Review - Ghajini: Original fusioned with a decent flavor of desi tadka

wogma rating: The keen should rent; else TV (?)
quick review:

That I didn't realize how my 3+ hours passed by is testimony to the fact that you can't take the love for masala out of this Indian. Even though I usually don't like this combination of spices I found myself enjoying most of Ghajini. The thriller succeeded in getting me anxious but the seasoning left a bad after-taste.

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Wogma Review

A few frames into the movie and I knew I'd be wasting the 3 hours to come if I chose to connect the proceedings on the screen with Memento. So, I sent Memento out of the dark hall. I began adjusting myself to the loud chant-like background music which over-compensated for the sparse dialogue. And my eyes refocused as per the over-zealous camera-person/editor's demands. Once I gave in, I saw myself getting involved with the characters, getting curious, heart-beating in the throat and all.

Ghajini is one of those movies which I liked despite sensing the flavor of 'over-the-top' cinema in each of the 185 minutes. It absorbed me in its present scene and yet left a garish after-taste. It's all packed in there - drama, emotion, romance, action, song, dance, and a social message thrown in for no charge. Mixing of more than 2 genres annoyed me here, as always, e.g. I felt completely lost when the romance cropped up.

And just imagine the state of my mind when songs were thrown in like rabbits jump out of magic hats - from nowhere. While on that note, my heart bled when I heard Prasoon Joshi pull a Sameer, save a few verses. Since the songs were picturised and choreographed well, I vote for a separate music video album for those who are interested. Do you?

Anyway, scene-by-scene Ghajini grew on me. While I wouldn't have enjoyed any one thread of the plot by itself, the total added up to a little more than the sum of the parts. The sequences that worked without any caveat were the two junctions where the thriller was poised such that anxiety of the protagonist's next step raised my pulse-rate.

Not as badly as Aamir Khan's pulsating nerves at his temples though. Wide eyes wanting to scream louder than what his voice box can create. It's inexplicable why his character transformed into this unwieldy monster when angry. Almost as if to show this is what this Khan is capable of -physical shape included. And note that I haven't yet spoken against how his short-term memory turns him into a superhero with super-duper action-powers. Now that I've done it, I had a huge problem with all the so-called 'crowd pleasing', 'mass appeal' items added. Once again, I'm a part of the masses and one in the crowd and I don't want it! Oh well...

However, Aamir mesmerized me with his subtle reflexes in the emotional and romantic sequences. And Asin very charmingly supported him and entertained the audience. Her occasionally-irritating saccharine character was endearing enough for me to wish for her happiness. Though all very white, it was a part written with a little more meat than usually accorded to women in Hindi cinema. On the other hand, Jiah Khan had a sketch of a role which she fumbled through as ungraciously as she could. Why were her urdu lessons being publicized? She could barely hide the accent while speaking English!

Ghajini's nowhere as smart or nearly as subtle as Memento but it's not completely stupid either. It's not even a fraction as mind-boggling as Memento either, but it does keep your brain ticking fast enough to ignore the huge leaps of faith every 10th minute. Ghajini is certainly one of those that people who love the melodramatic elements of Hindi cinema will enjoy but those who hate masala will hate. And either you have to be one of those who hasn't watched Memento or can block memories of Memento to make the most out of this one. I combined my tolerance of all things Bolly and ignored the original to like it as much as I did.

- meeta, a part of the audience

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: Loads and pretty brutal at that!
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Not much except for a few songs with skimpily dressed women.
  • Concept: That of revenge and use of violence to achieve goals.
  • General Look and Feel: Very rugged and raw feel in about half the movie. And the rest is bright and peppy with songs at regular intervals.

Ghajini - Movie Details

Ghajini - Trailer

Comments (18)

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joylynford:

for me ammir banking on this movie to be a success is not all its efforts well the original movie is already a hit. the why the hype.

