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Review: Ghajini

movie-reviews Updated: Dec 27, 2008 10:04 IST
Khaled Mohamed
Khaled Mohamed
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

Ghajini
Cast: Aamir Khan, Asin, Hammers, Water Taps, Ketchup
Direction: A R Murugadoss
Rating: **

Zip, zap. Hold on to your cap, a rusted water tap is about to be plunged deep into a lap. And whoa, the ear-deafening back-grind music breaks into reggae-`n’-rap. Nope, no bodily part is safe out here, you’re brain-bashed till you feel like a pumpkin. Smashed.

Welcome to Blood Nagram or Ghajini, re-directed by AR Murugadoss from his Tamil hit which was borrowed from Memento. Never mind. Snag: this LOUD (how the Dolby speakers quaked), far-fetched and predictable three-hour vendetta marathon is dignified by the omnipresence of Aamir Khan.

Investigations indicate that he went through the method route of building a Stallone-body. So what if that suits him as much as crushed dupattas would suit Sunny Deol or Sanjay Dutt? Still, Khan is the best element on display even if you have to suspend your sense of disbelief as he punches the world’s heftiest bozos into pineapple crush. Fresh.

Over,then, to the extra-muscular cell phone entrepreneur Sanjay Singhania (Khan in rolled up sleeves even in boardrooms). Frequently, the screenplay leaves you mystified about what the heaven or hell is going on and yawn. A medical college professor (Anjum Rajaballi who screen writes on better-pen days) talks solemnly. Prof knows all about the Muscular Man Freak Case who was hit with a 100 kilo-iron rod, became a pod and now suffers from short-term memory loss. Seriously.

A 15-minute attention span is cited for some reason. Medical treason? Anyway (lots of anyways here), Professor has Pod’s entire file, phone number, height, skyscraper address but whenever something murderous happens, everyone from ineffectual cops to baddies about as menacing as panda bears, look for clues to our Poddy’s whereabouts. Huh duh, that sort of stuff.

Super Bad Panda (Pradeep Rawat), flashing a gold tooth, is actually named Ghajini. Even dear Gabbar wasn’t accorded a title of his own. Note please: Fizzy Book of Records. Super Bad Panda hangs around a rather grungy factory, is surrounded by toughies from all faiths (there’s an African too for the overseas market), and has this fetish about a scary hammering object which makes you want to rush into the nearest aunty’s arms. Meanwhile, diary after diary is being read first by a cop (Also Muscular) and then by a med student (Jiah Khan, lovely lips). The diaries actually read like a biography, starting from I-am-so-and-so-and-my-dad-passed-away, and is written in different slants and shapes of the Hindi language. Kool.

Next: Flashbacks show plenty of footage of a smalltime ad model (Asin), who gave a hoax interview to a gossip journalist (press, always blamed!). And then somehow, she had started interacting with Pod Singhania in his happier, gazillionaire days. She had the knack of rescuing kids in distress. Pod loved her, she loved him. Gasp: then Ghajini the Gabbar got her head-whacked and Pod skull smashed. Pod survived, flaunted above-the-belt tattoos (incidentally they are smudged later), and is now looking for badla, badla, badla. Jalaakar raakh kar doonga anyone? Help.

Anyway (warned you) on the tech-front, the editing opts for flashy gimmicks and turvy topsy angles associated with the Tamil-Telugu potboilers of yore. AR Rahman’s music is remarkable essentially for the track Guzarish. Lyricist Prasoon Joshi’s lyrics have to be heard to be disbelieved. And Ravi K Chandran’s cinematography ranges from the fluid to the plain cheddar.

Surely, this is the wrong film at the wrong time. Do you need to see so much gore splatter, savagery and base instincts? Also, if the director has paid any attention to details, that escapes you completely. Ever seen unmasked photos of minor kids being rescued from the flesh trade in the newspapers?

On the acting front, Jiah Khan’s role is sketchy. And why was her dance piece – something about a spinning lattoo – reduced to ribbons? Asin makes a confident debut and is especially impressive in a Wait Until Dark - kind of sequence in which she is terrorised. Aamir Khan is good, as he always is but it’s certainly not his most unforgettable performance yet.

In fact, you’d like to give Ghajini a long-term memory loss. Kya, kyon, kahan? Murugadoss.? Aamir? Asin? Who? Got to jog my memory ..maybe after 15 minutes.