Mira Nair's adaptation of The Namesake does exactly what I think cinematic adaptations of literature should do--it uses Jhumpa Lahiri's novel as a starting point, then asserts its own artistry by reimagining the characters from an alternate perspective, one that is no longer literary but inherently cinematic. Whereas Lahiri's focus is Gogol, the first-generation Indian-American son, Nair (and scriptwriter Sooni Taraporevala) intelligently shift the focus to Ashima and Ashoke, the Bengali parents (achingly well played by Tabu and Irrfan Khan).
As such, Nair's film works as a wonderful complement to Lahiri's novel. I can't imagine one without the other.
Did i mention Tabu and Irrfan Khan?
Posted by a.kini at 25.3.07