Monday, January 05, 2009

Ghajini vs Ghajini

Its never easy reviewing remakes when we've seen the original and the problem is more pronounced when its a pretty close, other-language remake of a Tamil film. So instead of reviewing Aamir Khan's Ghajini, a remake of the Tamil blockbuster of the same name, I thought I'd simply compare the most important aspects of the two films.

Surya vs Aamir Khan
Ghajini's protagonist's role can be divided into 2 parts - the rich, suave businessman and the revenge-obsessed man afflicted with short-term memory loss. I think Surya has Aamir beat in the businessman's role. Surya was perfect in the role and shared great chemistry with Asin while Aamir looks somewhat old and doesn't really possess the same kind of charm. There's this one scene where Sanjay, walking back(in slo-mo) after meeting Kalpana for the first time, turns to look at her as she recounts her made-up romance on the phone, and smiles. Surya's smile was just perfect and conveyed his amusement perfectly while Aamir's smile just didn't work as well. Its these kind of small touches that made Surya the better Sanjay. As far as the part where he is afflicted with STML, Surya seemed to be hamming it up just a teeny bit while Aamir plays it just right. He brings the right mix of intensity and ferocity to the role and his blank looks and expressions convey his confusion very well.

Asin vs Asin
If it ain't broke, don't fix it seems to have been Asin's policy in repeating her role as Kalpana. And it's the right route to follow. Her performance in Tamil made it one of the more memorable heroine roles in recent times and she does it exactly the same way in Hindi. Her smile is just as enchanting, her disposition is just as cheery and the tension on her face when she is hiding from the villains is just as real. There are places where we feel that they simply carved her role out of the Tamil version and dropped it into the Hindi version.

Nayanthara vs Jiah Khan
Ghajini would probably count as Nayanthara's worst movie as she looked bad, fat and overly made up. So anyone would've been an improvement over her. Though Jiah Khan isn't dazzling or a great actress, she scores over Nayan just by not messing things up.

Murugadoss vs Murugadoss
For the most part, Murugadoss makes the Hindi Ghajini a carbon copy of its Tamil counterpart. There are a few minor changes(like Sanjay's first auto ride) and some of the narrative misses are corrected(like Kalpana calling Sanjay when stuck inside her apartment) but for about three-quarters of the films, a strong sense of deja vu is unavoidable for those who have seen the Tamil original. Ofcourse, this means both the positives(the interesting initial portions as we learn how Sanjay deals with his unique condition) and the disappointments(the non-handling of an interesting plot point like the villain destroying all of Sanjay's tattooed notes) are carried over. The last part of the film is where Murugadoss has really made some changes in Hindi. And they work. Eliminating silly plot points like giving the villain a twin and turning down the masala aspect of the climactic fight, he takes the narrative forward in a straightforward but sensible way. It also allows him to recreate an earlier situation, adding an emotional touch to the proceedings.

Harris Jayaraj vs A.R.Rahman
Rahman's songs didn't really stay in my mind but considering that I've heard them only once (during the movie), it would be unfair for me to compare them with the songs from the Tamil film, which I heard maybe a few times everyday when the soundtrack was released. But Rahman's background score is a definite improvement over Harris' cacophony.

The Final Verdict
Thanks to Surya, the Tamil Ghajini scores in the romantic track but the clean-up of the action track makes the Hindi version a wee bit more consistently entertaining overall.


At 12:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chemistry is so much over emphasized these days.
A Hesitant mighty rich business tycoon bumps into a attractive middle class woman. There has to be some blandness in the romance to make it real.
Surya nalla 'Vazhinghar' but its just to make it attractive for the audience.
We get to see a lot of Ness Wadia (Preity's BF) on TV thesedays. It's hard to find near Salivating aka Sanjay Ramaswamy :)

At 1:29 AM, Blogger D.E.V said...

The tamil "ghajini" did not click with me when i saw it...only parts i liked was the romantic portion, simply mind blowing, Suryah and Asin was brilliant, yeah do agree that Amir Khan could not recreate the same chemistry with Asin, i think the problem here, Amir has never got a chance to romance in his last 10-12 years, all his films are pretty offbeat in nature...

But overall, the hindi "ghajini" was way better coz of the climax which really synchronizes with the whole reminded like the ending of "pithamagan" brutal like climax

At 2:34 AM, Blogger Bart said...

I agree hindi version was an improvised tamil version. I enjoyed it especially becoz after a long time, a masala movie fully involved the theatre audience. Could hear claps rooting for the hero / heroine in many a places (esp when the villain is killed). (can't remember any recent masala movie which emotionally involved the audience).

