4.5 Excellent

Ghajini

Ghajini demonstrates how strong filmmaking can enhance and elevate an already solid concept. It is a revenge saga, one ingredient that has been the staple diet of Hindi films since time immemorial. It is a powerful film. It has the power to sweep you off your feet from the word ‘go’. It has a riveting story, which has been told with flourish by director AR Murugadoss. And of course, it has a knock out performance by Aamir Khan. If at all there’s a shred of doubt whether Aamir is The Best in the business, all you’ve got to do is check out Ghajini.

Flaws any? Running time (almost 3 hours)? Not at all! There’s so much happening in every scene and the screen play is so gripping that you dont feel the need to look at the auditorium ceiling or at your watch at brief intervals. You arent restless. As moviegoers, we’ve watched countless good versus evil fares over the years and although Ghajini belongs to the same family, not once does it take the beaten track. The story has been told differently and most importantly, the story offers so many twists n turns that you just can’t guess what would unfold next. Is it violent? It is, at times, but the violence here is justified. In fact, every time the protagonist bashes up the evil-doers, you clap and root for him. The climax is jaw-dropping dissimilar from the original, but it’s an out of the world experience nonetheless.

To sum up, Ghajini is commercial Hindi cinema at its best. The film has ‘Hit’ written all over it. Let me put it this way: Cancel whatever you’re doing today and go watch Ghajini instead.

Ghajini is not Memento (most believe the makers were inspired by the classic English film). There’re minor similarities, but Ghajini takes a completely different route to tell its story. Director AR Murugadoss tells this one differently. It starts off with what happens in the past, comes to the present day, goes back in time again and returns to the contemporary again. This is a breathless, exciting story, heart breaking and exhilarating at the same time.

Hindi movies have often depicted people suffering from amnesia/memory loss, but Ghajini is poles apart because the protagonist recalls events only for 15 minutes. The story is its USP, without a doubt. But what adds sheen and glory to the story is Aamir’s portrayal of a man suffering from short term memory loss. Aamir hardly speaks. In fact, the leading lady (Tamil Actress Asin) speaks more than Aamir in the film. But Aamir speaks volumes with his eyes, he conveys whatever has to be conveyed through his body language, he says it all with his facial expressions and that only makes Ghajini a memorable, never seen before experience.

Director AR Murugadoss deserves brownie points for not just coming up with an interesting story, but also presenting it differently. The storyteller balances the light moments and the ones demanding intensity with expertise. There’s dum in every sequence. Even if the director has to depict violence, he doesn’t resort to blood n gore or knives, swords, pistols for effect. AR Rahman’s music is top notch. At least three numbers have the unmistakable stamp of a genius ‘Guzarish’, ‘Behka’ and ‘Kaise Mujhe’. Ravi Chandran’s cinematography is stunning. The film bears a stylish look all through. The action sequences are brilliantly executed. The Hindi moviegoers haven’t seen such scenes ever.

Aamir delivers his career best performance. In the first place, it requires courage and maturity to name the film after the villain. Knowing how egoistic our stars are, something like this is next to impossible in Hindi films. A lot has been said and written about the Ghajini look. Aamir’s hairstyle and his dream physique. It’s awe-inspiring and if more people adopt the ‘Aamir look’ or hit the gym, it would be courtesy the actor. As far as his acting is concerned, he’s natural as the tycoon, but like a wounded, ferocious tiger when he goes on an avenging spree.

Without doubt, it’s a concentrated, layered performance. He acts with his entire being. His body movement, the details of his performance, everything rings true. He is both vulnerable and hard. The pain in his face when he can’t remember, is palpable. It’s not only the plot that carries GHAJINI. It’s also the mood and the expression on Aamir’s face that makes Ghajini a treat (to watch). Asin is fabulous. To share the screen space with an actor of the stature of Aamir Khan and yet remain in your (viewers) memory even after the show has ended is no cakewalk. She looks fresh and photogenic and acts her part brilliantly. Pradeep Rawat, the villain, is first-rate. Jiah Khan impresses, especially in the sequence when Aamir follows her to a shopping mall.

On the whole, Ghajini is a winner all the way. The film will set new records and has the merits to emerge one of the biggest hits of all times. The weekend business should be historic, the Week 1 business should be unparalleled, the lifetime gross should be amongst the biggest of all times. In short, GHAJINI has ‘Blockbuster’ written all over it.

Taran Adarsh rated the movie 4.5 on 5 stars.

Ghajini Review – Anupama Chopra

At the recently held Indian Screenwriters’ Conference in Mumbai, writer-director Abbas Tyrewala lamented the lack of villains in Bollywood. He said that clearly defined villains used to be our staple diet. This was true until some time in the mid-1990s, when happy smiling families and yuppies in designer clothes took over. Well, I’m happy to report that the villain is back.

Ghajini, played ferociously by Pradeep Singh Rawat, is the kind of villain who wears thick gold chains and rings on every finger. He is defiantly brutal – he runs a pharmaceutical company but for reasons never explained, he likes to smash iron rods into human heads and forces young girls into both prostitution and organ trade. He has one gold tooth, wears shiny white shoes and keeps a posse of henchmen so ugly that they look like they were airlifted from Ram Gopal Varma’s last film. And of course Ghajini routinely drops lines like: aise marenge ki uska nakhun bhi nahi milega and my personal favourite: short-term memory loss patient mujhe kya yaad dilaayega.

Ghajini, director A R Murugadoss’s remake of his Tamil blockbuster, is a throw back to what Hindi films used to be: a three hour extravaganza of romance, comedy, action, set-piece songs and drama. It’s a standard revenge film given a fresh twist with a dash of Christopher Nolan’s critically acclaimed Memento. Like that film, the protagonist here, Sanjay Singhania played by Aamir Khan, is hit on the head and suffers from short-term memory loss. He cannot remember anything for more than 15 minutes. So, he tattoos his body with instructions: the most important one being that his girlfriend Kalpana was murdered, and he must find the murderer and kill him. The film is riddled with logical loopholes but Murugadoss, who also wrote it, doesn’t give you enough time to think about them.

So, you never ask how Sanjay, the fabulously wealthy owner of a cellphone company, conducts a lengthy romance with Kalpana, played by debutant Asin, pretending to be an ordinary man? Or why Ghajini, a master-thug and expert killer, doesn’t have a gun when he needs it the most? Or why the key conflict, which leads to Kalpana’s death, is such a random imposition on the script? Instead, you are caught up in the mystery of how a superbly stylish businessman becomes a killing machine who routinely cracks necks and in his introduction scene, plunges a broken tap into a man’s stomach. Ghajini isn’t for the faint-hearted. The violence is gory and elemental. The climax is pure man-on-man combat with lots of crunching bones.

For Aamir, Ghajini is a 360 degree turn from the sensitive teacher he played in Taare Zameen Par. With a buffed up, eight-pack body, here he is a brutal killer in a murderous rage. Watch him as he explodes with grief and then just as quickly forgets it. It’s a memorable performance indeed. Thankfully Asin is less animated than she was in the Tamil version. Some of their romantic scenes, and particularly her death are nicely done.

Ghajini isn’t a great film or even a very good one but I recommend that you see it. It is, as we used to say in the old days, paisa vasool.