Ghajini poster

Ghajini

wogma rating: The keen should rent; else TV/online (?)

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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Director: A R Murugadoss
Running time: 185 minutes
More Movie Info

Ghajini - Preview

NOT A REVIEW - Just wondering if I can delete Memento from my memory, so I can give Ghajini a fair chance...

Do your ears prick up when you hear the name of one of your all-time favorites? If yes, then you'll know exactly what I mean, when I say, "I felt like a newly married Indian bride - full of mixed feelings, sorrow and excitement all at once - when I heard Aamir Khan is going to star in the Hindi version of Memento. It's one of my all-time favorites, across genres, across boundaries, across years, etc."

Mixed because it's exciting that someone's trying something as mind-boggling as Memento in Hindi movies. The concept will be exposed to so many more people. BUT, one look at the promos, and my apprehensions began germinating.

Songs! With dance!! Bare-chested hero dancing!!! Noooooo, they can't do this to me!!!!

What's wrong with that? For one - its going to make the movie longer. See what I mean here. And when you are used to eating a particular dish with a certain amount of salt-and-pepper, there is bound to be anxiety if other masala is added to suit other people's palate, right? Anyways, that's the flipside of wanting more people to watch it, I guess. Let's just hope the publicity department got over-enthusiastic and the movie will be in stark contrast to the on-the-face promos. Other bloggers share my uneasiness too, albeit for different reasons.

But these objections make sense only if Ghajini is a remake of Memento. According to producer, Madhu Mantena -

There are other Hollywood films on same theme of short term memory loss like Finding Nemo and 50 First Dates. So why single out Memento?

LOL Finding Nemo? Ha! Finding Nemo?? Ha! Ha!!

If Ghajini is like Memento as Finding Nemo is about short-term memory loss, then it can have all the songs and drama as it likes. To me we are not even talking about Memento, then. Besides, there's more to Memento than just the background of short-term memory loss. It's the whole construct. The non-linear narrative technique used is completely justified and in sync with the background. And the lingering effect that the climax has on your psyche - the kind which wants you to watch the movie again...right away!

For now, let's hope the makers have done a little more research on short-term memory loss than they have on movies that have it as a backdrop. Anyway, in the same interview, Madhu says -

It's not a tale of violence. It's a tale of retribution. And at the moment after 26/11 everyone wants answers. Films about retribution are always liked.
Now, that may be the need of the hour, when cinema halls in cities are being avoided in the last few weeks. And the theaters seem all set to welcome Ghajini too. Read this fun bit about how the theaters are gearing up in response to the promotional efforts -
Mumbai actor Aamir Khan, whose hairstyle in the film "Ghajini" has been imitated by the ushers and employees of various multiplexes as part of a special promotional activity.
I'm assuming no-one was coerced into it.

The actor's physique, is the other marketing tool. 6-8-10-12-infinity pack abs. Who am I to complain about a good-looking male body on screen every 10th minute? Hey, 5th will do too. But, if I'm too distracted to notice/follow the story, only the makers are to blame. And I certainly hope that the distraction from story is not intentional, just so we don't notice the gaps. However, it has already earned some good karma by inspiring some of us to hit the gym and stay healthy!

Meanwhile, the blog-world however seems to have warmed up to the music. Some love lyricist Prasoon Joshi's work and some hate his guts, but almost all have enjoyed the music.

Hey, is there some hope of dark humor considering the URL chosen for the official site is 'remember ghajini'. Let's just cross our fingers and hope Ghajini will stay in our memory for longer than short-term...

