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Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Slumdog's Ghajini

Two films in a week - that's a reason to write. Well, I started off with the well-acclaimed Slumdog Millionaire at a suburban theatre in Mumbai and on Republic Day, I watched the power-packed Ghajini. Both films have had their fare share of media attention - Slumdog for its bullish run at the international awards fests and Ghajini has earned its print space with a rather brawny Aamir Khan.

What I like about Slumdog is its crisp editing. The story is simple - slum boy yearns for childhood love and finds her through a quiz show on television. The story of his life unfolds as he goes into his past looking for answers to the questions he's asked on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? Had a regular Bollywood director picked up the subject, there would have been an overdose of drama and emotions. There are no graphic images of poverty and misery. Instead what you find is a suggestion of pain, grief and violence.

Ghajini is an unusual film. For one, in the history of Indian cinema, this may be one of the rarest of films to be named after the film's villain. We've had our fair share of Gabbars and Mocambos but even Gabbar couldn't have a film named after him. Ghajini scores on that one. The film isn't an entertainer, nor does it seek to be one. There's gruesome violence but not much of a show of it. The acting's superb and the background score is more a character than an accompaniment. The story's simple - one of revenge. Only, the protagonist suffers from anterograde amnesia. He can't remember anything for more than 15 minutes and has to write everything down. While Aamir Khan stole the show with his superb acting, I must say newcomer Asin has also done a pretty good job in the film. The rest...let Aamir's punches do the talking.

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