In Ghajini, the best sequence for me, and for everyone else I guess, was the one when Sanjay Singhania gets a bout of short term memory loss amidst the bashing of Ghajini Dharmatma and forgets everything only to be told by the latter that Ghajini was coming the other way.
This was one scene, and unfortunately the only, which reminded me of the intellect of an Aamir Khan movie. Sadly enough, the rest of the movie jostled through stereotypical South Indian action sequences, high pitched background scores, an apology for A.R. Rahman’s music, and an obtuse use of eight-packs all over. And this from someone who recently endowed us with a masterpiece like Taare Zameen Par. While Ghajini might be on its way to break loads of records and create unprecedented history, I an ardent fan of Aamir Khan, was taken aback.
Follow a fairly visible trail of the history of bollywood (for all those who are jingoistic enough for an unabashed, sudden and random spur of originality – The Indian Cinema) and there will be undeniable encounters with a quantity of landmarks. While many of these are proudly associated with the eminent legends of the industry, quite a few belong to the man who has been tagged by critics and the media alike as the perfectionist - Aamir Khan. There’s Lagaan where the underdogs won a cricket match against the British and in the process made the country taste the academy award nomination; there’s Dil Chahta Hai which gave the youth a penchant for extraordinary hairstyles and which enjoys a cult following till today; Rang De Basanti true to its tag line woke a generation which was surmised by the candle light marches that followed at India Gate at the onset of any national cause; Taare Zameen Par which made every mother comprehend the indescribable emotions of the apple of her eyes.
Among these recent cinematic works of genius of his, stand two of the much doubtful milestones namely Fanaa and Ghajini. In terms of records and box office collections these might have surpassed his other classics but the slightest discourse on cinematic virtue would almost certainly peel them off of any honor. One wonders how the scripts passed the supposedly picky and fastidious actor. While Fanaa proved to be a hopeless-shayari-stuffed run of the mill movie, Ghajini was a heartbreaking rip off of a Christopher Nolan masterpiece.
Aamir Khan himself, however, admits to these two not being his kind on his blog. He claims that even though they might be categorized as commercial films, it is the market strength and following of these films that allow him to take off beat tracks. While we as an audience have set a certain level from his works, we should but apprehend the fact that because he makes a large fan following and sets unparalleled box office collections is he able to take risks to raise the bar of cinema in general.
We naturally have come to expect more than the usual from him than what we might expect from other actors. The truth of this statement lies in the fact that immediate questions occurred in our minds when we were made to see one man beat every mortal alive in Ghajini while we almost automatically condoned the hand pump being lifted by the he-man clone Sunny Deol in Gadar. We have come to issue cinematic licenses quite easily to most actors save Aamir.
Despite all, Aamir Khan has paved his way out through the stereotype picturesque romantic escapism of Bollywood to enlighten the Indian audience on subjects that indubitably compel for more thought and time of the populace. He has emerged as the Howard Roark of Indian cinema. Fortunately or unfortunately, one seminal film from him makes us judge his other works on those grounds. Although it is important for him to excel commercially too, we as an audience look forward to the finest cinematic works from him, because we, unlike the protagonist of Ghajini, do not suffer from short term memory loss.
- Rajat Agarwal. ([email protected])