Aamir Khan Starrer ‘Ghajini’ on IFC This Sunday
What brings out a memory in you? To me, the strongest remembrances have little to do with images. Sound -- a particular song from my teenage years -- or smell -- the scent of cologne of an ex boyfriend -- always take me back to a place in time, a happy moment, an instant ’till then hidden in the recesses of my mind.
But what if something traumatic happened which simply wiped out all our memory at 15-minutes intervals (it’s an actual condition called ‘Anterograde Amnesia’) then how would we go about our mission in life? How would we know to perform the simplest tasks which make up our routine? In my case, who would tell me to write my column? How would I even remember that I own the computer I write it on? How would I know who means the world to me or who my worst enemy is? That, well not exactly THAT but something like it, is the premises of the US film ‘Memento’, which in turn inspired a Tamil version titled ‘Ghajini’ which finally takes me to the Hindi ‘Ghajini’ starring Aamir Khan.
Aamir Khan is quite simply Bollywood’s golden superstar. The Marlon Brando of the East. If we look at the fluffy films of his early career, we quickly realize just how far he’s come with hits like ‘Lagaan’ and ‘Rang De Basanti’. And ‘Ghajini’ belongs to him, wholeheartedly and completely. Substitute any other actor for the divine Mr. Khan, and the film would have been a flop. But thankfully, we don’t have to go down that route since his presence provides a guaranteed hit. Of course, the Indian film industry is never devoid of controversy, so nay-sayers have claimed all kinds of conspiracy theories, including one that insists the film really did do poorly at the box office, and Aamir Khan is lying to us all, even on national TV. Hum… WRONG! Come on people, this film is worth watching and the Indian audiences knew it. Simple as that.
The premise of the story is similar to the one in ‘Memento’ though I found ‘Ghajini’ way more violent. Where the Hollywood version is a psychological thriller, told in reverse order for the most part, the Bollywood version is made up of two extremes: the love story between Sanjay and Kalpana, alternating with Sanjay’s hunt for her killer, the gangster Ghajini. I never did see the Tamil version, but have heard opposing opinions on it. Was is a flop, was it great? I probably will never know…
What’s amazing to me is that the Independent Film Channel has chosen this film as part of their ‘Wake Up to Bollywood’ series, airing Sundays at 10 a.m. This is not your mother’s Bollywood in any way, shape or form. It is absolutely a wonderful movie, entertaining, complex and brilliantly filmed but it is quite violent. I squirmed through a few scenes, though the love story and the songs are placed at just the right moments to lighten the atmosphere. It’s quite possibly the best placement of item numbers I have ever witnessed. If only Quentin Tarantino added a few more dance sequences. Then I could finally watch his films head on, instead of through the cracks in my fingers…
I must insist you give ‘Ghajini’ a try. Definitely if you haven’t yet watched Aamir Khan in action, this will make you want to rent everything else of his available on Netflix. ‘Ghajini’ is presented as part of the Independent Film Channel‘s “Wake Up To Bollywood”series and is made possible by their collaboration with digital media distributing giant Saavn. Remember to only watch and listen to legally obtained films and songs. It’s bad karma to download media illegally.
So, here’s a teaser, as if I hadn’t peaked your interest already… Watch this song and fall in love -- with the man and the clothes, YUM!