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"My name is Khan and and I am not a terrorist."
Born in India, Rizwan is diagnosed from an early age as having Asperger's Syndrome. His mother patiently takes care of him, teaches him right and wrong and finds a mentor willing to help him. Unfortunately, her attention spurs the jealousy of Rizwan's brother Zakir, who leaves India for the United States at 18, to create his own business. After their mother's death, Zakir helps Rizwan move to America, acquire the nationality and find a job. This is how Rizwan meets and falls in love with Mandira, a Punjabi hairdresser with a teen son named Sameer. After a ridiculously cute courtship, Rizwan and Mandira decide to get married - against their families' wishes, since he's Muslim and she's Hindu. Sameer and Rizwan become best friends, Mandira's dream of opening her own hair dressing salon comes true and they're all set to live happily ever after.
Then September 11 happens. Then It Gets Worse.
This film contains examples of:
- Anvilicious / Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped
- Barack Obama: And how.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: Rizwan ends up in the equivalent of Guantanamo Bay because Mandira tells him to tell the president he's not a terrorist.
- Beige Prose: Rizwan's letter to Mandira.
- Beta Couple: Rizwan's brother, Zakir, and his wife.
- Bilingual Bonus: The African-American church that Rizwan ends in is called Church of Rock
- The Bully: Leads to the death of Sameer
- Closer to Earth: Mandira is this for Rizwan until her son is killed and she understandably flips out.
- Disability Superpower: Khan is extremely intelligent and fares exceptionally well with logic problems, which means he can fix almost anything.
- Idiot Savant: Rizwan.
- Infant Immortality: Yeah, averted.
- Innocent Inaccurate: Rizwan's letters to Mandira, when he is being detained for terrorism. An example would be the point where we see that the temperature in his cell is changed from extreme cold to extreme heat as a form of torture. Rizwan's letter, paraphrased: "This place is strange. Sometimes it's too cold, sometimes it's too hot. Maybe they're having problems with the air conditioning."
- Kids Are Cruel: Especially to Sameer when they find out his father is Muslim.
- Life Imitates Art: The movie starts with Rizwan being searched and detained for questioning in an airport because people mistake him for a terrorist. When he traveled to the US to promote the movie, Shahrukh Khan was... searched and detained for questioning in an airport because his name lit up a red signal for terrorism. Oops.
- Mistaken for Terrorist: Throughout the course of the film.
- Even when he's screaming he's not a terrorist!
- Police Are Useless: As is the national defense department.
- The Promise: Mandira tells Rizwan she'll marry him if he can find a place she hasn't seen in San Francisco.
- Sibling Rivalry: Zakir is jealous of the attention Rizwan gets.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Khan is pronounced KAH-N with a guttural K.
- Straight Man: Played with as Rizwan takes almost everything so literaly that he becomes deadpan.
- Tear Jerker: Do not see this movie in the cinema with women who have children.
- The War on Terror
- "Well Done, Son" Guy: Subverted somewhat with Zakir, who leaves for the United States as soon as he turns 18 in part to escape his family. Not completely as he sponsors Rizwan to come to the US.