Nam-a-Sake

Two years ago when Aishwarya was promoting Bride and Prejudice in the US, we were subjected to this idiocy on Oprah. (My favorite part of the interview: Do Indian women practice the Kama Sutra?)

Now Fox Searchlight provides us with a tongue-in-cheek promotional interview with Kal Penn on The Namesake. Although this clip is staged, something tells me that Kal will be fielding similar questions from media personalities in the coming weeks. According to IMDB, the film opens this Friday, March 9. Brace yourselves, I’m sure we’ll have fodder to blog about.

37 thoughts on “Nam-a-Sake

  1. “I thought the author was Japanese and they used Indian people as a metaphor.”

    Sweet.

    Kobayashi like Namasaki.

  2. Gogol is nothing. I had a junior in college named Famous Kiss; most horses have better names.

  3. (My favorite part of the interview: Do Indian women practice the Kama Sutra?)

    And the lame pickup line that followed! Oh wait… that was happening before that.

    Actually, I find what Kal Penn says here to be strange:

    “So Kal, you must have really related to Gogol since you’re both Indian!” No. I related to Gogol because of who he is, and because of the depth of his essence, courtesy of Jhumpa’s writing. His ethnicity had nothing to do with it…

    I know it’s a fairly universal story, but I do think his ethnicity has something to do with it.

  4. “I thought the author was Japanese and they used Indian people as a metaphor.”

    Yeah that was brilliantly funny made me laugh out loud. Kal Penn needs to get this down into a script throw in some rudimentary plot and make a funny movie out of this funny stuff.

  5. Yeah that was brilliantly funny made me laugh out loud. Kal Penn needs to get this down into a script throw in some rudimentary plot and make a funny movie out of this funny stuff.

    Would Harold and Kumar count?

    It’s funny that I can actually relate to this. When my band plays an audience member will inevitably walk up to me and say they can “hear” the indian influence in the music. I usually just say thanks and nod my head, but in reality there’s no such influence at all. I didn’t even listen to any indian classical music until 4 or 5 years ago.

  6. Would Harold and Kumar count?

    Naah, that was OK for what it was, a stoner movie, but this is seriously intelligent and funny stuff, different class altogether.

  7. from the namesake blog: what’s with the staged (i’m assuming) interview with the kkk? or was it real? i didn’t really get the point of it and didn’t find it that funny. and if ethnicity has nothing to do with it, then why a staged (or real interview) with the kkk? it would make more sense if it was a real interview, but it feels staged, so it’s strange. or maybe it’s to show that even the klan may like it??

  8. milind, thanks for the link. a bit of a convoluted explanation. i think i understand what he was aiming for, but i still don’t think it succeeded in its purported aim of making fun of the klan and showcasing them for the cowards that they are (except for them being shown covering their ugly mugs – comes across as more of a simple sight gag). that said, i am looking forward to seeing “The Namesake” (the presence of the gorgeous Tabu helps) and hope it fares well.

  9. I thought the interview was hilarious, personally. Maybe I’m juvenile, though, since I thought Harold & Kumar was ridiculously funny as well :)

  10. Sriram. It doesnt matter, its wired in your genes :) )

    So, whoz up for world cup watch in this WashDC area?

  11. So, whoz up for world cup watch in this WashDC area?

    I’m so in. Though I’m on sports overload this month. The ACC and NCAA Tourneys (Fear the Turtle!), World Cup, and then baseball right around the corner. I love this time of year.

  12. “So Kal, you must have really related to Gogol since you’re both Indian!” No. I related to Gogol because of who he is, and because of the depth of his essence, courtesy of Jhumpa’s writing. His ethnicity had nothing to do with it…

    Kal Penn mentioned a similar thing during his interview on Showbiz India. I agree with Tamasha that his etnicity is an important part of the story. Not sure what our Kalpin Modi is trying to say…

  13. i read an interview this morning (can’t find the link) but it had this quote:

    Was there something about the cultural significance of this project that drew you to it? I don’t think it had any cultural significance. I was a huge fan of the book and the book made me cry — and very few books make me cry

    so this has nothing to do with cultural/ethnic significance? um.. yeah… right.

  14. Neel (4), it opens a week later on March 16 in Boston, Chicago, DC, Philadelphia, San Jose, Seattle, Vancouver and other cities.

    As a countdown to the film’s release, I’m posting something Namesake-related on my blog each day this week.

    Today, it’s an interview (done last week) with Jhumpa Lahiri.

    Tomorrow, one with Kal Penn. Wednesday, Mira Nair. And so on…

    Forgive the self-promotion, but, given the topic, I thought it might be of interest.

  15. so this has nothing to do with cultural/ethnic significance? um.. yeah… right.

    Maybe he is so used to stories like this that it’s become the norm for him. If a story was written about pred. white sorority life on an American university campus and Kirsten Dunst played the main role its doubtful that she would comment on its cultural significance… despite likely having many uniquely American cultural markers throughout the story.

