Having seen the first 20 minutes, I had adamantly argued with KS that Ghajini was exactly Memento. Polaroid pictures with names on them, tattooed mirrored text on a well-built body, the same underlying revenge plot, all remind you of Memento. I was quite wrong though. Memento was a much intelligently made movie with an unknown actor (Guy Pearce) as the protagonist, still reaching #27 on IMDB's all time top 250. Ghajini, on the other hand, terribly depicts an Indian masala replete with action, romance, drama, dream song sequences, and stars the best Indian actor. There can be no comparison between Christopher Nolanâ€™s masterpiece and A R Murugadossâ€™s Ghajini. Even Aamir Khan did not understand Memento [You might have to sign up on AK's blog to read the post], and you might want to keep your brains at home while watching Ghajini.
A business tycoon (who rolls up already shorter-than-half sleeves of his shirts in his business meetings) cannot register fresh memories after an incident that killed his romantic partner. He manages his memory through tattoos, notes, pictures and reminders. Finding Ghajini out and killing him is the ultimate goal of his life. The story now follows two parallel plots, the present, and the flashback through an over-stretched diary-reading session, where AK introduces the reader to his associates and romantic adventures a la Tom Riddle from Harry Potter, and there ensues a normal romance-revenge drama. Once you survive through, the although predictable end is sort of likeable.
Aamir Khan, no doubt, worked (out) a lot for the film. The concept of anterograde amnesia is very fresh and novel for Indian cinema. But alas, there it ends. Murugadoss forgot to pay attention to the other pieces. So while the movie is a blockbuster, looking at things other than AK's abs would reveal tons of plot loopholes, a dragging narrative, repetitive jokes, and pathetic acting by almost everybody else. Despite his new-found muscles, the short and stocky Aamir incredulously thrashes equally well-built men a foot taller than him.
Jiah Khan couldn't even act properly to drink water. Kalpana was satiatingly cheeky and moronically funny and a huge fan of Mother Teresa, but Asin did some justice to the role. Pradeep Rawat definitely did much better as Sultan in Sarfarosh and as Ashwatthama in B R Chopra's Mahabharata than as Ghajini where he looks a South Indian unsucessfully faking a thick Haryanwi accent. The other nobodies looked acting schools aspirants. ARR's music too was a let down. I liked only Kaise Mujhe Tum Mil Gayin, the others have silly lyrics and catchy beats.
The clone has heavy undertones of the Tamil version. The extras, the accents, the ambiance. Anyone would have better watched the original instead. Another big blunder was the nomenclature. The Tamil movie is about a concept 'Ghajini' from Mahmud of Ghazni, who invaded India 17 times till he succeeded; but the history link has been screwed up by naming the villain so.
The length of the film is a full three hours. Had I edited it, I'd have retained the first half an hour, the last half hour, and extracted another half from the middle two hours. Ghajini, which could have been an seat-gripping psychological thriller, ended up being a predictable romantic revenge drama, which had to have a stupid epilogue. Aamir Khan is the only good thing; the movie failed to live up to my expectations, and would fetch only 6 out of my scale of 10.