My Name Is Khan

Directed by Karan Johar, the film focuses on Rizwan Kahn (played by Shah Rukh Kahn), who has social anxiety. After his mother dies, he lives with his brother in San Francisco, meets and marries Mandira (played by Kajol), who has a son, six-year-old Sameer (played by Yuvaan Makaar), and they move to suburban Danville. After 9/11, they encounter prejudice, notably a fight a school that ends in Sameer’s death. Rizwan then tries to get the attention of Americans that a Khan is not a terrorist. My Name Is Khan has several themes. One theme is the sensitive treatment of Khan as someone with Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism in which cognitive skills are unaffected. A second theme is Khan’s hysterical arrest without Miranda warning or legal representation and subsequent torture while in confinement within an American jail. A third theme is the fate of a marriage in the United States between two expatriates from India–Khan, a Muslim, and his spouse Mandira, a Hindu. A fourth theme is how Khan is befriended by Mama Jenny (played by Jennifer Echols) in a small town in Georgia, to which he returns during a hurricane to give more help than Bush gave after Katrina. The peaceful teachings of Islam provide yet another dimension to the film, which has been nominated by the Political Film Society as best film on human rights of 2010.  MH

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