At 5:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You got the romantic bit bang on target. That smile of Surya (when he walks back) was splendid vis-a-vis Aamir's. Yes Aamir looks a bit old as well.
Though Asin has lived up to the role of Kalpana, she could have been better in the Hindi version. All was a carbon copy of expressions which does not go down really well with someone who has seen the tamil version. The songs section will be very difficult as the competition is tight. Harris gave gud sound tracks so has Rahman. I liked your overall verdict

At 12:53 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you on most of your points.
Couldn't help but notice the following glitches though..

Its never easy reviewing remakes ... - It's

I think Surya has Aamir beat in the businessman's role - I think Surya has beaten Aamir in the businessman's role

Surya's smile was just perfect and conveyed his amusement perfectly while Aamir's smile just didn't work as well - .....didn't work just as good (a careful read of what you wrote 'just didn't work as well' reveals a totally different meaning).

At 4:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The climax of Hindi Ghajini much was better than Tamil version. Also, the two instances of "Kaise Mujhe Tu" were so beautifully placed in the Hindi version that it elevates the situation to a level that the Tamil version was not able to achieve.

At 4:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cannot agree with you more on each and every aspect you have written about. Extremely well documented. As I walked out of the theater, these were precisely the things that I told my wife. The businessman role fitted Surya to a T both because of a the natural charm + his age. While Aamir khan was good, like you rightly pointed out, the magic touch was missing. That said, if I'd not seen the original, I would have lapped it up. Aamir khan exhibited very good body language as the one with the 15-min syndrome. His was terrific in the climax.

Murugadoss, as you pointed out had more to do with the changes but I am very happy with the way he's managed to maintain about 80% of the movie in tact.

Me too! I heard the songs only during the movie and it was intentional. I did walk out during a song because my wife pestered the hell out of me for pop corn!!! Else, great songs. Rahman, as usual, is very smart and he's delivered songs keeping Aamir in mind and slowed down the pace;)

Somehow, I got the feeling that the stunts were choreographed better than the original. It might have been because the climax was different.

Also, did you notice that most of the technicians were also the same except for Ravi K. Chandran which Muragadoss mentioned in an interview was to avoid the boredom.

Overall, did not mind the 40 dollars I spent (yeap took my inlaws along as well!! how nice of me :D).

At 7:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I haven't seen the Tamil one yet, but I preferred the Tamil songs to the Hindi ones

At 9:04 PM, Blogger Prithi Shetty said...

I plan to see the Tamil one soon. I have seen only 1 song yet. And I was so stuck by Surya's eyes and smile. I have not seen such non-made-up innocence in any recent movies !

At 11:20 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

anon, didn't really mind the lack of realism in the romance. it was sweet/cute enuf to make me overlook that :)

skanda, yes the climax really flowed smoothly and fit the rest of the film. in Tamil it kinda stood out with the twins and the loooong fight :)

bart, looks like it a huge hit and so can understand ur comments about the audience reaction :)

rags, aamir didn't look this old even in TZP. something was off here :)

:), I always trip on the its and it's but will probably contest u on the other 2 :)

vishal, I remember one song in Hindi when he goes back after she gives him the money. that was perfectly placed :)

anon, thanx! i too felt that about the stunts. i think it was because they fit the rest of the movie and the special effects were limited. and murugadoss seemed to have retained quite a bit of the cast too (asin, riaz khan, pradeep rawat) :)

arby, i've read that in a couple of other places too :)

prithi, i'm sure u have a lot of company on ur thots on Surya :)

At 12:37 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My biggest problem with the hindi version was the title! The tamil Ghajini refered to Mohd Ghazni who kept attacking, refusing to give up. That essentially was the protagonist Surya and hence the Ghajini title. The villain's name was Laxman.

For some very wierd reason the hindi movie made the villains name Ghajini (which Asin whispers to Aamir before dying) and then Aamir takes revenge on Ghajini....So the hindi movie is all about the villain...duh??!

Also, the tamil version was much more crisp, save the bad climax and I prefered mottai surya to Aamir because he brought a certain earnestness in his potrayal, with his 6 pack just being part of the proceedings. Here Aamir seemed full of himself and kept flaunting his physique which got boring after a while. Also he looked even shorter with the added stockiness. Surya didnt look that way thought he's probably as tall (short) as Aamir

At 9:02 PM, Blogger Balaji said...

shwetha, not all about the villain but all about aamir seeking out the villain. since 'ghajini' was the only thing he remembered, his life became all about that name. atleast, it seemed to make sense when aamir said it. and I didn't like aamir flaunting his physique either but i thot that was true just for us guys :)

At 12:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

don't know, am still not too would it be if Sivaji were named Azhuku pal Adiseshan!

Ghajini to me still represents Aamir's relentless pursuit and they couldve left it at that without naming the villain thus. It kind of took away the charm of the title.

And no...the 6 pack flaunting, unless subtle is a big no no with most girls :))

Btw, do check out "Outsourced" and "Ek Chalis ki last local". Pretty good watches!


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