ARVIND SWAMINATHAN writes from Madras: I was forced, kicking and screaming, to see Ghajini on new year eve, and it warms my Tam-Brahm cockles enormously to report that Surya‘s Ghajini scores over Aamir Khan‘s Ghajini lock, stock, and 15 minutes.
The fact that both movies were made by the same director (A.R. Murugadoss) and with the same perky heroine (Asin) does little to erase the pro-Tamil bias in my mind that the Tamil version was decidedly a lot more fun than the Hindi one.
Fun, mind you, from a mindless viewer point of view.
Both versions are totally mindless, of course, but there is some pleasure to be had from mindlessness without a method. Sadly, mindlessness with a method of the Aamir Khan kind is not quite the same thing and it shows in the empty balcony seats after just a week.
Reason #1: Surya: Not one film critic (if any members of that species exist in India today) has had the guts to acknowledge that Surya was more convincing in the role of Sanjay Ramaswamy than the older Aamir as Sanjay Singhania. Surya was warm, spontaneous and vulnerable; at times Aamir looks as if Madame Tussauds lent out the wax look-alike. In some shots, Aamir scarily arches his eyebrows so like Jack Nicholson you wonder if you are watching The Departed.
Reason # 2: Harris Jayaraj: A.R. Rahman and Prasoon Joshi may have burnt a lot of midnight candles for the Hindi version, but brother, take it from me. Harris Jayaraj‘s music had more zing, and was more peppy. Of course, nobody understood the lyrics but who would clutter a mindless movie with meaning? (Answer: Rahman and Joshi.)
Reason # 3: Nayantara: Sanjay Singhania may suffer from amnesia, but the medical student (Jiah Khan) in the Hindi version seems to positively suffer from anorexia. OTOH, Nayantara in the “original copy” was cute, chubby and vivacious. Speaking as a shameless ogler, there was tonnes of baby fat to ogle at, but then that was before Nayantara herself had a (hopefully) short-term mammary loss.
Reason # 4: Hype: With the Tamil version, everything was a surprise, even for those who had seen the original Memento, but was there anything the Hindi movie goer did not know for months: the haircut, the Van Heusen Ghajini line, the six-pack abs. If you had a Tata Sky connection, you would have seen the ‘Making of Ghajini’ like they had made Casablanca or something.
Reason # 5: Climax: Aamir Khan has said he found the last 30 minutes in the Tamil version problematic and Murugadoss has confessed Aamir rewrote the climax for the Hindi version. The mindless violence in the Hindi climax shows that there was nothing elevating that Aamir brought to the table. At least, Surya’s Ghajini had some mindless imagination in the mindless climax.
Many moons ago, another Tam-Brahm, Mani Ratnam, revealed why he had not directed the Hindi version of Nayakan (and left it to Feroze Khan to screw it up, as Dayavan). “It’s like eating your own vomit,” he had said. Murugadoss has tried bravely but failed.
If imitation is the best form of flattery, wonder what making a copy of a copy amounts to?
(Of course, it’s my opinion but I am unanimous about it.)
Also read: 11 similarities between iPhone and Sivaji