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“The Namesake,” screening this week at UNM-LA as part of the Film Society’s lineup, tells the story of two generations, one Indian and one Indian American.
In the first, after an arranged marriage, a Bengali woman travels to New York City to live with her new husband. She knows next to nothing about him, and truly nothing about America. It feels dirty and plain to her, utterly lacking in India’s bright colors and sensual beauty.
Her husband studies all the time, leaving her alone to wallow in their barren apartment. But soon, small gestures begin to accumulate. She grows fond of her husband. It makes all the difference. This is not a story denigrating arranged marriages. Theirs works.
Their son, whom they give birth to and raise entirely in the United States, has far more trouble with love than his parents ever did. But his name gives him the most grief: Gogol, after a writer to whom his father feels particularly attached. He has another name as well, his formal or “good” name, Nikhil.
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