1) Before my boredom takes over, I want to make clear that Ghajini is a decent time pass (I’ll list the USPs at the end of this post).
2) This contains a rough overview of the plot that can spoil the movie for you. There are some specifics of some scenes too.
Putting Ghajini into a genre
Ghajini is not Memento. Ghajini is the boy-meets-girl (and falls in love) story followed by boy-avenges-girl’s death rant. The non-linear unfolding of the narrative is superfluous because there is no surprise in the story and because it doesn’t serve any purpose except for tightening the pace. It’s a different movie altogether, with a different focus and a different niche, and it is entirely unnecessary to keep Memento in mind when thinking of it.
Ghajini is not Bollywood either. It has been reworked to Mumbai, but the screenplay wouldn’t have made much sense without its Southie (I think it’s called Kollywood!) motifs. For example, Asin plays the typical innocent bubbly girl with attractive simplicity (real life bimbo made larger than life on screen!). Obviously this is a character done to death in Bollywood, but they do it with a different kind of sensibility in South which you can see in this movie. The Goody Two-Shoes-ness of Asin might thus be a little jarring to the rest of India, but I am sure they will enjoy the bit where Aamir Khan subconsciously learns to drink tea in a pedestrian manner from her.
Ghajini is Kollywood in Bollywood clothes with the addition of Aamir Khan. It’s almost a scene by scene remake of the original except for a better paced and politically correct (or may be I should say cinematically correct!) ending.
Digression to South
There is a remake of Bommarillu (Genelia plays another Miss Goody Two-Shoes Bimbo) in pipeline, and I’ll quit writing on this blog if the hero doesn’t pick up some pedestrian mannerisms from her in the course of the movie. The original in fact contains this very pedestrian way of drinking tea as depicted in Ghajini.
I am being a little harsh. This transference of pedestrian habits symbolises the hero loosening his tie and all that sort of thing, I know. My problem is, I want somebody to invent a different narrative technique to convey hair being let loose. I am tired of the same old shit being peddled around with upbeat music and sweeping camera movements. Audrey Hepburn blowing her nose into Peck’s handkerchief was funny fifty years back in Roman Holiday, but I am sorry if I don’t enjoy seeing it now after so many rehashes of it in just about every other average chick flick.
I want to see some imagination. Something inventive like Saawariya or Amelie. Content can wait. I want to see something inventive or just pretty.
Now back to Ghajini!
Ghajini is a formula movie in two parts. The formula is simple, but broken into non-linear (in time) pieces to interweave the two parts (which differ greatly in mood) in order to make the transition smooth. In fact, because the transitional difficulties have been dealt with by screenplay, it has allowed the director to exaggerate and contrast the moods of those two parts.
Romance and Revenge.
In the part of Romance, the boy falls in love with a girl who is faking to be his girl friend. It has been done with nice low key humour and perfectly romantic ambience. Something you can take your girl friend to!
And then the girl dies and in the Revenge part he goes on around trying to avenge her murder. The original stylised looks of action sequences have been retained. I have been thinking how they were done, and my guess is that they shot them with the usual jumpiness and jarrings and then smoothed the image progressions.
While the music is disappointing, the background score is actually good (particularly in emotional/ contemplative scenes). Guzarish had a great potential, but the music director seems to have run out of material and instead of sitting on the simple piano bar (which is what this song really is. it’s a very pretty piano bar stretched to fit some average piece of lyrics.) till it grew to be a decent song, he has attempted to make a song out of it! It reminds of his last movie, “Yuvraaj,” about which I have written elsewhere.
But I don’t blame him for making such a mess out of Tu Hi Meri Dost Hai (of Yuvraaj). Gulzar is solely responsible for that, because I can see that the original music Rehman must have had in his mind was twisted and contorted to fit Gulzar’s crappy pretentious lyrics. That movie is full of some of the worst lyrics ever written.
Moving on, Kaise Mujhe Tum Mil Gayi is a well crafted and well placed song. The high notes of the song might have been unsuitable to the occasion, but Aamir Khan’s portrayal of the emotion is striking and the song and the visuals together capture the mood very well and mark one of the high points of the movie. In fact, without the song and without Aamir Khan, I think the sequence would have been overtaken by its clichÃ©d overdose of mush.
Aamir Khan and Asin
Needless to say, the movie rests on the shoulders of Aamir Khan, and he has some shoulders! I can’t stop gushing about his looks in the movie. For one thing, he has eight packs. But what I like best is the fact that he looks so cute in the songs in spite of all the beef. He looks incredibly cute in the songs, and I can’t help thinking how handsome he is.
And of course he has acted very well. In the romance part, he plays it with a lot of sensitivity which makes it plausible and convincing. But he plays the revenge part with subtle exaggeration which will capture the attention of every action buff. He plays the revenge part with murderous and blind rage. Blind rage overshadows the hatred that is supposed to drive him.
Which is how it should have been, now that I think about it. There is nothing that he can pin his hatred and frustration on. Without memory, there is no focus to his hatred. So it manifests itself as uncontrollable rage as he goes on around avenging the murder of the love his life. And I love the way Aamir Khan does it. It looks spectacular.
Asin turns out to be a decorative piece and bubbles and simpers (yes, she simpers. she tries to giggle but ends up simpering.) on the screen competently but with mediocrity. She doesn’t have a good figure (as yet?!) and is probably a little too fat for Bollywood! She doesn’t have hangups though, and may be she can act.
I must digress here to mention Rani Mukherjee’s character in Chori Chori. It was not a particularly remarkable movie, and I think it didn’t even get a theatrical release because of delays, but it features what I like to call a piece of vintage Rani Mukherjee! She plays an orphan who pretends to be the fiancÃ©e of a man in love with another woman and plays her part with incredible nonchalance and helplessness and sweetness. I love her in that movie.
Unique Selling Points
It’s a short movie, well paced and well acted.
Decent depiction of romance and action sequences. Southie style, but still decent.
That makes it three stars out of five!
The Godfather (An obvious digression!)
Before the sun sets on a lonely Aamir Khan on a lonely bench, we see that he sees Asin next to him as he unwraps the gift. This scene has a point. It is expected to magnify and drive home his poignancy and his sense of loss by depicting what life could have been without the bitter unnecessary tragedies. They usually end movies about such dramatic loss with scenes with brief and imaginary happy union, but here it was more useful because it was necessary to show that in spite of his loss of memory, he is acutely aware of what he has lost in life.
It reminded me of the last scene of God Father 3. Every God Father movie ended with a brief scene which somehow managed to capture the essence of what was going on, but it was only after the last scene of God Father 3 was over that I understood and felt the bitterness of Michael’s loss of every woman that he had ever loved. That loss was what had underlined his entire life. Ignoring the thriller plots, the first movie is about his transition, the second about confirmation and the third one about resignation. The point is, the resignation doesn’t come till the very end. He had been working towards that resignation all his life, and it is accentuated in the difference between the way his father died and the way he himself died.
He never got a chance to be happy with the women he had loved (the two wives and the daughter). And the last scene was indeed about what it could have been instead of the last dramatic loss, but they choose to show another man who had not known the pain of losing at his happiest hour.
This is well past midnight and I have started blabbering. I just feel very sad for him when he dies alone in a dusty corner on a dusty chair silently and I realise that he had lost all the women he had ever loved.
Happy birthday to me! :)