I had been thinking of what to do a proper update on when I stumbled on this post by Lara. After reading it, I knew what I wanted to update on. This post has been sitting in my USB since December 18, 2012 when I watched the movie. I recommend you either watch the movie first or read Lara’s review before reading this rant of mine, but if you want to brave it, be my guest. :D
Allow me to first of all gush about the production of this movie. Bollywood movies (since I started watching them and paying attention to them) have always made me deliriously happy (even if they leave me a likkle bit jaded about the concept of love). The producers manage to always go all the way out in the production of most of their movies and “My Name is Khan” was no exception. The colors were vibrant, the storyline was well thought out, the settings were nice, suspense well maintained and the plot was superb. There wasn’t much frills attached to it like the usual, you know, no promise of a happily thereafter….as it should be.
I had made a joke to my younger cousin about how Nollywood would have ended the movie with a scene showing "Khan" taking a heavily pregnant "Mandira" to the hospital. Then the doctor would have come back from the delivery room to say “Khan (from the epiglottis), your wife just gave birth to a son”. Then, they would have named him Sameer (again) or (funny hair ) Joel Khan. *SNORT*. Since this is not a lets-bash-Nollywood session, I’ll just leave it at that.
At some point, I began to think, wait…..is that freaking Obama starring in an Indian movie????? WOW!!!!! Christopher Duncan (starred as Obama) totally had his character’s backview and I can’t help admiring how the production manager managed to adapt the movie, in such a way that original clips of the POTUS (in video & audio) could be used in it to create even more believability….WOW, just WOW!!!!
Now to the essence of the movie….RACIAL PROFILING
I wrote a whole post pertaining to this sometime back. You can read about it here. It was just shortly after Mutallab’s failed terrorist attack on a US aircraft and I had made the mistake of using my Nigerian passport as ID for a flight within the U.S. I was asked to step aside and had to be patted down per the new rules of the TSA as at that time. This new TSA rule of searching and patting down had caused an uproar in the American community, with people talking about infringement on rights, its intrusiveness and bla bla bla and I made my stance known in the said post .
“My Name is Khan” cast a completely different light on the issue of being singled out for “punishment”. I lost count of how many times I took bathroom breaks to clean up my runny nose and teary face. I t was such an intense movie.
It was kind of hard to imagine how hate crimes could escalate that high but then again, I know…… The mob heard the word “terrorist” and all hell broke loose……he could have been easily killed, just like that. The boys saw a young, non-white Muslim boy and a white boy, in a seemingly quarrelsome stance and felt obligated to “rescue” the white boy from the “young Muslim terrorist”…. And that was it!
But then again, I have almost seen it happen. It was a nice afternoon in June 2012 on the C Train in NYC. I had boarded with my sister and brother. While passengers boarded at Jay Street, I had my head down in a book. On looking up, what I saw was similar to this:
Matter of fact, searching for this picture is what has delayed me from posting this since I typed it up.
The wearer was a Middle Easterner by looks, was wearing the stereotypical Islamic white jalabiya and had 2 of that waist stuff you see in the picture across his shoulder, diagonally. My memory has gotten a bit hazy, but I think he had on a cap too.
My heart stopped in my mouth….heck, I might have even vomited it. I noticed that the white couple across from me had huddled together and were in panic. Another couple was about entering, saw him and all but fell in the train tracks. While all of these were happening, I kept thinking:
“those can’t possibly be bullets, or can it? Am I about to be blown to bits in an underground vehicle with 2 of my 3 siblings? Abi, is this a movie ni? Am I hallucinating? What is this? Who will give birth to Mama Zee for YY, my lover?”
The phrase “going through one’s life kaleidoscopically” kind of captures what I felt in those few seconds before I realized that indeed, I wasn’t going to have to be identified by DNA. This man, this guy, this moron, thought a bright idea of a joke was to disguise fragrances as bullets. The little cylindrical objects arranged all over his upper torso were bottled fragrances, which he probably was selling….or not.
I mean, I just don’t get it! He could have been mob-attacked by the train passengers who thought he was about to blow up the train. In which case, would you blame them? I wouldn’t!!!!! I most certainly wouldn’t! Here you are, in a country still living in the wake of the fear that somebody, who looks like you induced in them about 11years before, yet, you think it hilarious to make a joke of it?! I better not hear anyone say “It is not that serious”. Ladies and gentlemen, it is THAT serious!
While I don’t necessarily subscribe to generalized treatment/perception, especially when it is a negative one, but on the other hand, I don’t believe it is evitable. The least we can do is try to not intentionally put ourselves in compromising situations. You bet I still have a lot to say about this, but my thoughts are too all over the place to coordinate it into this particular post.
My Name is HoneyDame (not quite), I am Nigerian and I am NOT a terrorist…….nor will I give you reasons to think of me as one.
***images gotten from google***