It was one of those rare occasions when I went on to see a movie without having a prior review or idea about the story. I am normally too choosy when it comes to movies, particularly on the big screen. So it’s really rare for me to see a movie without hearing a good word about it either from a friend or a critic. I first experimented with RDB and had a good experience. Decided to repeat this with another Amir Khan starrer, this time with much awaited Ghajini. I had almost no idea about the plot and had not got a chance to read the reviews for the movie except for some news headlines, which claimed Aamir’s performance to be his career best.
Now, when you are talking about career-best performance of somebody,whose list includes gems like RDB, DCH, Lagaan, and Sarfarosh, it certainly raises expectations. And surely, these expectations were not betrayed.
The movie starts on an eerie note. And I am not talking about the first scene yet.. It’s the way initial casting is shown, (the music and the visuals) that sends a chill down your spine and sets the tone for the next three hours.(I suppose that they were taking us through a tour of the human nervous system.) Going forward, the movie maintains a fine balance between the present and the flashback. When the story is in the present tense, it’s a thriller, in flashback, it has a lovely romantic side. And you don’t miss the other side, when one side is being played.In partciular, you are bound to love the scenes when Aamir and Asin are together. Whether it’s the scene when she sells off her car to “help” him, the scene in which they enter the new house together or finally, the last scene in which Kalpana is killed, each scene is touching in its own way.
As for the acting performances, Aamir was superb as usual. Though I am not sure whether it was his career best, but surely, it was a terrific performance. As the affable CEO in the flashback, he was quite good. But it was his second avatar, that impressed me more. I have seen some of his action packed performances in Sarfarosh or Mangal-Pandey:The rising, but this was the first time I saw him in a beastly role. Flaring his nostrils and flexing his muscles, he personified rage and revenge. Among others, Asin played the role of an upcoming model to perfection. Her entry-point (“Aye Bachchoo” song) lowered any expectations that I could have from an unknown actress. But after that, she was quiet likeable. The villain Pradeep Rawat was menacing in his role as an organ-trading devil. Jiah too was okay in the small role that the script had for her.
You may be wondering about the direction in which this review is going. (especially after seeing the title of the post) Actually, this is the way it happenned. For the first 2.5 hours, I was glued to the seat. But IMO, for a thriller, it’s often the last 30 minutes that matter the most. If in these 30 minutes, the director connects the pieces well, the movie can make a lasting impression on the audience. This is exactly where Ghajini fails.
There are some gaping loopholes, something that you can never expect in a movie starring Mr Perfection himself. Okay, not everyone of us knows the CXOs of even the biggest companies, but it becomes too indigestible, when they put a bold statement that “Noone has ever seen Sanjay Singhania” (says Kalpana’s boss b4 the new year party) You’re talking about somebody, who is the CEO of India’s leading mobile company, whose articles are published in leading newspapers like Economic Times, you’re inviting everybody (from presswallahs to NGOs to potential clients) to the event and you expect that nobody has ever seen him before. And then this CEO (Yes, he continues to hold the position) goes on wrecking havoc at will and again no one notices. Yes, one cop does notice and traces him quite easily before getting butchered, but then rest of the police deptt doesn’t bother to catch him.
Another irritating thing was the presence of songs that come out of nowhere. Almost all of the songs could have been just snipped out without the slightest change in the flow of the movie. I thought that Bollywood had left these behind and we now even have some songless movies. Worse part was that the songs were not only out of place, but most of them were intolerable!! (Only exceptions were Guzarish and Kaise mujhe..)
But these flaws are something that I could have lived with. But as I said earlier, a thriller is about connecting the pieces well. And Ghajini does not even make an attempt to do so. I would have liked to know how exactly the friendly CEO turned into a revenge-seeking monster. And that too, when he has no sense of memory left. But not only he remembers Ghajini,the villain, he also remembers each and every one of the killers. He needs to scribble every minute detail so that he will remember the same 15 minutes later; he has his entire body tatooed to remember “Kalpana was killed”, but the director does not bother to show us the transition. How and when did he prepare for this? And then another transition that the movie misses is Sanjay’s return to normal life. After killing Ghajini, how does he actually remember that his mission is complete. Further, he’s not shown to be convicted or punished for so many cold-blooded murders. He simply returns to his normal life with an orphanage named after his beloved.
Also, a masterstroke by Ghajini the villain (wiping out all the text on Sanjay’s body so that he has no map to his revenge) is left unanswered. I could imagine the scene, in which Sanjay would have woken up with some vague memories only to see his body with signs of something overwritten all over it.That would have made for a superb scene, but I am sure that must have been editted out to keep the movie within the 3 hour limit. ( Why did they not snip the Bachchoo and lattoo songs instead!!)
The end is a bit touchy with a gift of Sanjay and Kalpana’s footprints followed by a replay of “kaise mujhe.. “. Despite the feeling of inconclusiveness for the main story, I could notice my eyes getting moist at this moment.
Overall, I’d remember Ghajini as a movie, which for the first 2.5 hours, promised to be in my all time favorite list, but then went down as just another okayish movie. BTW, I am now eager to see Memento and check how was this terrific premise handled there.