wogma rating: Watch, but no rush (?)
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.Read more
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!
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!
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
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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
Sanjay Singhania (Aamir Khan) suffers from short-term memory loss and wants to avenge his beloved's (Asin's) death.