The Namesake depicts the struggles of Ashoke and Ashima Ganguli (Irrfan Khan and Tabu), two first-generation immigrants from West Bengal, India to the United States, and their American-born children Gogol (Kal Penn) and Sonia (Sahira Nair). The film takes place primarily in Kolkata, India; New York City; and various New York state suburbs.<br/>The story begins as Ashoke and Ashima leave Calcutta and settle in New York City. Through a series of miscues, their son's nickname, Gogol (named after Russian author Nikolai Gogol), becomes his official birth name, an event which will shape many aspects of his life. The film chronicles Gogol's cross-cultural experiences and his exploration of his Indian heritage, as the story shifts between the United States and India. Gogol starts off as a lazy, pot smoking teenager indifferent to his cultural background. He resents many of the customs and traditions his family upholds and doesn't understand his parents. After a summer trip to India before starting college at Yale, Gogol starts opening up to his culture and becomes more accepting of it. After college, Gogol changes his name to Nikhil (later shortened to Nick). He works as an architect and dates Maxine (Jacinda Barrett), a Caucasian woman from a wealthy background. Gogol falls in love with Maxine and introduces her to his parents, who struggle to understand his modern, American perspectives on dating, marriage and love. They are hesitant and guarded when meeting her. Gogol gets along with Maxine's family and feels closer to them than he does his own family. Before he goes to Ohio for a teaching apprenticeship, Ashoke tells Gogol the story of how he came up with his name. Shortly after, while Gogol is vacationing with Maxine's family, Ashoke dies. Grieving, Gogol tries to be more like what he thinks his parents want him to be and begins following cultural customs more closely. He grows distant from Maxine and eventually breaks up with her. Gogol rekindles a friendship with Moushumi (Zuleikha Robinson), the daughter of family friends. They begin dating and soon after get married. However, the marriage is short lived as Moushumi, bored with being a wife, begins having an affair with an old boyfriend from Paris. Gogol divorces Moushumi, while Ashima blames herself for pressuring Gogol to marry a fellow Bengali. Gogol returns home to help Ashima pack the house when he finds the book Ashoke gave him as a graduation present. Inspired, he decides to travel the world.<br/>As much as Gogol/Nikhil's experiences, the film tenderly describes the courtship and marriage of Ashima and Ashoke, and the effect of Ashoke's early death of a massive heart attack. Ashima's decision to move on with her life, selling the suburban family home and returning to Calcutta, unifies and ends the film.
Tabu, Irrfan Khan, Kal Penn, more..
Mira Nair
Release Date
Fri Mar, 23 2007

Cast Overview

... Ashima Ganguli
Irrfan Khan
... Ashoke Ganguli
Kal Penn
... Nikhil "Gogol" Ganguli
Soham Chatterjee
... child Gogol
Sahira Nair
... Sonia Ganguli

Crew Overview

Mira Nair
... Producer
Jhumpa Lahiri (novel)
... Story / Writers
Sooni Taraporevala
... Story / Writers
Jhumpa Lahiri
... Background Music
Nitin Sawhney
... Music Director