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GHAJINI (aka: KIDNAP)(director/writer: A.R. Murugadoss; cinematographer: Ravi K. Chandran; editor: Anthony; music: A.R. Rahman; cast: Aamir Khan (Sanjay ‘Sanju’ Singhania/Sachin), Asin (Kalpana Shetty), Tinnu Anand (Satveer Kohli – Kalpana’s boss), Pradeep Rawat (Ghajini Dharmatma); Runtime: 181; MPAA Rating: NR; producers: Allu Aravind/Madhu Mantena; Indian Film Company; 2008-India-in Hindi with English subtitles)
“It’s hard to look past that this is a gaudy ripoff of Christopher Nolan’s Memento (2000), stealing the idea of short-term memory loss every 15 minutes.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

It’s hard to look past that this is a gaudy ripoff of Christopher Nolan’s Memento (2000), stealing the idea of short-term memory loss every 15 minutes. Writer-director A.R. Murugadoss (“Stalin”) remakes his own 2005 Tamil-language hit, Ghajini, and gives it a Hindi language, a Bollywood burst of energy and tacks on a romantic tale to the blood-soaked thriller story. It has an interminable length for such an empty and uninteresting film, that’s cartoonish in its romance and violently graphic in its fight scenes. Though colorful, it never rises to more than trash for the masses.

The film moves forward and backward in time. When the wealthy nice guy owner of Air Voice, Sanjay ‘Sanju’ Singhania (Aamir Khan), is brutally beaten with an iron rod by Mumbai crime lord, Ghajini Dharmatma (Pradeep Rawat), and his beloved fiancée Kalpana Shetty (Asin) is killed by the hiss-able villain, our hero suffers from a short-term memory and resorts to writing notes to himself as reminders that he’s after Ghajini.

It begins when Sanjay meets ad company hottie model Kalpana in strange circumstances during which she mistakenly thinks he’s a struggling model. They fall in love and he goes by the name of Sachin, trying to make sure that she loves him not only for his money. He never gets around to telling her his real identity. When on a train, she meets a young girl who is being abducted along with 24 others. Kalpana rescues the girls, but the evil gang lord behind the kidnappings, Ghajini, who covers his criminal activities by owning a large pharmaceutical firm and donating to charity, seeks revenge since he was the one behind the kidnappings.

Filled with bubbly Bollywood music, superhuman feats and daring acts of courage by the vengeful lover in his pursuit of the bad dude and his henchmen, the film goes on and on as our businessman hero flattens all those who get in his way before he reaches the main target. Unfortunately, I felt like one of those flattened and only cheered from relief when this mindless bloody spectacle ended and this mentally and physically agonizing slick film was quickly forgotten with little chance of being recalled since I didn’t take notes.


Dennis Schwartz: “Ozus’ World Movie Reviews”