Friday, 26 December 2008

Ghajini

A faltering tale of revenge...

Sanjay Singhania (Aamir Khan) is a wealthy business man who falls in love with Kalpana (Asin Thottumkal), an up-and-coming model who's popularity is due to her relationship with Sanjay. But during their courtship disaster strikes when Asin is killed and Sanjay is left with serious brain damage which results in him having short term memory loss, and this makes his revenge a difficult task.

Regardless of what Aamir Khan might profess there is no denying that Ghajini is a remake of Memento, though it is more accurately a remake of a Tamil film by the same name which itself is a remake of Christopher Nolan's masterpiece. The similarities are obvious, from the protagonist's condition of short term memory loss, him searching for his lover's killer, the use of photographs and tattoos to help him remember, amongst others. That said it does attempt to tell its story in a different, more logical, way and this works exceptionally well. The film is divided between the modern day and past, both representing the stories of revenge and romance respectively, and for the majority of the film both do work in unison.

The revenge story is presented well enough but is marred in a few ways. Firstly there are elements which are used to deepen the story but are actually unneeded in the greater scheme of things. Then there are the few questionable dialogue choices which come off as out of place. Lastly the film seems to lose track of its own internal logic. In the final arc of the story, Sanjay's short term memory loss, which occurs every fifteen minutes, is thrown out the window for a good period of time until it's needed for a very contrived introduction into the final duel. Sanjay also develops superhuman-like strength out of completely nowhere resulting in him mowing down man after man with no injury becoming him in any form. It's a strange arc indeed for the film, and for a short while catapults the film out of its reality to some fantasy. That said, the love story is truly excellent. It starts off childish and ruins the mature storytelling of the revenge storyline but once in full swing, the romance becomes more interesting and exciting to watch than any other aspect of the film. Thankfully it is the romance section which ends off the film and it is an amazing ending and truly cements the story's example of undying love, and allows the odd lapse of logic which occurs mere minutes before, to appear as a distant memory.

But as a remake it becomes disheartening to see Aamir Khan use his method acting skills because they ultimately develop into nothing out of the ordinary. This is mainly due to the fact that his skills of method acting are not being used to allow himself to become an original character to make the film more poignant, but because he is developing himself into a persona which has been used before. Nonetheless, Aamir is a wonder to watch and he becomes the perfect example as to why the romance story is superior to that of the revenge. When Aamir's character falls in love with Asin's, it is quite evident. The chemistry they share is a highpoint with both complimenting one another. Asin's Bollywood debut is helped by her work in the Tamil movie industry and she is delightful to watch. Her portrayal as the bubbly, happy-go-lucky Kaplana mimics Kajol's Angali in Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham. Though when Khan portrays his present self, he tends to overact and makes his character far more untamed then he ought to be, even making animal growls at one point. Pradeep Rawat continues his experience at playing villains with a character who truly is without a heart. However he does not receive enough screen time and this is partly to do with the portrayal of Jiah Khan's character Sunita. Sunita is a medical student who is interested in Sanjya's condition. However she is completely irrelevant to the main storyline but her character is forced with integral scenes nonetheless, at some points mimicking Kalpana, not in character but in situational context. While this is a good way to create symbolism, Sunita is far too irritating, and distorts what should be a story about fated lovers and a villain. On top of this, Jiah is not a convincing actress and is out of league in a cast of who know what they have to do.

Other disappointing avenues of the film are the musical and action sequences. The music is not exactly the most memorable but does a decent enough job. However there is one too many sequences and they go to flaw the film. In many respects Ghajini should have most likely gone the route of Sarkar Raj and skipped adding music to the production. Yes this might lower the audience intake but would have helped make the film a cohesive package. Action sequences are sadly misfit at times. This is not because they are bad, but because the director, A.R Murugadoss, makes the scenes and the film as a whole, feel far too much like a Tamil film. Tamil films have their own unique feel to them but it is arguable whether this feel is worthwhile. The action sequences in Ghajini are actually very good if it were not for the constant need to slow the fights down by a few frames. This artistic design does not make the fights any better but in fact make them less dynamic, less aggressive, and ultimately less fun to watch.

There is no sex or nudity and language goes by virtually unheard. Violence is not particularly bloody but is quite intense at times.

Ghajini is a film of many things but it fails to reach its potential of being a truly excellent title. The story has some inconsistencies even though it tells an amazing tale of love and revenge. The acting is likewise very good, but some performances damper the whole affair. Sadly the music lets the film down and the questionable action sequences don't help either. Ghajini will not be the best Aamir Khan film you'll ever see and is definitely not the best Bollywood film for the year, but it is a treat to watch, even if only for the romance.

7/10

Screen date: 24 December 2008
Release date: 26 December 2008

3 comments:

Drivenby said...

How does it compare to Memento? . I'm a huge fan of that film , one of my favorites. BTW , have you watched Jacob's Ladder?.

CruizD said...

I think Memento is a more subtle film whereas Ghajini, like typical Bollywood, is far more expressive, or perhaps exaggerated to some degree.

Though Ghajni is a worthwhile watch nonetheless, especially if you enjoyed Memento.

Jacob's Ladder? I've heard of it but never had the chance to watch it.

Drivenby said...

There's a PC game coming!?

Holy crap

http://ghajini.fxlabs.com/trailer1.html