The wait is finally over! An Aamir Khan film is nothing short of an event. The supremely talented actor acts in just one film a year and no two films are ever identical in terms of plotline. No wonder audiences await an Aamir starrer with bated breath.

Ghajini, the Tamil version, was a massive hit as was its dubbed Telugu version. Will the Hindi adaptation live up to the humungous expectations? The hype is unmatched and you expect no less than a present-day masterpiece. Yes, Ghajini demonstrates how strong film-making can enhance and elevate an already solid concept.

Ghajini is a revenge saga, one ingredient that has been the staple diet of Indian films since time immemorial. It is a powerful film with the power to sweep you off your feet from the word ‘go’. Its riveting story has been told with flourish by director A.R. Murugadoss. And, of course, it has a knockout performance by Aamir Khan. If at all there’s a shred of doubt whether Aamir is The Best in the business, all you’ve got to do is check out Ghajini.

Any flaws – running time [almost 3 hours]? Not at all! There’s so much happening in every scene, the screenplay is so gripping, you don’t feel the need to frequently look at the auditorium ceiling or at your watch because time flies and you aren’t restless. As moviegoers, we’ve watched countless good vs. evil plots over the years and although Ghajini belongs to the same genre, not once does it take the beaten track. The story has been told differently and most importantly, the story offers so many twists-n-turns that you just can’t guess what would unfold next.

Is it violent? It is, at times, but the violence here is justified. In fact, every time the protagonist bashes up the evil-doers, you clap and root for him. The climax is jaw-dropping – dissimilar from the original, but it’s an out-of-the-world experience nonetheless.

To sum up, Ghajini is commercial Hindi cinema at its best. The film has ‘Hit’ written all over it. Let me put it this way: Cancel whatever you’re doing today and go watch Ghajini instead.

The plot? Aamir Khan is suffering from acute short-term memory loss set off by being brutally beaten and witnessing the violent murder of his girlfriend Asin. Any events and information over 15 minutes old is deleted from his memory, but he vividly and clearly recalls what happened till the moment he witnesses Asin’s murder. He’s got to work around this handicap, but with methodical and meticulous determination. Aamir etches a path of clues that lead him on his path of revenge.

To overcome his memory loss, he carries around a sheaf of Polaroids and when he is really sure of a piece of information, he has it tattooed on his body, which stands in for the damaged part of his mind. His indelibly marked torso is the repository of his grief, his rage and his reason to go on living.

Any more revelation would do gross injustice to the film and its viewers.

First things first! Ghajini is not Memento. There’re minor similarities, but Ghajini takes a completely different route to tell its story. Director A.R. Murugadoss tells this one differently. It starts off with what happens in the past, comes to the present-day, goes back in time again and returns to the contemporary again. This is a breathless, exciting story, heart-breaking and exhilarating at the same time.

Hindi movies have often depicted people suffering from amnesia/ memory loss, but Ghajini is poles apart because the protagonist recalls events only for 15 minutes. The story is its USP, without a doubt. But what adds sheen and glory to the story is Aamir’s portrayal of a man suffering from such short-term memory loss. Aamir hardly speaks. In fact, the leading lady [Asin] speaks more than Aamir in the film. But Aamir speaks volumes with his eyes, he conveys whatever has to be conveyed through his body language, he says it all with his facial expressions and that only makes Ghajini a memorable, never-seen-before experience.

Director A.R. Murugadoss deserves brownie points for not just coming up with an interesting story, but also presenting it [refreshingly] differently. The storyteller balances the light moments and the ones demanding intensity with expertise. There’s dum in every sequence. Even if the director has to depict violence, he doesn’t resort to blood-n-gore or knives-swords-pistols for effect.

A.R. Rahman’s music is top-notch. At least three numbers have the unmistakable stamp of a genius –  ‘Guzarish’, ‘Behka’ and ‘Kaise Mujhe’. Ravi K. Chandran’s cinematography is stunning. The film bears a stylish look all through. The action sequences are brilliantly executed. Hindi moviegoers haven’t seen such scenes ever.

Aamir delivers his career’s best performance. In the first place, it requires courage and maturity to name the film after the villain. Knowing how egoistic our stars are, something like this is next to impossible in Hindi films.

A lot has been said and written about the Ghajini look – Aamir’s hairstyle and his dream physique. It’s awe-inspiring; if more people adopt the ‘Aamir look’ or hit the gym, it would be courtesy the actor. As far as his acting is concerned, he’s natural as the tycoon, but like a wounded, ferocious tiger when he goes on an avenging spree.
Without doubt, it’s a concentrated, layered performance. He acts with his entire being. His body movement, the details of his performance, everything rings true. He is both vulnerable and hard. The pain in his face when he can’t remember is palpable. It’s not only the plot that carries Ghajini. It’s also the mood and the expression on Aamir’s face that makes Ghajini a treat.

Asin is fabulous. To share screen space with an actor of the stature of Aamir Khan and yet remain in your memory even after the show has ended is no cakewalk. She looks fresh and photogenic and acts her part brilliantly. Pradeep Rawat, the villain, is first-rate. Jiah Khan impresses, especially in the sequence when Aamir follows her to a shopping mall.

On the whole, Ghajini is a winner all the way. The film will set new records and has the merits to emerge one of the biggest Hits of all times. The weekend business should be historic, the Week 1 business should be unparalleled, and the lifetime gross should be amongst the biggest of all times. In short, Ghajini has ‘Blockbuster’ written all over it.

Cast:    Aamir Khan, Asin,Jiah Khan, Mohit Alawat
Direction:    A R Murugadas
Production:    Allu Aravind, Madhu Varma
Music:    A R Rahman

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