Ghajini is a powerful movie, sucking you into the violent and disturbing world of a man terribly wronged. It's a movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat from the start and is replete with violence, even after three cuts by the censor board. True, the violent scenes come and go, but it's not the violence per se that is disturbing but the way it is portrayed - with plenty of blood and gore. Despite this the movie has managed to win a U/A certificate.
That said let me say that Ghajini is a well-made film with brilliant music by A.R Rahman. Yes, it's a three-hour masala film and kind of in your face, but then that is what we look forward to in Bollywood don't we! The director, A. R. Murugadoss has done a decent job, even though the story of the film seems to have been lifted from Memento, a film by Christopher Nolan. And Aamir's Hindi version is a remake of the Tamil one, which was also directed by Murugadoss. Everything about this movie, from the cinematography (Ravi K. Chandran), Editing (Anthony) and Art Direction (Samir Chanda) is above average. The fight scenes are the best I have seen in a Hindi film.
What's the film about? (no spoilers)
Within the first few minutes of the film we are introduced to the main character, Sanjay Singhania (Aamir Khan), a man suffering from anterograde amnesia, a condition which prevents him from remembering anything beyond 15 minutes. And we meet him while he is engaged in a violent encounter, giving us a taste of what is to come. After this scene the viewer is taken on a journey of Sanjay's life through a series of flashbacks. The flashbacks are apparently less complex than those in the original, making Ghajini less of a psychological thriller (like Memento) and more of an action thriller.
The story has plenty of weak links but it moves so fast that one doesn't have time to dwell on it. For example, one wonders why Sanjay's girl-friend Kalpana is all alone in a huge train compartment when the rest of the train seems to be packed. It is also quite surprising that a police constable ring up Kalpana to tell her that 2 of the 25 girls she rescues (from being sold) are missing...there is absolutely no reason for her to take Kalpana into confidence. Even the way Sanjay woos Kalpana is rather unbelievable - more the stuff of fantasy. But the romance portrayed between Kalpana and Sanjay is sweet nonetheless, and the stuff of Bollywood.
The actors and characters
Aamir's performance in this film is good. He almost manages to create in us the suspension from disbelief that is so required in this film. However, Aamir's character in the film, Sanjay, is not consistent. Sanjay is shown to become extremely violent after the traumatic incident (that makes him lose his memory) but this is in complete contrast to who he was earlier. In fact the Sanjay before the brain damage is shown to be gentle and soft, and the Sanjay after the brain damage extremely violent. The condition he is suffering from, anterograde amnesia, certainly doesn't affect the psyche of the person, just his memory. At least that is what we are told. Maybe traumatic events in one's life can alter a person's character drastically, but in this case it wasn't convincing enough. Perhaps if the director had shown some traces of aggression in Sanjay's character earlier, his transformation into a killing machine would have been more believable.
Asin's character Kalpana, who is Sanjay's girl-friend in the movie, has been romanticized. But Asin has done a great job in the movie, and there is no doubt that this actress has enormous talent.
As far as characters go, Ghajini's (the villain) character (played by Pradeep Singh Rawat) was the most realistic. Ghajini isn't one of those sophisticated hyped up villains who try to make an impression through their various twitches, tics, funny hairstyles or sinister mannerisms. He is ordinary to look at, his murderous nature showing through his actions, not mannerisms. His character sends a shiver down one's spine.
This Aamir Khan acting extravaganza is a typical Bollywood masala movie, with song and dance, a heart wringing romance and plenty of dishum dishum, but what will make this film memorable is Aamir's performance, and his look. This movie is certainly not for those with queasy stomachs or for those who shy away from dark violent movies. It's what one could call a guy flick.
There is even a Ghajini game available, with an Aamir Khan look alike fighting goons in narrow dark by lanes - ideal for those who want more.
Critic: Nita Jatar Kulkarni
(3 / 5) : Good