- meeta, a part of the audience

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

41 reviewers(?) - 21 yays 14 so-so 6 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Lipika Varma, AOL INDIA : ...Ravi Chandran's cinematography is excellent and AR Rahman's music is top-notch.... full review

Thumbs up, by N K Deoshi, Apun Ka Choice : ...If you can digest an overdose of physical violence, then Ghajini is a film you shouldn’t miss... full review

Thumbs up, by Sanjay Ram, Business of Cinema : ...Intelligent, violent and packed with a freshness that Hindi cinema hasn't seen in a long time is what Ghajini offers.... full review

Thumbs up, by Deep, Deep's Home : ...Amir Khan was superb.. award winning performance.. Asin did not have much to do but she was good at whatever she did…... full review

Thumbs up, by Martin D'Souza, Glamsham.com : ...The action is slick, the fight sequences powerful, almost giving you a Jean Claude Van Damme impact.... full review

Thumbs up, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...Ghajini is an old-fashioned entertainer with a half-convincing plot, packed with enough gratuitous violence to qualify as a B-movie... full review

Thumbs up, india today : ...Imagine a South Indian movie made in Hong Kong by John Woo's disciples and you get close to the kind of mind-bending brutality unleashed in Ghajini.... full review

Thumbs up, by Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM : ...GHAJINI is not MEMENTO. There're minor similarities, but GHAJINI takes a completely different route to tell its story.... full review

Thumbs up, Indicine : ...Your first reaction after watching Ghajini is WOW What a movie!!... full review

Thumbs up, Movie Talkies : ...The film's USP is naturally Aamir Khan and quite deservedly so.... full review

Thumbs up, musicNmovies.info : ...After not so frutiful year, finally something fresh hits the screen to celebrate.... full review

Thumbs up, naachgaana.com : ...Aamir - very few dialogues and very intense expressions - one of his finest... full review

Thumbs up, by Nita Jatar Kulkarni, Now Running.com : ...Ghajini is a powerful movie, sucking you into the violent and disturbing world of a man terribly wronged... full review

Thumbs up, by Ashok Nayak, Now Running.com : ...the film has proved to be the biggest entertainer of the year... full review

Thumbs up, by Shruti Bhasin, Planet Bollywood : ...It’s not a surprise to say that Ghajini ends 2008 on a very high note. One of the best films of the year and not to be missed.... full review

Thumbs up, by Goher Iqbal Punn, Radio Sargam : ...The movie is surely a gift for Christmas and it will undoubtedly inject sugary pleasures in the audience's hearts... full review

Thumbs up, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...By now the whole world and their unborn children know Ghajini... full review

Thumbs up, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...Ravi K Chandran’s first-rate camerawork aids the storytelling. Editing is masterful and, though tad long, the film unfolds efficiently.... full review

Thumbs up, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ...Ghajini is a thoroughbred Bollywood film which celebrates the formula with panache. Enjoy the unadulterated desi!... full review

Thumbs up, ZEENEWS.COM : ...Ghajini, a revenge saga, has a riveting storyline but adding to the plot is powerful treatment, mind-blowing performances and superb music.... full review

So-So, by Anand Vaishnav, Buzz18 : ...This star driven, mega hyped action flick is an Aamir Khan vehicle from start to finish.... full review

So-So, fullhyd.com : ...most of the reason you enjoy Ghajini is how much you've been made to await for it... full review

So-So, indiainfo.com : ...The film is good in bits and pieces. There are several loopholes in the film and scenes that leave many questions unanswered.... full review

So-So, by Gaurav Malani, indiatimes : ...Sadly gimmicks like 8-pack abs or trimmed hairline can't cover up loopholes of a flawed script.... full review

So-So, by pandu, indihot : ...Ghajini's strength lies in its gripping screenplay.... full review

So-So, by Suda, Life Love and Logic : ...Nothing special in story, slow, some typical Hindi/South movie type incidents, overdose of Aamir Khan... full review

So-So, by Amit R Agarwal, merinews : ...Pradeep Rawat as the antagonist Ghajini makes his presence felt.... full review

So-So, by Sarita Tanwar, MiD DAY : ...Director AR Murugadoss has done the unthinkable.... full review

So-So, by Anupama Chopra, NDTV : ...For Aamir, Ghajini is a 360 degree turn from the sensitive teacher he played in Taare Zameen Par.... full review

So-So, by Arpana, Now Running.com : ...The film brings back the popular theme of the '80s and early '90s - revenge, romance, action and thrill with a nice touch of humour.... full review

So-So, by Phoenixnu, Passion for Cinema : ...i don’t remember a single song after it gets over….think it gels well with the concept of short term memory loss.... full review

