Expectations, expectations and more expectations. Every movie has its fair share of it. Some less and some more. Regardless, it always seems to be a reason behind a film’s success. If it exceeds or meets expectations they say its a success, and if it falls below then a failure.
For Ghajini these very expectations came in all shapes and sizes. First and foremost, thanks to Aamir Khan. How can a project not have sky high expectations when associated with it is the acclaimed perfectionist of Indian cinema. Secondly, being the remake of a hit and acclaimed Tamil film, Ghajini was already expected to win the hearts of audiences. Lastly, the leading lady and director remained the same in this counterpart, so naturally it was expected that they would combine the same successful ingredients this time around with Aamir Khan to deliver yet another masterpiece. Did they succeed or does the original remain the one and only masterpiece? Read on to find out…
Drawing contrasts between the two version of Ghajini is quite difficult because director A R Muragadoss remained quite true to his original masterpiece. In fact, rarely did they differ from the original dialogues. Of course one does not blame him the least bit. Why sabotage something that is already a hit formula. Although, some small tweaks were made in the script and screenplay to prepare it to appeal for its new targeted audience. Unlike Tamil cinema audiences, Hindi cinema audiences may not have the stomach for the violence that Tamil cinema is accustomed to. The makers rewrote small sequences in the action segments of the film which was a very wise decision to ensure appeal to its new audience. In addition, the glamour quotient has been raised in particular for song sequences, perhaps with a higher production value (merely a speculation). However, A R Muragadoss didn’t stray off completely from the true essence of Ghajini, which is that at heart it remains an action packed adventure so definitely don’t go in expecting a totally action-toned-down version of the Tamil Ghajini.
The main focus of drawing contrasts that perhaps you are interested in is the performances. Was the perfectionist really perfect for the role? Was Jiah the right counterpart to Nayantara? The former is a difficult question that we’ll get to in due time but the latter is quite easily answered. And that is no. Jiah Khan simply did not look the part of a final year medical student. Perhaps this role should have come at the time of her career when her talent had been better groomed. As for now, the maturity required for the character was certainly not present in Jiah’s performance. She did not look or act the part. One wonders why Nayantara wasn’t brought over for the role like Asin had been or why Kangana Ranaut didn’t remain signed on. After witnessing Jiah’s performance, you’re almost certain anyone would be better than her.
Surya Shivkumar was the original Tamil actor who did the role of Sanjay Singhania (originally Sanjay Ramasamy), and when one has witnessed his performance it is hard to imagine that someone else can step into the same shoes. Although, it can safely be said that Aamir Khan came very damn close to delivering an as perfect performance, and in fact it is almost impossible to think of anyone else in the Hindi film industry who’d do justice to the part. Aamir’s performance is both endearing and heart breaking depending on what was required, particularly in the opening sequence where the audiences discover his mental situation. You really feel the pain of a man who everyday has to wake up and find out that the woman he loved the most in this world is no longer in it. The only sequence, in comparison to the original, in which Aamir fails is bringing across the expression of confusion. Surya was more successful in bringing across the emotions of a man who is constantly lost but still is on a mission that he is not too sure about what it is anymore. This was a particular highlighted expression in the original introduction sequence of Sanjay where he is beating up Ghajini’s goons but at the same time is very lost as to what he is doing or why he is doing it. In order to successfully convey this situation a better use of background score was also needed. Like our very own reviewer, Aly Kassam, pointed out in his review of Ghajini, the background score was amateurish in various portions. Even though it may seem as if it doesn’t contribute much to the performance of an actor, it certainly does contribute in getting across a character’s situation because it creates an atmosphere of emotions for the audiences to feel.
Lastly, the music of the original was a chartbuster to say the least, and it was very wise to entrust this big responsibility upon the man that never fails, A R Rahman. Of course picturisation was bollywood-fied without any typical Tamilian numbers such as ‘Rangola’ in the original, which would not have been a hit up North as much as down South.
On the whole, Ghajini vs. Ghajini would be a battle that ends with a tie, expected because the captain of the ship remains the same. Ghajini is a remake in its true essence. It pays tribute to a fantastic movie and has simply been tailored and translated for its new group of audiences, nothing more and nothing else. Audiences of the original, do not fear as justice has been done to your masterpiece. Fans of the remake, be proud of a fantastic piece of cinema that has been so intelligently crafted. It is a masterpiece that will go down in the history of Indian cinema. Take a bow the team of Ghajini!