Ghajini is recommended for those who seek extra strong, stylish, over-the-top entertainment. The story content and treatment is revolutionary for a Tamil film, though Murugadoss’ screenplay takes far too many liberties. Yet it is taut, well written and woven with the right commercial elements.
The basic thread of the film is borrowed from Christopher Nolan classic Memento but Murugadoss has Indianised a very difficult and complicated subject quite effectively. Technically, Ghajini is far superior to the normal run-of-the-mill thrillers with a superb background score and re-recording of Harris Jayaraj.
The story of Sanjay Ramasamy (Surya) who suffers from short-term memory loss is very confusing and difficult to tell on screen but Murugadosss has been able to effectively convey it though intermittent flashbacks. The whole film unfolds in back and forth narrative style popularized by directors like Quentin Tarantino.
A medical student Chitra (Nayantara) is keen to do a detailed medical study of Sanjay but is discouraged by her professor as there is a police case against him. Sanjay cannot remember anything beyond 15 minutes as he forgets names of places, people and is on a killing spree. Sanjay is closely followed by a police officer (Riyaz Khan) who unravels Sanjay’s flashback through his diary, but is soon killed in an accident.
From the diary we know that Sanjay is a business tycoon and chairman of ‘Air Voice Mobile’ company. He falls in love with Kalpana (Asin), a struggling model for a two-bit ad agency after some really hilarious mix-up's. Kalpana is also a crusader who champions the cause of the poor and handicapped. It is this quality of Kalpana that attracts the business tycoon towards her but soon she gets the wrath of a gang who supplies adolescent girls to Mumbai racketers after she exposes him.
In a gory attack, Kalpana is attacked by Lakshman (Pradeep Rawat) and gang and she is brutally killed. Sanjay who tries to save her is hit with an iron weapon on the head which leads to his memory loss. Now Sanjay is on the hunt for Lakshman and his gang as he tattoos the names, mobile numbers, addresses, and notes on his body and takes photos with his Polaroid camera to remember where he lives, who is enemy and friends are!
For all the action and drama the film is driven by Surya’s riveting performance. Physically agile, he tempers the recklessness of his character with restraint and pours plenty of heartfelt emotions into the film more dramatic moments as we become a part of Sanjay Ramaswamy’s anguish and frustrations. Asin is magical as Kalpana the lovable chatterbox. Her sheer ability in the romantic interludes, the poignant and heartfelt scenes when she rescues minor girls from villains and her gory end are touching. The chemistry between the lead pair in the first half is a delight.
Although it is a brilliantly conceived and executed movie, there are a few glitches and disappointments. Nayantara does not live up to expectations as her character is not well-etched out. It looks more like an extended item number and the poor girl looks bewildered in that “X-Machi..” song . And why did Murugadoss have to create a double role of Pradeep Rawat? Is it to give Surya’s character more heroism? The climax in water is well-executed but is too lengthy.
Harris Jayaraj’s all five songs are well-placed and the Suttrum Vizhi… number is the winner. The camera of R.D.Rajasekhar including night effects and slice technique in the climax are amazing. Action by Kanal Kannan is well choreographed along with Anthony’s crisp editing.
On the whole, it is an action film with plenty of intense, dark and suspenseful filled moments. Murugadoss has re-invented the staple masala formula with slick packaging. For this he deserves to be applauded.
Go for Ghajini!
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