February issue 2009

By | Arts & Culture | Movies | Published 15 years ago

Ghajini, a highly publicised film, finally opened at theatres across Pakistan. The print and electronic media has been running stories about Aamir Khan’s new look, his well-toned body courtesy his fitness regimen that many fans now want to emulate, the injuries he suffered while filming the action-packed thriller and Khan’s own blog revealing how nervous he was about the reaction from audiences.

Khan need not worry — Ghajini opened to packed houses and is still going strong at the box office. So far, it has broken all recent records that films like Om Shanti Om and Singh is Kinng set, earning Rs 2 billion in its initial two weeks. In fact, in the domestic market alone, the film has grossed Rs 1.62 million, leaving behind the super-duper hit Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge.

An adaption of the cult favourite Memento, Ghajini (and also a remake of its Tamil namesake) borrows its central theme: that of a man suffering from short-term memory loss who is out to avenge the murder of his fiancé. For all those Memento fans who think it’s sacrilegious to adapt the movie, it must be clarified that this is where the similarities end. The plot is nothing like Memento’s and neither does the story proceed in reverse chronological order. The only similarities are the memory loss of the protagonist and how he uses Polaroid pictures, notes and tattoos to recall his past.

Sanjay Singhania (Aamir Khan) is a business tycoon who falls in love with a model, Kalpana (Asin Thottumkal), who is struggling to make it big. What follows is a simple and heartfelt love story. Kalpana, who is also an activist and a believer in doing the right thing, happens to be in the wrong place at the wrong time and is brutally murdered. Sanjay, trying to save her life, suffers a blow to the head because of which he cannot remember anything for more than 15 minutes. In order to avenge Kalpana’s death, he starts to make notes, take pictures and systematically tracks down the people responsible for Kalpana’s death. The main suspect in all this is a notable socialite Ghajini.

Kudos must be given to the writer and director A.R. Murugadoss, for creating such a high-impact film, where surprisingly every scene is relevant and doesn’t drag endlessly — except for maybe the last 10 minutes. But all is forgiven, given the film’s brilliant performances, perfect casting, direction, cinematography and a stellar soundtrack by A.R. Rehman, the winner of the 2008 Golden Globe award for best original composer, forSlumdog Millionaire. Asin, who marks her debut in Bollywood with this blockbuster, stands her own ground and is not overshadowed by Aamir Khan’s intense performance.
Although Ghajini has the familiar story of revenge, murder and intrigue, common to many Bollywood flicks, it is a movie of substance. And going by the number of records it has broken thus far, it can safely be assumed that the movie has struck a chord with audiences.