Talk Round' Town

Star Movies Premiers 'The Namesake'

Like the character he plays, actor Kal Penn modified his name from Kalpen Modi, when his agents suggested he anglicize it to get more auditions in Hollywood. In the end credits, he is listed twice: Gogol -- Kal Penn and Nikhil -- Kalpen Modi.

2008-05-04T14:26:00Z
The Namesake: Trivia's

Like the character he plays, actor Kal Penn modified his name from Kalpen Modi, when his agents suggested he anglicize it to get more auditions in Hollywood. In the end credits, he is listed twice: Gogol -- Kal Penn and Nikhil -- Kalpen Modi. Like Tabu, he was also not Mira Nair's first choice for the role, even though he contacted her several times about it. Finally, her son, who had loved Kal Penn's performance in Harold and Kumar go to White Castle convinced her to audition Penn for the role.

Jhumpa Lahiri, the author of the novel The Namesake, appears in the film as Aunt Jhumpa.
Mira Nair initially wanted Rani Mukherjee to play the role of Ashima after she had seen her in Mani Ratnam's Yuva. She could not sign the film due to date problems (She was filming for Karan Johar's Kabhi Alvida Naa Kehna). After that, Mira Nair wanted Konkona Sen Sharma to play the role. She couldn't commit due to he
r mother Aparna Sen's film 15, Park Avenue. After which the director signed Tabu for the role.

The film was originally the most distant of three projects Mira Nair and Sooni Taraporevala were working on together, but was the first produced.

Screenwriter Sooni Taraporevala wrote the final drafts of the film just as her own photography book on India's Parsi Zoroastrians was being published.

The novel was set in Boston, Massachusetts, but the locale was moved to New York City in the film adaptation. The timing of events in the movie is also about ten years later than the novel.

Renowned Subaltern Studies project scholar Partha Chatterjee, famous for his work on nationalism has a cameo in the film, credited as Reformed Hindu.

The book Ashoke presents Gogol on his graduation in June 1995, a relatively new translation of Nikolai Gogol's short stories by Pevear and Volokhonsky, was not actually published until 1998.

Early in the film when Gogol's mother and father are sitting together and one of them is holding a letter that they plan to mail to India, there are 2 U.S. stamps on the envelope. These stamps are current (2007) stamps, yet the letters are being mailed in the late 1970's or early 1980's.Several anachronisms show up in the 1977 flashback sequences showing Calcutta (Kolkata) - the railway station shows a sing for Indusind Bank which was not established till the late 90s; there is a hoarding of The Telegraph which was not launched till 1982; there are shots of several bridges and buildings which are only recent additions to the city.Ashima says she is 45 years old at the end of the movie, and that she has been living in America for 25 years, hence indicating she was married at 20, and in a conversation with Gogol, she says, "when I was your age I was celebrating my tenth year anniversary". That would make Gogol 30 years old, but it isn't possible as she has been living in America for 25 years, and Gogol was born in America, as he says himself.

Ashima says she is 45 years old at the end of the movie, and that she has been living in America for 25 years, hence indicating she was married at 20, and in a conversation with Gogol, she says, "when I was your age I was celebrating my tenth year anniversary". That would make Gogol 30 years old, but it isn't possible as she has been living in America for 25 years, and Gogol was born in America, as he says himself.

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Aparna Sen Konkona Sen Sharma Karan Johar Rani Mukerji Mira Nair Mani Ratnam Jhumpa Lahiri Kal Penn


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