Vantage point

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Film Review: Ghajini

First of all, I am not going to compare this movie to Memento. Expecting any movie to live up to those standards is unrealistic. Plus, the whole short-term-memory-loss was not what made Memento special. Even that chick flick Fifty First Dates had that angle. Memento is amazing for other reasons which can probably be best enumerated in another post. So back to Ghajini.

The biggest sore point for me at the end of the movie was that the whole memory loss bit was almost peripheral to the plot, if not irrelevant. Seems almost like a publicity gimmick. Take it away and the basic story of the film stays the same. And the basic story is one that has been rehashed a million times in Bollywood - rich nice boy falls in love with virtuous poor girl, and just as they are headed into a blissful life, a bad guy intervenes, does evil things (and maybe kills girl). Bad guy is punished and revenge is taken. The end. Yawn!

Nothing wrong with rehashing old formulas. It can still be done cleverly and cutely to produce a watchable and enjoyable film. Case in point - Jab We Met. But here, even the execution of the hackneyed formula is unconvincing. Maybe it is the fault of the script, screenplay, performances, or all of the above, but there is no chemistry, spark or romance between the leading couple. They seem like platonic friends..... or even siblings. Why does Kalpana love Sanjay/Sachin? And why does Sanjay love Kalpana.... I can understand him wanting to nominate her to succeed Mother Teresa, but love? Bleh. The whole movie can be re-written with his sister being the one who is murdered, and the import would remain the same.

Then there is Aamir's performance. Even by his standards, which I think are over-hyped and overrated, this performance is barely average. Just does not convincingly convey the learn-forget-struggle-relearn routine that someone with that affliction might. In the post-trauma scenes, he just does angry, more angry and some times baffled. Suneil Shetty or Sunny Deol have done that enough times in the past for us to know it is not tough. He might as well have yelled "Balwantrai ke kutton" a few times. Pre-trauma, he is his usual impish chocolate-boy lover self seen right from Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak to Fanaa. No nuance, no layers, nothing new. As someone who has trouble losing weight, I give him full credit for working hard for his ripped body and 8-pack abs. But that's about it. To all those who are saying Aamir is the saving grace in Ghajini, I say (with a tilted head) really???

As far as Asin is concerned.... it's not that she is shrill or annoying or too-cute-by-half. Maybe the character requires her to be all that. It's just that she seems so assembly-line-ish and commonplace. I can't, for the world of me, imagine why she might succeed in Bollywood as opposed to standard cutesies like Neha, Amrita Rao and suchlike.

The only saving grace of the film is its soundtrack, especially the Guzarish song which I am in love with.