Harrow Observer, U.K exclusive by Devansh Patel
A hand clutches a Polaroid of a grisly murder, holding it for a long moment, before giving it an impatient shake... the way people do with Polaroids. But there's something odd about this shake. I have mentioned in many of my past reviews that cinema is a means of escapism but unfortunately after watching Ghajini, you want to escape the cinema hall to the near by chemist to have a dose of crocin or a combiflam. You cannot escape from the make belief world of films but are drawn into watching the most outdated and predictable world of some 1980's action thriller. I remember when Aamir Khan walked in the Juhu PVR after the first ever Press screening of the film, I grill him by saying - What if the film is a big disaster. The answer was - I guess I'll have to learn from my mistakes. Well, Mr Aamir Khan, it's time you do just that!
Writer - Director A.R. Murugadoss plays this weak Hindi remake of a South Indian classic Ghajini backwards to give us a clue of what's to come in the next three gruelling hours. Sanjay Singhania (Aamir Khan) wakes up in his room and can't remember how he got there. But we do. We can remember what happened fifteen minutes before. Singhania can't. He has a 'condition' in which he has a short-term memory. He somehow makes new memories. He can remember his lover Kalpana (Asin) being murdered and he can remember being conked on the head, the event that apparently caused his disorder. Now he must keep polaroids of everyone he meets and tattoos of everything he needs to remember on his 'eight pack' abs and 'popeye type' biceps. He is after Kalpana's killer, who he knows is called 'Ghajini'. Cut to a muscular cop wearing jeans above his waist is in search of Singhania who also happens to be a millionaire owner of India's numero uno mobile phone company. But the cop only comes to know this bitter truth after reading the 2005 diary which he finds in Singhania's house. It takes the cop in the flashback which shows how the Van Heusen clad Sanjay falls victim to Kalpana's lie, claiming him to be her lover boy. Sanjay fakes his identity and doesn't want Kalpana to know that he is a rich brat. For her, he is Sachin, a struggler in the ad-mad world. 'Aye Bachchu' and 'Behka' follow. Asin and Aamir sing. What is the cop doing? I wonder. The story continues. More plots, more polaroid pics, more blood shed, more deaths, more viloence and more unnecessary screaming with no justification. Short term memory can make you forget things, but you can speak Aamir! Why don't you read your own diaries in first place? Why leave it for the cop and a medical student to figure who you are?
The somewhat decent first half make you wonder what kind of suspense lies in the second. For an action thriller, the 'thrill' element is lacking. There is no suspense at all. It is too predictable. Though some movies are, but after hearing that Aamir Khan had changed the last thirty minutes of the film after not being happy with the final product make you want to sit on the edge of your seat and patiently wait for the unseen. How many times have we seen the same kind of revenge stories being churned out of Indian cinema's? What makes Ghajini different is the tattoos and the eight pack abs, and ofcourse, the cult hair cut of Aamir. At least that deserves a five star!
A.R. Murugadoss fails to create an atmosphere for Ghajini. Rather he creates a desperate approach to one man's personal hell. All the action sequences look to be a lift off from the south. Agreed, the director is a south indian genius but when one tries to tap into the Bollywood market, it's an all together a new ball game. Ghajini is not a masterpiece but the master himself has fallen to pieces after making this one. Aamir Khan's acting looked forced and become frustrating after a while. It certainly isn't a break-through performance from a perfectionist. The era of a perfectionist ends with Ghajini. At one point the film puts you in the same state as Sanjay Singhania. You too suffer from a short term memory loss. But seeing the 'pachar pachar' Asin, your memory comes back to normal. You want to see her more than anything else in the film. She is the reason why I could prolong my memory.
Ghajini is provocative entertainment, bold enough to challenge it's audiences, but it also suffers from the lousiest anticlimax to dither across screens in recent memory. But for all its formal wizardry, Ghajini is ultimately an ice-cold feat of intellectual gamesmanship. Once the visceral thrill of the puzzle structure begins to wear off, there's nothing left to hang onto. The film itself begins to fade. The music is again a let down except 'Guzarish' and so is the editing. Too daft.
The movie operates in a manner that reveals little details to us a piece at a time, almost as if the filmmaker want us to treat it like a giant jigsaw puzzle. The big difference here, however, is that we're trying to assemble it without the edges; in the reality that Singhania has become trapped in, nothing is certain and nothing precise. It's impossible for either side to see where this journey is heading, if the majority of his collected 'polaroid facts' are simply misconceptions brought on by his disorder or manipulated by outside forces, who freely use his problem to their self-fulfilling advantage. Can we even be sure that Sanjay Singhania kills the right man Ghajini? And did I mention Jiah Khan's character in this review? I'll tell you in fifteen minutes.
Watch the Indian hulk Aamir take over the southern fried chickens. A true christmas delicacy this year!