My name is Khan (2010) is an Indian-American movie directed by Karan Johar and starring Shahrukh Khan and Kajol. The film revolves around two fundamental moments, before and after the attacks of September 11, 2001. Rizwan Khan is a young Indian who suffers from Asperger's syndrome; The main symptom is the difficulty to relate to others. After the death of his mother, the now-adult Khan decides to travel to San Francisco, where his brother who has worked for years in the business world resides. The aspect of globalization can be noted here, Khan's brother lives in the U.S.A though he was not born there. Globalization has made the world to be a global village and people travel to different continents easily because of many reasons, among them business, and decide to live there (Stanley Eitzen, & Zinn, 2012). Khan meets Mandira, a single mother of her only son, Sam. Despite social and religious differences, Khan is Muslim and Mandira Hindu, they fall in love and decide to get married and start a family, however, everything changes completely after the attack of 9/11, as a result of which an extensive Islamophobia and racism are generated throughout the country (Erndl,.2016). Throughout the film, Muslims are subjected to social discrimination, treated inhumanely, and are viewed as terrorists.
There is a lot of discrimination against Muslims in the movie. Muslims are treated negatively and they are all suspected to be terrorists. Khan's son is killed by an American and even when they take the case to the police, nothing is done. Their shop is looted and vandalized and so are many Muslim-owned stores (Balraj, 2011). At one point, a teacher where the young couple's son is studying tells the other students that Islam is the most violent religion on earth and this makes the other children hate Khan's son and terrorize him with every chance they get. Khan's sister also faces a lot of discrimination while studying in her college. At one point, a man grabs and rips off her headscarf, then shouts at her telling her to leave America and go back to her country (Erndl,.2016). Mandira also blames Khan for the death of their son and says that their son was killed because of the Muslim name she had. She blames Khan for being a Muslim and making their child to be murdered. Mandira, regretful of having married Khan and therefore having inherited her Muslim surnames, in an act of rage and anger shouts at Khan to seek the president of the United States and tell him, "My name is Khan and I am not a terrorist" (Bhat, 2013). Khan, who due to the Asperger has difficulty recognizing the irony and the word games, decides to follow his wife's literal commands and will not return home until he clarifies to the president of the United States that, although he and his Family are Muslims, they are not terrorists.
While traveling from San Francisco to Washington DC to meet the president, Khan is stopped by security officers because he is a Muslim. He is strip-searched and harshly interrogated. He is manhandled by the officers and the officers do not feel guilty manhandling him because he is a Muslim. Khan finally manages to meet president Bush but before he manages to speak to him, he is whisked away quickly and handcuffed since he is mistaken for being a terrorist. He is locked in a windowless cell where he sleeps on a freezing cold floor, his interrogators are really harsh on him and they deprive him food and sleep (Bhat, 2013). Khan is only freed because of an uproar of journalists and other American citizens. He finally manages to meet the president and tells him the message he has. Khan's message is very clear: "My name is Khan and I am not a terrorist." His transcends in the search for justice in his identity as a Muslim believer to demonstrate the obvious to the world: the morality of human beings is not tied to their religious condition (Erndl,.2016). It is very clearly perceived what the message that the film means, it seeks to convey what is true love, to be a true human, regardless of all the existing ideologies in the world. It shows people the true value of overcoming, as a person regardless of their physical and social status, regardless of their nation and religion can get to achieve what is proposed and overcome all obstacles.
Balraj, B. M. (2011). My name is Khan and I am not a Terrorist: Representation of Muslims in My name is Khan. Journal of Languages and Culture, 2(6), 91-95.
Bhat, N. (2013). My Name Is Khan and I Am Not a Terrorist: Intersections of Counter-Terrorism Measures and the International Framework for Refugee Protection. San Diego Int'l LJ, 15, 299.
Erndl, K. M. (2016). Religious and national identity in My Name is Khan. Journal of Religion & Film, 20(1), 5.
Stanley Eitzen, D., & Zinn, M. B. (2012). Globalization: The Transformation of Social Worlds. Wadsworth Publishing
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