Mira Nair's cinematic adaptation of Jhumpa Lahiri's wonderful novel, The Namesake opens across the United States this week. It is the story of the Ganguli family whose move from Kolkata to New York evokes a lifelong balancing act of melting into a new world without forgetting the old.
Parents Ashoke (Irrfan Khan) and Ashima (Tabu) long for the family and culture that enveloped them in India, but they also take pride in the opportunities their sacrifices have afforded their children.
Paradoxically, their son Gogol (Kal Penn) is torn between finding his own identity without losing his heritage, mostly involving battling the oddness of his name.
Says Nair of her most personal project to date: "The Namesake encompasses in a deep humane way the tale of millions of us who have left one home for another, who have known what it means to combine the old ways with the new world, who have left the shadow of our parents to find ourselves for the first time."
The film also stars Jacinda Barrett and Zuleikha Robinson.