Wednesday, 11 April 2007

The Namesake

I went to watch The Namesake today. I was suppose to watch it with Eternality at 4.25pm but because of a twist of fate, it was called off. It was my fault, I think. Mostly.

Anyway, since I was at Orchard and feeling rather numb and bored and pissed and disappointed, I told myself,"Let's make the best of it." Since it's only going to be an hour before the next show begins at 6.45pm at Cathay Cineleisure Orchard (I just realised that is what that funky cool building with awesome cinema seats-the best in Singapore I tell you-is called today, mat kental and orbit what), I went to Shaw instead. Turns out the next show there is at 7.20pm. So forget it, I'm watching the one at Cine.

I bought that $1 cup ice-cream- corn flavour. It was therapeutic to eat ice-cream I tell you! I mean there I was on one of the benches along the path on the Ngee Ann City side of the road on a cool day. It just rained and the sky was grey. And the breeze was strong and cooling. need to waste money go spa one. I took 10 minutes plus to finish that ice-cream (now you know why is it therapeutic?). And since I have time to kill, I went to pray at Al-Falah mosque. After praying, sat at the mosque listening to the ustazah talking about haj. It was 6.10pm. I left the mosque to go buy the ticket.

Man, that funky cinema is so hard to navigate. The box office and cinemas are all located at different levels right, so I had difficulty finding cinema 12 despite being told by the pretty girl at the counter that it's on the 9th floor. I went up there and because I'm a suaku, I was first shocked to find that the entire level is a gaming area where young angmo kids hang out to play this game where they have to kill each other and some bad guys and express themselves in fuck-language. That was pretty much what they say, for the 3 minutes I was there. Seriously. And it's like so cool to use the word. Like so damn cool. (woteva)

Anyhow, I went to buy Burger King before going up again. I love Cathay Cine. The cinemas are so so so cool. Especially cinema 6, right beside the toilet and here I was thinking that it was a store room. I went there for Little Children. It's so cosy and comfortable. It sure has my vote for best cinema. Next to check is the GoldClass at Vivo. That one has to wait long long. Nong nong time later.

After watching the show, I would say that the book is better. I think it's the style Jhumpa Lahiri used to tell his (or is it her?) story. One word to describe book: beautiful. But I cant disagree with Ms Kalidas though, the "text to screen adaptation is very good. It's a rarity (nowadays)." I guess this is what Harry Potter readers meant by "the book is better." I never understood them till I have experienced it for myself.

The Namesake mainly explores the notion of identity, family relationships and love. And I get to relate to Gogol (the protagonist) very well. He's an Americanised Indian, and not an American-Indian because his parents are Indians, both of them, and he was born in New York. He grew up in America, being influenced by the American culture more than his Indian. The Bengalis in the area are merely neighbours to him. And I think the tragedy lies in his reluctance to hold onto his asian cultures. He embraces a foreign culture rather than his own. And this act of his reminds me of how English-ed (to borrow a word from Suchen Christine Lim's The Fistful of Colours) I have become. I would rather speak English and study English Literature rather than Malay literature, which by the way I just realised is just as rich as other "types" of literature.

Even the way I speak, there's not a tint a malay accent. In fact its some weird accent that I myself cannot recognise. It's not even a cross-breed of American-British-Irish-Scottish-Australian-New Zealand accent. And I thought that it was cool to speak without the malay accent. There was once upon a time I couldn't think in Malay. I can't! And I told myself,"You got a distinction for Malay oral. Even if what you say do not flow somehow. So what had happened?" And I was also reading the Berita Harian these few days. Identity is one of the constant issue being raised. It suddenly hit me how far I have drifted. And now I'm luring myself back.

As for the way the Gangulis behave as a family, it's a typical Asian-American family; the parents are very Asian while the children are very American. And this is what I am seeing in many families, including mine. However the parents in the Ganguli family are very open, at least Ashoke Ganguli is. Roshima needed more time to come to terms with the foreign culture. It was only after Sonia, Gogol's younger sister by 5 years, had graduated from College she became more accepting. She welcomed Ben as her son-in-law to-be. She wasn't like that when Gogol was dating an American girl called Maxine. My father, like Ashoke, is acceptable of these changes. My mother is like Ashima. Fortunately, my mother advances faster than Ashima. Haha. Otherwise, God knows. But she is still firm about certain things simply because religion is in the picture. And I am glad to say that she has instilled this in me. Although I am the "unique breed of mankind", I have not crossed any major boundaries. My big V is still in place, and I like it to be that way till I am reading to do some renovation (?) which will not be anytime soon.

As for love, need I say a lot? A man marries a very beautiful and talented woman though it was arranged, then there is the Indian man that fell in love with an American girl. And a father's undying love for his ungrateful son. A love for one's own roots. It's too general and expansive. Yet succinctly expressed in one four-letter word.

All in all, I would give The Namesake 4 stars. Read the book: The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri. The hit the cinemas.

Love y'all. Muakz.

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