Monday, December 29, 2008


With Aamir Khan putting all the weight of his star power behind Ghajini, he will draw the crowds. But it is precisely because Khan is in the film, that it is disappointing. With all that talk of perfectionism and quality cinema, one expected the star to do a superior film – in content that is, not just style. Why a remake of a successful but not particularly outstanding Tamil film?

But for the idea of the hero's memory loss (taken from Christopher Nolan's Memento) , Ghajini is just another revenge-action drama that so many stars have done through the eighties and nineties. In fact, it is the lack of sophisticated action that is most alarming about the film. Let's not even talk about lapses in logic—some extra cinematic license is always granted to mainstream cinema. When Sanjay (Aamir Khan) is first seen he is beating up a man and finally plunges a tap through his stomach (one can imagine the censors cutting what followed—blood coming out it) —and all the while, he has a gun.

Sanjay is the owner of a major mobile phone company, and now he suffers from a form of memory loss that leaves him unable to remember anything for more than 15 minutes. So he lives in a dark den with notes stuck or written all over, carries a Polaroid camera to take snapshots that he instantly labels and the most important info he has tattooed on his body – and what is of significance is that a man called Ghajini (Pradeep Rawat) has to be killed.

Through the medium of an outsider reading his diaries—first a cop and then an over-eager medical student Sunita (Jiah Khan), the story of his tragedy is reconstructed. A small time model Kalpana (Asin) pretends that the phone tycoon Sanjay is her boyfriend, in order to get better work from her agency. She does not know what he looks like, so Sanjay pretends to be an aspiring model Sachin. He falls in love with her innocence and constant willingness to help others. (She must be also particularly dumb—today a simple Google search would show up details about any famous person!)

Kalpana stumbles on a major human organ fresh trading racket, which could expose an important man. Typically in films, people rush off into imminent danger without bothering to call the cops. Sanjay comes to Kalpana's rescue too – and a cell phone honcho doesn't think of back-up—and while she is killed, he is battered on the head and left to die.

The enemy, this Ghajini is supposedly the owner of a pharmaceuticals company, but runs around with his thugs, bashing people's heads in with rods—guns are not that hard to come by. Sanjay is celebrity but there seems to be no media interest or follow up of his case. After the incident he lives in the suburban flat he bought for Kalpana, travels around in buses and autos… and uses physical force to beat Ghajini's men.

But for the actor's hard work-- not to mention vanity and publicity potential of the Body Building and Head Shaving, there was no need for that WWF rough stuff. The real trauma of the man lies in coping with memory loss and trying to go ahead with his mission despite the handicap. The only time you feel the enormity of the loss is when Ghajini and his men come and wreck his house with its painstaking collection of reminders and cover his tattoos. The problem is solved in no time, since the medical student has wandered into his house stealing his diaries and photos, so that she can conveniently give them to him.

The romance is sunny and sweet– though Asin's chirpiness grates after a point-- but the violence is crude, distasteful and completely gratuitous. Aamir Khan (wearing odd shirts with puff sleeves as the tycoon!) is actually far more effective in the role of a bemused suitor than he is as the muscleman. Asin also excels in the dramatic portions. But the weakest link here is the villain who simply cannot carry the cumbersome burden of having a film named after him!


Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

eXTReMe Tracker