal Penn with an energy and humor that lifts the character out of cliche - who, as an all-American teenager with a WASP girlfriend, initially rejects his family heritage. Nair tries to cram too much of Lahiri's sprawling novel into two hours, and the emotion is often broadbrush, verging on sentimentality. But her penchant for pictorial vignettes, the loving shots of New York and Calcutta - "a portrait of two cities as if they are one" - and outstanding performances make the film truly moving. Special features include Nair talking to Columbia students about moviemaking, sure to interest amateur filmmakers. …

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