‘My Name Is Khan’ is a movie written and directed by Karan Johar. It follows the character of Rizwan, who embarks on a journey to meet the President of the United States, to convey an important message to him. The movie skillfully renders an intense story by engaging with several misrepresented aspects of Islam.
At the beginning of the movie, Shahrukh’s character picks up three stones as part of his character trait to engage with its disability. This scene takes place just after his Ammi explains how there are two types of people in the world—good and bad. Simultaneously, in the movie, we see Rizwan engaging with the stones on several occasions. At the beginning of the third act, Rizwan’s character reaches a sacred Islamic place to pray. The scene begins with Rizwan stepping in the vicinity, after which we see him engaging with the stones. Afterwards, the scene shifts to moving shots of a monologue stating how Muslims have to do ‘jihad’ in order to survive in this world.
The story of Allah demanding Ishmael’s life, and how this sacrifice is crucial for Islam are part of the monologue by Faisal Rahman’s character played by Arif Zakaria. At this point, Shahrukh’s character Rizwan intervenes to complete the story and concludes that Allah was testing Ibrhamin and eventually lets go of Ishmael’s life. Rizwan also mentions someone who was manipulating Ibrahim not to trust Allah and His mercy. As he begins to leave the premise, a question is raised: who was the person who was trying to manipulate Ibrahim against Allah? Rizwan responds by rushing from the door to throw stones at ‘Faisal Rahman’, who was delivering that aggressive extremist monologue, and declares ‘Vo Shaitan Tha’ (He was the devil).
This action mirrors the ritual performed in the concluding days of the Hajj pilgrimage, aptly called ‘stoning the devil’. On Eid al-Adha (the 10th day of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah), pilgrims must strike each of the three jamraat with seven pebbles: a symbolic reenactment of Ibrahim’s hajj, where he stoned three pillars representing the temptation to disobey God and preserve Ishmael.
This movie might be remembered for Shahrukh-Kajol pair or Shahrukh’s brilliant performance, but the script deserves special praise.