Bollywood and culture in an emerging India
Ghajini: Aamir’s most commercial film yet
This is a first. Aamir Khan has gone the Shah Rukh Khan and Akshay Kumar way — the actor in him has given way to the star. He’s finally starred in a film that totally rides on his star power and as you discover once you’ve watched “Ghajini”, it’s not such a bad thing after all.
Khan plays Sanjay Singhania, a telecom tycoon, who we are told suffers from short-term memory loss. Singhania’s memory is wiped clean after every 15 minutes and to keep himself updated with his life, he has to continuously take pictures of his surroundings, write notes to himself and tattoo important facts on his torso.
All these important facts pertain to his one aim — killing the man who murdered the love of his life. The story moves back and forth, narrating Sanjay’s gradual revenge as well as the events that led up to it.
As it turns out, Sanjay was an ordinary man, albeit a rich one. He falls in love with upcoming model Kalpana (Asin), but doesn’t reveal his background. Director A. R. Murugadoss takes too much time setting up their romance and dwelling on it. In between, there are some melodious songs by A.R. Rahman that involve the lead pair cavorting around random sand dunes and declaring their undying love for each other. The romance track doesn’t add any value to the film; rather it just slackens the pace.
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The actual plot, about Sanjay taking revenge, comes alive only midway through the second half.
Director Murugadoss had a choice here — he could have made a masala Hindi film, with all the trappings of song-and-dance and drama, or he could have made a slick, taut action thriller. He chooses to go for the former, and to be fair, does a pretty decent job. I do wish he had paid more attention to developing Sanjay’s character, because it does lend itself to some very interesting interpretations. For instance, I would have loved to see how he develops from a suave tycoon to a crazed revenge-seeking beefcake. The “eight-packs” are mere external reflections of what should have been a more defined track in the film.
Both the lead heroines really need to work on their accents, but otherwise do an adequate job. Not that they are expected to do any more. Because ultimately, “Ghajini” is an Aamir Khan film through and through. Whether you like it or you don’t, the credit or the blame must go to him and him alone. As the revenge obsessed lover, or the amnesiac, he is brilliant. As the shy boyfriend, he is his old self — from “Dil” and “Ishq”. The only place you cringe is when he sports a Mohawk haircut and crazy-looking clothes in a song sequence. The fight sequences aren’t very imaginative, nor are the dialogues.
Watch “Ghajini” if you are an Aamir fan, or even if you are looking for some light-hearted entertainment. Don’t expect a typical Aamir Khan film though and you won’t be disappointed.