Directed by: A.R. Murugadoss
Starring: Aamir Khan, Asin
Verdict: destroy every copy – horrible – bad – whatever – flawed but enjoyable - good – great – amazing
Once I finished this film I was not sure if I should feel guilty, because I thought it was actually quite good, but had only read negative comments so far. Maybe low expectation and the fact I have not seen Memento (of which this is a remake) helped, I don´t really know, but yes, I enjoyed the movie, except for the sugary ending.
But first things first. A rather nosy medicine student girl makes us aware of an existence of certain Sanjay Singhania (Aamir). He has a really cool macho hairstyle (caused by circumstances) and rather rare kind of amnesia – he is incapable of remembering anything for more than 15 minutes. The question naturally arises in everybody´s mind – how can such a person live – and that alone as he does? What keeps him going? Sanjay himself is painfully reminded of this everyday – revenge. Using elaborate system of paper notes, photo notes, map notes and not to forget body notes (from „Kalpana was killed“ spread proudly over his muscular chest to „take camera“ on his toe) he lives from fifteen minutes to another fifteen minutes, having nothing but the sense of pure hate for somebody named Ghajini. He knows he wants to kill this person (and few others). The problem is he has no idea who he is – or why exactly.....
|Damn. I need a new tattoo so I´ll remember to buy toilet paper,|
Through another nosy person – a policemen investigating one of the murders Sanjay has already committed, we are introduced to that reason, when he enters his flat without invitation, beats him up and reads his old diary (before Sanjay regains consciousness, chases him out of his flat and right under the wheels of a bus that is).
Once upon a time Sanjay Singhania was a successful businessman and Kalpana (Asin) was a good-hearted girl working as a junior artist in B-grade TV ads. They probably would have never crossed paths if Kalpana, to make herself interesting and seeing all the advances that it offers, starts spreading rumours about having an affair with him and their wedding being imminent. The news spreads like fire and becomes the talk of the town – and naturally reaches to respectable suited up Sanjay, who immediately decides to go and meet the girl whom he´s supposedly marrying. When they come face to face he is basically charmed off his pants, and eager to get to know the girl closer he gives her a false name and identity. And while he´s trying to figure out how to tell her he lied to her without risking loosing her love, Kalpana gets involved in a rather ugly matter of girl trade run by somebody named Ghajini. Who exactly Ghajini is, how big he is or what he does that makes him so powerful is never really explained, but you are given the idea when police covers up for him and his dark deeds. And Kalpana is soon going to suffer a sad fate of those who cross his path.
|Today we offer you...|
|...three for the price of one!|
The film is centered on and around Aamir in both timelines (present and past), with the rest of the cast being just shadowy figures, the way the character himself probably sees them. Except for Asin as Kalpana, who stands up greatly to both Aamir´s screen presence and talent, and fills the „past“ line with freshness and charm. As much as I have failed to see her appeal in Ready, where she was unforgivably wasted by a different Khan, that much I loved her here. In some of the scenes she actually reminded me a lot of another southern star Sridevi with her looks and cute expressions with slightly bulging eyes while quickly speaking. Kalpana, in spite of the first impression I had of her (silly, silly attention seeker) turned out to be actually very likeable and provided the only light and bright moments in such a dark film.
The „present“ time was considerably violent, sometimes perhaps unnecessarily so. Lingering on the details of Kalpana´s death was, I guess, meant to bring tears to my eyes, but the way it was presented actually made me sick and not teary. Aamir for once lets go of his boring subduedness (is that even a word?) and does well as a cute loverboy, but is excellent in his a half-mad, plotting and suffering avatar. His scenes did give me chills.
|I wanted Chinese. You sent me Thai.|
Music by Rahman failed to impress though, it wasn´t a disaster either. The play of colours used by cinematographer was interesting. While the „past“ was filled with colours reminding me a lot of Yashraj films, the „present“ was happening mostly in the night or in the darkness of Sanjay´s flat, where sun apparently has no place. The ending returns to vibrant colours and romance, but by that point I was disappointed with the climax, and I strongly felt that they should have let Sanjay die. Ghajini is basically a masalla, because it contains everything from comedy, romance to action and thriller, all in reasonably balanced doses. Just maybe the vial filled with violence slipped out of the cook´s hand and we got to see a lot more of it than most of us could digest.