So-So, by Jehan Handa, Passion for Cinema : ...The film will set new records and has the merits to emerge one of the biggest Hits of all times.... full review

So-So, by Raja Sen, Rediff : ...The film itself is impressive in bits, with some terrific sequences, but the romance takes away its thunder.... full review

So-So, Urge to Fly : ...The screenplay is full of glaring loopholes and scant regard for the audience's intelligence.... full review

Thumbs down, Hindustan Times : ...you’d like to give Ghajini a long-term memory loss... full review

Thumbs down, by Moksh Juneja, J.A.M : ...The villain was not at all menacing enough and took the protagonist and his illness too much for granted... full review

Thumbs down, by Mr. Inkenti, Mr. Inketis Weblog : ...There is no point running down a massala film by comparing it with an English one, however inspired.... full review

Thumbs down, by Subrat, Passion for Cinema : ...Ghajini had so many layers that you need to watch it a few times to make sense.... full review

Thumbs down, SearchIndia.com : ...When Aamir Khan gets angry in Ghajini, it’s with the ugly intensity of a neanderthal;... full review

Thumbs down, by The ThirdMan, Upper Stall : ...Overhyped, extremely loud and way, way overblown.... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

5 readers - 2 yays 2 so-so 1 nays

Not Interested in Watching, by where to get garcinia cambogia

Not Interested in Watching, by WP Profit Magnet

Want to Watch, by do my essay paper pdf free : Boa Vista

Yay! Thumbs Up, by beats

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Mercedes scan tool : 85

So-So, by Monster Beats : less

So-So, by theboard.thescottmiller.com

Nay! Thumbs Down, by reshma : unoriginal, south indian fight scenes with bollywood masala,

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Plot Summary

Sanjay Singhania (Aamir Khan) suffers from short-term memory loss and wants to avenge his beloved's (Asin's) death.

What Worked

  • Aamir Khan looks so young in the 2005-6 bits. His photograph in the diary actually looks like he's all set to break into 'papa kehte hai'
  • Parts of the choreography in 'bachoo'
  • The picturization of multiple Aamir Khans in the 'behka' song.

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • Is there only one Ghajini in this whole wide world!?
  • The medical lesson spoon-fed by an actual lecture!
  • The cut from "Wonder what he might be doing?" to showing what "he" was doing. Too sharp.
  • How come he remembers how to use his mobile but has to be reminded to take his shirt off? Does memory through repetition set in selectively?
  • The fast-forward style editing made the most serious scenes look comical.
  • The note on short-term memory loss, went by too fast for a slow-reader like me. Were they not sensitized with Taare Zameen Par? Or did the sensitivity slip out of there short-term memories?...Never mind!
  • Bad lip-synch in the 'bachoo' song.
  • The entire cliché of how a business tycoon is unaware of kindness in the 'real' world.
  • How does Ghajini know to come to the basement to look for his gang member?
  • No one cares about a missing police officer?
  • How does Jiah Khan get hold of those diaries, weren't they thrown around in the apartment?
  • Just can't remember where that 'blind man' scene is copied from. I know I saw it in I see you, but there's another original. Besides the plagiarizing, it wasn't done well, was too in the face!
  • How come a Mumbai-Goa train look like a Mumbai local train?

Nitty-Gritty

This section lists things that I think are not important to the overall impact of the movie. In most cases, it could be explained away by something like, "we noticed the glitch after the scene was shot and there were schedule/budget issues and thus we could not re-shoot it". I like giving the makers the benefit of doubt, but I am amused nevertheless. Hopefully, they will tickle you too.

Nittigritties

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 - Cast, crew, links

Supporting Cast:
Screenplay:
Dialogues:
Cinematography:
Editor:
Background Score:
Action Choreography:
Choreography:
Music Director:
Costume Designer:
Art Direction:
Running time:
185 minutes
Reviewer:
Language:
Country:

Comments (18)

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

@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.

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!

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

Good review

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...

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

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

I think i'll wait for the VCD

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.

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.

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

@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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