Listening to: Ghajini (2008)

GhajiniThere are but few films that I have seen on the big screen in last 25 years, Ghajini is one of those. We happened to be in India en famille when it was released and we went within the first week to see it. We all came out of the theatre very well satisfied with the experience. This is in spite of my not liking violence in films and my children being, at that time, dismissive of Bollywood fare.  After three years, I watched it again today to see why I found the film interesting.

Aamir is without doubt one of the most powerful actors of our times in Bollywood. In this film he flexes his acting muscles with as much ease as he flexes his perfectly built-up physical ones.

A young man of power and success meets an ingenuous young woman who charms him almost without volition. They are from different worlds and he puts his aside when he is with her – is that her charm? He guards his identity; she never knows till the end who he really is. It seems to me that he guards this special place where, for him, only they reside.

Horror strikes. The young woman who always lends a helping hand gets involved in rescuing young girls from girl-traffickers. This leads to her murder and him being horribly hurt. He develops a strange condition which leaves him with only a memory of the last 15 mins of his life. With revenge in his quite limited memory he relentless pursues his enemies. How does he do it? Can he succeed?  If this sounds familiar, perhaps you have seen Memento.

Aamir has a double-role in effect. He is extraordinary in his subtle performance as the quiet man with little to say but whose every expression shows his fascination, his amazement, his delight in this young woman who is so very different from him. And post-memory loss, Aamir becomes another self, one who pursues revenge relentlessly, with robotic precision, reminding us of the Terminator. Aamir’s genius is in totally convincing us that these two personas are one and the same. Hats off!! One of the most poignant moments is when towards the end, right in the middle of a fight, he loses the point and wanders through ill-lit corridors without recognition, lost, just as he is lost in life. A metaphor of the film, perfectly emoted by Aamir.

Asin as his girl and Pradeep Rawat as Ghajini provide able support. I am not sure whether it was Jiah Khan I didn’t like or her character; in either case I did not take to her. Riyaz Khan as the inspector left a poor impression.

I am a fan of Rahman’s old music, not his current generation albums. Yet there are some moments in this album which gives me pause. Lyrics by Prasoon Joshi are very good.

  • Aye Bacchoo – Suzanne. It came across as made-for-MTV kind of song. I liked the guitar interlude but Sad smile
  • Behka – Karthik. Very nice young sound with Aamir sporting an equally young and cool look to match. A heart for Karthik’s smooth singing, good choreography and an amusing picturisation. Open-mouthed smile Red heart
  • Lattoo – Shreya Ghoshal. I am shocked at myself for liking this song! Quite unlike me to listen to songs of this ilk! I blame it on Shreya for her simply superb voice which coos Yaar Yaar with such perfectness that it beguiles me into listening again!! Open-mouthed smile
  • Guzarish – Javed Ali, Sonu Nigam. The song is preceded by some brilliant poetry by lyricist Prasoon Joshi.
    बस एक हाँ के इंतज़ार में रात यूं ही गुज़र जायेगी

    अब तो बस उलझन है सात मेरे नींद कहाँ आयेगी
    सुबह की किरण न जाने कौन सा सन्देश लायेगी
    रिमझिम सी गुनगुनायेगी या प्यास अधूरी रह जायेगी
    Can the uncertainty before a proposal be better expressed? Sonu Nigam’s humming is simply beautiful. I decided after a couple of listens that I didn’t like Javed Ali’s singing here, nor the orchestration. Nice melody and nice lyrics make up somewhat. I don't know smile

  • Kaise Mujhe Tum – Benny Dayal, Shreya Ghoshal.  A contemplative and romantic song with a beautiful melody. The gentle touch with the instruments to match the gentleness of the lyrics and melody is well done.
    ज़िन्दगी सितार हो गयी
    रिमझिम मल्हार हो गयी
    मुझे आता नहीं किसमत पे अब यकीन
    कैसे मुझको मिले तुम
    I also loved the moodiness of the picturisation. Benny Dayal is quite good but does he not sound as if he mimics Rahman in the higher reaches? !!! Shreya is fabulous – I am a fan! Kudos to Rahman for a beautiful offering. Open-mouthed smileRed heart

To listen to the whole album, click here. My choice for today is Kaise Mujhe Tum.

And for Aamir fans, a bit of fun with Aamir playing dress-up in Behka.


Filed under Benny Dayal, Bollywood 00's Music, Karthik, Shreya Ghoshal

2 responses to “Listening to: Ghajini (2008)

  1. I’d seen the poster for the film, and just seeing it made me quease, so I was interested to read your take, and will think of getting the movie now, so thanks. I enjoy Aamir’s movies of course, even though some of his last opuses have had a tendancy to be too ego-centred for their own good.What I miss in his films is a slight dose of irony, which would indicate that the seriousness of the subject isn’t TOO seriously considered (the message being, this is cinema after all).

    • Thank you for visiting Yves. Yes, you are absolutely right, Aamir does give the impression of taking himself much too seriously! Still, I admire the man tremendously for the good all-round quality of the films in which he is involved. Ghajini is no exception. It is a good production, with a tight script, good acting, well-orchestrated fight scenes and some good music. It is good when a film can boast of all of these at the same time!

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