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.

Rating: 6.5/10

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13 Comments on Ghajini: what a letdown!!

  1. Bhavya says:

    After all this you still rate it at 6.5. Interesting.
    As you may have read (http://searchforrandomness.blo.....s-day.html), I agree with you on everything you say about not expecting this from an Aamir Khan movie, but I think that this was not entirely an exactly a thriller, and the way you wanted it to be in the last 30 minuted was not how it was supposed to be. It was an amalgamation of all genres of filmaking, and it did justice to all of them.

    Anyway, your opinion is yours to express freely, as mine is for me 🙂

  2. Bhavya says:

    Typo: “not entirely and exactly a thriller”

  3. Akash says:

    Even I din’t like it much, it is just good. There were a number of loopholes in the story and execution. Also I cud saw a south Indian touch in direction too.

    The main problem was that we set such high expectation from an Aamit Khan movie and it doesn’t touch even comes near to that standard.

  4. Bhavya says:

    Now when Akash says he didn’t like it, he rates it at 2.75/5 (He said he raised it to 3.5 because he watched it with me 🙂 ). But Bhatti aapka funda samajh nahin aaya. 6.5/10? What is your standard for movies that you actually like?

  5. actinium says:

    did u or did u not see TZP?

  6. actinium says:

    n bhatti-san, ur blog told me dat i’m “posting comments too quickly”! plz tell dem to upgrade their hardware if dey can’t handle even me 😀

  7. Bhavya says:

    Your blog also randomly throws “out of memory at line 1” errors at me if I hover around the links! These guys definitely need an upgrade

  8. Well, actually my rating on scale of 10 is not exactly double of what i’d have rated on a scale of 5. In fact, 2.75 is the precise value that i had put it at on a scale of 5. But scale of 10 gives me more width to separate great movies from good one time watches.

    An approximate conversion: 3/5 ~ 7/10 ~ Good movie.

  9. @ Actinium:
    I’ll look into this issue.. I guess there’s some option to change the time between consecutive comments.
    And no, I cud not watch TZP. Will see that very soon.

    Why r u still stuck with IE? Try using Firefox or Chrome and u’ll never get this error!.

  10. Bhavya says:

    I have tried any number of browsers… even lynx. And I like IE the best.

  11. actinium says:

    finally saw d movie today…as bhavya had pointed out, ur post title (and rating) and movie review don’t gel well. so i’d agree vid the post title and final rating…i simply can’t appreciate Rajnikant-ish action-sequences…
    n just 4 d records, the title sequence (though i skipped a little of it as i hd to go pick up a friend of mine hu jst vudn’t believe dat i’m paying 4 d movie tickets!) not only shows the human nervous system, it also shows the circulation system a bit, albeit d color of blood ws blue!

  12. Ayesha says:

    i know its like a lil late… but im curious.. did u like memento? i personally found it way better than ghajini..

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