Adithya:

Please do not expect Memento! The only things copied are the plot and the short term memory loss concept. There isn't even a non linear narrative. Lots of masala, flashbacks etc. This is what the Tamil version had and I believe they've only changed the climax, which is a good thing considering how bad the second half of tamil version was.

meetu:

Adithya, that's actually very heartening. That its not like Memento and that the bad parts from the Tamil movie have been changed. So, these things in combination with Aamir Khan being a part of the movie means it can't be bad. Anyway, we'll know soon enough.

meetu:

whiner, :) i agree with you as far as condoning plagiarism of concepts go. There are no buts there.

Yet, if a movie is made, I'm going to watch it, and I have a feeling you will too, even if it is only to rip it apart and abuse the people involved even further.

So, given that a movie has been made, we recognize its a copy and move on with life. Not to grab people by their collars is my choice.

And I do find it heartening when they have tried some change...just imagine, if they copied the non-linear narrative too, and then manage to screw it up...what a disaster that would be.

Even if it is entertaining a copied product is sinful and should be enforced as a crime, but it cannot be stopped from being entertaining and being called that - wishy-washy tone or otherwise.

Mumbai:

I dont think this is an exact copy of Memento. Anwyays, it's already been released in Tamil. Have you seen the Tamil version? Is it the same as Memento?

Adithya:

@whiner: That's the difference between a copy and an inspiration. Many Hollywood directors do it too. They are just more justified than what Bollywood directors are. Even Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill was an inspired version of a million Asian flicks that impressed him. So if someone is trying to build on an existing concept, add the Indian film sensibilities and masala to it, it is probably going to turn out to be a good effort.

Definitely, Memento, a scene by scene copy, is going to be a huge failure with our audience. Even if it were to be original.

Ranajay:

Nice review! Enjoyed reading your notepad as well. What boggled me was that,if Ghajini was famous...did Aamir Khan suddenly forget how to use Google...lol!

Ghajini reviews at Blogbharti:

[...] movie reviewer Meetu gives it a “wait for video release” rating. That I didn’t realize how my 3+ hours passed by is [...]

Sajitha:

Good review

meetu:

Ranajay :D
Sajitha thanks!
Pankaj thanks! you should consider writing an analytical essay when you are done!
Sumeet fixed! thanks for taking the effort to point out the errors. Much appreciated!!
nightcrawler oh no! that never feels good...

meetu:

Jay, I thought the violence was what would bring the guys in.
Vinita thanks! the movie is getting such mixed reactions...

Beth:

Yes! Screaming eyes! Magic rabbit songs! Jiah's non-role! Genre-mixing! Ack!

Mumbai:

I think i'll wait for the VCD

ofhumanbondage7:

well "written" review but wrong on almost every count IMHO.If you sat through the entire movie without feeling it was way too long you really have a masochistic streak.
Secondly, I feel that while Aamir gave a very creditable performance in this semi-plagiarized film, this performance will not transfer well to the dvd/vcd.See it on the small screen and you will know exactly what I am talking abt. See this movie in the theater but only for the Aamir's effort, perhaps his best to date.
The songs were always a welcome interruption, especially Gujarish and Behka, the latter where the Milo camera is used to some good effect.
Movie could have been made much better by developing the pre-trauma story more and making the revenge & memory loss part much shorter.

Himanshu:

I cannot simply erase Memento and I would have to say that this movie sucked for two primary reasons.
0. Memento is way better.
1. The "short term memory loss" angle was underplayed which was the thing that separates this from a run-of-the mill revenge drama.
2. The screenplay is patchy. It peaks and then gets drowned in Aamir's seething anger and guttral sounds, song/dance and flashbacks. It is a 3 and a half hours of torture.

Audience may lap it up because of the masala quotient but that does not make it a good movie. Heck, it does not even have a decent villain and the action sequences suck.

hindi news paper:

Tamil Version is better than Hindi, but Hindi version Climax is very catchy

reshma:

your User rating algorithm certainly needs a major improvement.
for only one user who sees it to be too good rates 5.
and overall user rating remains 5.
cmmon 5 for this unoriginal, south indian style movie...certainly not

meetu:

@Reshma Yeah, I know. I will see if we can add number of ratings just below the rating, to give perspective.

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