A common question to ask and answer in the course of studying tanach is: Why is this book or portion called as it is? With the significance attributed to the torah's language and every word allotted great sanctity, the question is not so much Why was the name for the parsha chosen?, but more aptly How is it that this particular word or name became worthy of the privilege to represent a section of verses?

Mira Nair's film is called The Namesake which immediately focuses our attention toward the value of names and naming (and that theme is explored occasionally within the film), but to slip even further down the rabbit hole, the more intriguing area of discussion is why the film itself is named The Namesake.

Some films are optical illusions. They appear much larger and grander than they actually are. Sometimes this is due to a conscious trick, a manipulation perpetuated by a heady filmmaker or a pretentiously worded script. Other times the illusion is “real”. Where the film manages to convert something technically small and simple into a textured mosaic of vibrant colors.

The Namesake is such an illusion. The film feels epic because it THOROUGLY depicts the evolution of a Bengali family from Calcutta circa 1960's (which ends up seeming like ancient history) to today's New York. We are allowed to witness the intimacy of the family's beginnings, steeped in culture, tradition, and devotion. Ashoke Ganguli and Ashima, a remarkable couple (mesmerizingly portrayed by Irfan Khan and Tabu, respectively) are introduced to us as individuals at the film's outset. Ashoke in a haunting scene aboard a train prior to an accident/miracle occurring in his youth. Ashima, as a shy, stunning, playful, innocent, luscious creature having her marriage arranged. The scenes are short but deeply telling. Short, deeply telling back stories