The dust has settled on the MNIK theatrical trailer that was unveiled a couple of weeks ago and another promo “Sajda” has come out recently. So here I am to share my thoughts on both!
First up is the theatrical trailer:
It is 3 minutes long and seems to reveal most of the story. Here is what people have pieced together. An autistic boy, the young Khan played by Tanay Chaddha, (Asperger’s is part of the autism spectrum of disorders) is told by his mother that people are either good or bad based on the deeds they do. Cut to the grown up Khan telling us that he is different, but he is VERY SMART! The way he taps his forehead as he says it makes that scene for me.
He meets Mandira, played by Kajol, and she is not much bothered by Khan’s peculiarities. They become a family. Then a traumatic event changes everything. Could be that Mandira’s store and her son’s locker are targeted as they now carry the last name of Khan! There is a candlelight vigil (exciting, as I saw this one being filmed in Healdsburg), and some other traumatic even occurs. Is Mandira’s child targeted and in danger? So Khan sets off on a journey with single minded purpose and is strip and cavity searched at the airport, seen involved in a flood, repairing cars along the way. All this implies an Odyssey of kinds to meet the President of the United States. Whether he is successful or not and what is the message he conveys, remains hidden. The journey would seem to take up most of the second part of the film.
Is the story compelling? It could be depending on how well it is able to engage our emotions. How about the glimpses into the performances? Kajol lights up the screen in almost every frame, barring one screaming moment (which could well be appropriate in context) she comes out aces. Shahrukh has the body language and emotional detachment of an Asperger’s patient down near perfectly. His idiosyncratic behavior will have to gel with the audience and I think it will depend on how well it is set up and explained right from childhood. So Tanay may well end up with a highly significant role in the film. The music Noor-e-Khuda seems most apt for the trailer.
So while this preview reveals more than most are comfortable with, it gives a far representation of the film as a non-fluffy piece that may have something to say. Will it be relevant? That depends entirely on one’s POV. With the latest attempted terror plane attack, the US government is thinking of profiling and detailed searches of citizens of some countries. The conservative point of view is in full sympathy with this and the body-scanner approach. The liberal side will always be more in favor of civil rights and searches that do not profile, so the film will evoke debate from both sides. It remains to be seen how to the point the message is and how well it is delivered.
The nest promo is Sajda:
This is clearly the “romantic” track as it details the interactions between Rizwaan Khan and Mandira. It seems based on events around the two getting married and again has high emotional quotient, great chemistry between leads, a focus on the social interaction barrier that Khan has, and diminishing of some of it with the love for Mandira. “Teri kali ankhiyon se jind meri jaage” and the focus on Kajol’s dramatic eyes makes the song rock! The repetitive movements from Shahrukh keep his character intact in its disability and show that some research and effort has gone into creating this persona.
This promo tells me that the first half of Khan will be just what people are expecting from a SRK-Kajol film directed by Karan. The second half is where it will go into unknown territory and the highs and lows of this half will determine the ultimate fate of MNIK! Keeping my fingers crossed.