“Ghajini” is a fascinating study of the darkest and the noblest recesses of the human mind, a monument to ultra-violence, a gripping action thriller with characters so beautifully etched that you end up caring for the protagonists and what happens to them. Deservedly the top grosser of 2008.
I wish I could have said this for ‘Ghajini’ if only because I greatly admire Aamir Khan, his acting methods, his meticulous attention to detail and his association with “different” non-formulaic commercially risky movies like 2007’s brilliant “Taare Zamein Par”.
But I just cannot.
Unless of course you hit me on the head with a rusty rod.
So here’s what I feel. Truly.
Ghajini is aweful.
Why? It’s difficult to know where to start.
Should I start with the “prince-who-pretends-to-be-pauper meets saccharinely-sweet-hearted matchstick girl” fairy tale that drags on for hours?
Or would a discussion of Aamir Khan bellowing like Sunny Deol as if his gonads were stuck together with crazy glue and his head moving fast from side to side from some bizarre reason be more appropriate?
Alternatively should I talk about Asin, the Latin root of the English word “asinine” whose hyper-animated innocent girl routine was so grating that I was cheering on Ghajini and his sledgehammer to put me out my misery?
Or should the blame lie with the Murga’s direction and his ability to reduce Aamir Khan to his “Daulat ki Jung” inga-bonga days? [A glimpse of this classic may be seen here.]
Forget anything classic or unique. I understand that Aamir Khan is not obliged to be different in his choice of movies and has the full liberty to go “full commercial”.
But even by the standards of a pure revenge drama, Ghajini fails.
For me that is. [I add the “for me” as it is very plainly a superhit].
Try as I might, I failed to find even one truly great scene of unapologetic adrenaline-pumping hyperdrama, nothing even close to Sunny Deol thundering bluster while holding the bars of his jail or Shahrukh Khan, blood oozing from his quivering lips and with blood-shot eyes shouting Madannnnnnnnnn Choppprrraaaaa before performing the first male-male full penetration act ever seen in Hindi cinema. And no there is not even anything close to Suniel Shetty when he says something on the lines of “Main tab tak naheen maarta jab tak mera dushman mujhe maar maar ke thaak naheen jaate” a philosophy that Venkatesh Prasad adopted to get his wickets—-Jayasuriya would get out to him after his hands started hurting from bashing Prasad black and blue.
Instead of such healthy goodness, “Ghajini” has boredom and predictability. As I watched the movie, my mind kept wandering —never a good thing during a fast-paced action movie. What if Sanjay Singhania’s new name after being struck on the head becomes Teelu and his doctor’s name happens to be Prem Khurana “is dhande main bahoot purana” like in “Andaaz Apna Apna”? Why does Ghajini not channel Teja and say “Main Ghajini hoon kyon ki mera naam Ghajini hain”? Is Aamir Khan the first billionaire MBA from Harvard who wears suits with short sleeves ? Did Sanjay Singhania write down the lyrics and tune of each song he sang in his diaries—the ones that the police and the most jobless medical student in history (Jiah Khan) read? Does memory-lost Sanjay tattoo “remember to change underwear” on his body?
So many questions. So few answers.
And most importantly why oh why did Ghajini keep reminding me of a poor man’s Gunda? Was it the villain Ghajini shaking the head of his dead associate with a “Naam bata uska” in the style of “Marne ka naheen Kundan” ? Or was it when Ghajini says “Usne mere maut ke tareeq tay kiya hain na, main iska maut ka time deke rakhta hoon” that reminded me of “Maine iske maut ka date fix kar dee haaaain” ?
I don’t know really. Maybe it was all of them.
But what I do know was that “aise marenge ki uska nakhun bhi nahi milega” was a most ho-hum “bad-ass” dialogue especially compared to the gold standard “Hum tujhe kisi dhandewaali ki us jaga ki kori chamri ki tarah bana denge jo phatke kha kha-ke kali ho jaati hain, har mooh pe ma behen ki gaali ban jaati hain.”
That’s essentially the problem. In order for an action masala movie to work, there must be memorable moments, epic villains, great set-pieces. They don’t have to be subtle or believable. Only larger than life. The type of things you still recount with fondness fifteen years hence, not because they were amazing pieces of film-making but because they were awesomely fun.
Ghajini in the midst of its rapid camera action, airborne bodies, angry “subaah mirchi ka achaar khaya” eight-pack Aamir Khan and Asin’s (whom Indian Express describes as “nicely curved and rounded”) chulbuli “Jab We Met” act misses that vital ingredient—-the ability to imprint itself in a positive way on our memories.
To make us remember.
A totally forgettable experience.