Cast: Pradeep Rawat, Asin Thottumkal, Khalid Siddique, Aamir Khan, Jiah Khan
Director: AR Murugadoss
Producer: Allu Arvind, Madhu Varma
If you can digest an overdose of physical violence, then Ghajini is a film you shouldn’t miss for Aamir Khan’s unforgettable performance.
It’s been years since I saw a Hindi film that had so few dialogues for the leading man. Quite unlikely for a masala movie about romance and revenge! Stoically, Aamir Khan walks and rips through the film with the charm of a Casanova and the beastliness of a vengeful man, and delivers a performance that will be remembered even though the movie itself may be forgotten after a few months. ‘Ghajini’
is a film that ought to be seen for the sheer novelty of its theme. Inspired – and to some extent, lifted – from Hollywood’s ‘Memento’, it tells the story of a man who can’t remember anything beyond 15 minutes. He suffers from short term memory loss. But somehow he has found ways to remind himself of just one thing – that he has to find and kill the man whose name his murdered lover ( Asin ) whispered in his ear just moments before he too was hit on the head with an iron rod, never to fully recover his memory again. So, through tattoos and polaroids and notes he keeps reminding himself of just one aim – to find Ghajini, the killer whose face and whereabouts he neither knows, nor can remember.
As our amnesiac hero, Sanjay Singhania (Aamir), closes in on Ghajini and goes about bumping off one bad guy after another, we are given repeated flashbacks into his past life, when he fell in love with a struggling model Kalpana (Asin), an Indianized version of the French ‘Amelie’ who helps the poor and needy on the streets. It is this very quality of Kalpana that makes her the target of a gangster, who hunts her down and kills her.
Now, Sanjay, with his limited memory and eight pack abs, lives for one purpose – revenge. He is like a loose canon, a self-propelled torpedo that keeps veering off the course and leaves behind a trail of broken bones, wrung necks and pummeled jaws wherever he passes through.
And oh! I almost forgot. There’s also Sunita ( Jiah Khan ), a medical student interested in the case study of our amnesiac hero. She’s a frail collegian who hinders and helps Sanjay in his mission.
Director A.R. Murugadoss tells a long story at a brisk pace and shows no frugality in depicting violence in all its goriness. It is blood curdling stuff gruesomely glorified. Stuff that gives you the heebie-jeebies! It’s mostly hand-to-hand combat with frequent use of iron rods that serve the sole purpose as skull-crushers. Repulsive!
But if you have stomach for such revolting violence, you would enjoy sitting through ‘Ghajini’ for many reasons. First, it’s unique plot. Second, Aamir’s mind-blowing acting. Third, Asin’s confident debut in a heart-winning performance. Jiah Khan is appropriately cast in a role that doesn’t demand much from her. Pradeep Rawat, as the antagonist, is menacing.
There is a gaping hole that yawns right at the very base of Ghajini’s story. If a man can’t remember that his lover was killed or who killed her, why does he need to remind himself again and again to take revenge. Wouldn’t his vengeance wane away with his memory? Murugadoss should have established some internal link that keeps pushing the protagonist back to his mission – something like sporadic dreams or memory flashes.
Anyway, realism is something you shouldn’t expect from ‘Ghajini’. It’s a full-on masala film that is stylishly shot and has above average music by A R Rahman . It’s a film that needs to be enjoyed with mouthful of cola and fistful of popcorns even though the no-holds-barred violence keeps getting on your nerves. Despite its long duration of three-plus hours, the movie, with its quick pace, doesn’t weigh heavy, and leaves you with a mind out of time. Anterograde Amnesia, anyone?