Monsoon Wedding turned the slow grinding of cross-culture gears into a comfy piece of visual pop. It confronted the situation but seemed complacent enough to leave the confrontation in simple, digestible terms; a stylized My Big Fat Greek Wedding. In contrast, Vanity Fair, originally a satire of England's manners and traditions, was taken deep into the mystic, hitting its most absurd note when Reese Witherspoon seductively belly danced with a tribe of women from India. Though it was easy to see where these moments were pointing, The Namesake gives Nair a broad canvas and a more concise frame to study the American identity and its effects on other cultures without any affectation or pretense.
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The story's awfully familiar. The boys scrape by, in this case selling tea, while the girls are pimped out as virgins for hire. Eventually our hero (Shafiq Syed) finds his money stolen, so he has to turn to a life of crime. Really, one wonders why he didn't become a criminal in the first place.
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