  16. so this has nothing to do with cultural/ethnic significance? um.. yeah… right.

    I can understand why he said that though — maybe he wants people to approach the movie on an emotional level before viewing it as cultural anthropology, as just a story about a guy and his relationship with his family and coming of age, and treat it as sociology and ethnic investigation secondarily.

    I still can’t believe Tabu plays the mother though.

  17. On the cultural/ethnic significance, it’s interesting ‘cos when Lahiri was asked last week by someone if she based the book on her parents, as part of her reply she said: “I think I was just drawing on the experiences of growing up in this country, being of Bengali heritage, as a sort of background noise for the story.”

    She also said: “And I certainly hear from the French, the Italian, Palestinian, Jordanian, every possible immigrant background they’ve connected to something in the book, there’s something basic in this story about what you gain and what you loose. It’s a journey and it’s a tale of gains and losses. What’s left behind and what’s acquired and the tension between that. And the specifics are the specifics. My story is a Bengali family that grew up in New England. Every day there’s a new family coming here and getting off the plane at JFK and figuring things out and America is extraordinary that way.”

  18. I love Kalpen. He’s so funny. I agree with red snapper – he should make a movie. It’s actually pretty funny growing up with the “exoticness” of being an Indian born in America, like you automatically know stuff or are related to every guy named Ram (although I have to say I am related to about 5 guys named Ram :P )

  19. I saw the film last week in San Jose at the Cinequest film festival. It was beautifully shot and rendered and I totally recommend you see it. Versus what I expected based on the trailer, what suprised me was the stronger focus on Gogol’s parents’ relationship and that Gogol’s story is not an ABCD story line. I found it emotional as well (especially given the focus on parental immigration) so bring your Kleenex and enjoy.

  20. Ha!! I loved that “cheifs or braves” bit!!! I get that one all the time.

    Other person: So….what are you

    (ommitting snarky terminology nitpicking)

    Me: I’m half-Indian

    Other person: OOO! What tribe?

    Me: No…half-Indian

    Other person: Yeah…what tribe? Do you gamble?

    Me: India is a country.

    (pause)

    Me: In Asia

    (pause)

    Me: Really big democracy?

    (confused look)

    Me: sigh Dots, not feathers. grumble

    Other person: Ohhh!

    Btw, I feel like I’ve been waiting for this movie for a year. I am soooo excited!

  21. I’m really curious to see what the mainstream response will be and of course, for the official sepia review.

    My guess is, for the mainstream, it will do better than the much recently discussed Water.

    It’s an immigrant story, it’s beautiful to look at, and the coming-of-age, how-do-I-fit-in angle is more accessible and less icky than the child widow/abuse/exploitation of DM’s movie. And while it’s not all shiny and happy, it does have that feel-good factor that will appeal to people. Well, that’s my guess…

    I’m curious to see how it fares in India later in the month….

  22. …from the previews I saw, why does the Indian English accent and intonation sound so stilted? Millions of people speak English in India – why don’t the film makers ever get it right?

  23. This from KP’s blog: “the “The Namesake” will finally hold it’s Premiere this Tuesday evening in New York. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend because i’m still in Louisiana working on the “Harold and Kumar” sequel (i’m not allowed to leave on weekdays since it conflicts with our work schedule).”

    Not impressed with an actor who “cannot” leave to attend his premiere. Considering the amount of pre-press buzz, interest in yet another cross-over crisis faced by post-pubescent ABCDs and the fact is this a MIRA NAIR film, Penn disappoints with this. Can’t imagine why he would not be allowed to hop on a 2 hour flight to NY from LA to attend. Its not like he’s filming in Calcutta.

  24. Hey SemiDesiMasala! That’s absolutely hilarious. You put it so perfecly. One time I met a partial Native American who went off on how “Indian” she was and I said, “Well I’m about 1/64 American, but half Indian. Indians are from India.” I think she was still confused.

  25. “My guess is, for the mainstream, it will do better than the much recently discussed Water. “

    Filmiholic, Water did a little more than 3mil+ at the box office so you’re probably right..:)

  26. “Can’t imagine why he would not be allowed to hop on a 2 hour flight to NY from LA to attend. Its not like he’s filming in Calcutta.”

    Saira..my guess is he wants to brand himself as mainstream and doesn’t want to fall into the trap of being labeled ‘arty’ in the eyes of producers..Sad in that The Namesake will do more for his credibility (if not bankability) than any of his previous work.

  27. anyone else pick up on the talvin singh track in the backgroud? flight IC408 from the anokha cd. i think it’s actually a state of bengal track?

  28. State of Bengal…sweet music.

    For some of Kal Penn’s early work, check out Where’s the Party Yaar? Not bad especially for what looks like a locally shot (Houston?) movie.

  29. I didn’t find it funny.. And what’s with the way the interviewer is dressed ?

  30. anyone else pick up on the talvin singh track in the backgroud? flight IC408 from the anokha cd. i think it’s actually a state of bengal track?

    IC 408 is on the film soundtrack too….