I went (rather had to) to watch Ghajini with the guy who introduced me to watching movies at theatres. We used to come back together in the same bus from school and I would listen with awe at his rendition of the greatest blockbusters of the year. He used to watch all movies either at the cinemas or in a VCR at home and tell me the stories in details. His eyes would grow wide as he recounted how Aamir Khan met with an accident when Madhuri Dixit came to call him in Dil. I would listen, speechless and in awe. My first movie with him was a Madhuri Dixit Starrer with Saif and Akshay in the male leads. We had just given our ICSE and was allowed for the first time to go to the movies alone, by ourselves. And it had to be Madhuri Dixit, for him. A couple of years later, on a fateful day in December, he took me to watch Mohabbatein. He had bought the tickets the day he went to get the entrance exam forms. We went there straight from the exam hall. That was our last movie together as high school students.
He was also (and luckily still remains) my oldest best friend. If we were a brand, I would perhaps call ourselves “Best Friends since 1989”. The reason why “I had to watch” was because if there was a Shahrukh Khan fan worth his salt, it would be him and I hadn’t ever watched an Aamir Khan movie with him. You perhaps would remember the discussion of the warring Khan camps. It all started in school. Sometimes I feel school friends who stick with you are a special breed. You do not remember how many runs they scored in the cricket matches, or their grades, or where they work, or how far they stay. What you do remember is how he stood up for you in Class 5 when everyone for the first time doubted you - that same you who till a few days ago could do no wrong.
There will be two types of people who would go to watch Ghajini. First the prude types like me, who have watched Memento and would constantly compare the two movies. The second would be the numerous people who wouldn’t have watched either the Tamizh version or the original memento.
Long long back in the early nineties, when Aamir was still in his chocolate hero image, SRK had redefined violence in the Indian movies with Bazzigar. He gave us our first Antihero. The guy actually killed an innocent girl in the movie and got away scot free. Everyone in the halls had tears in their eyes for the misguided young man. Then had come Darr, Anjaam and the rest. With that one move SRK had left competition far far behind.
With Ghajini, Aamir walks the same line, perhaps for the first time and he pulls it off with ease, just like you would expect him to be. This is NOT an Aamir Khan movie. This is not what makes him stand out and yet, you can see how he has humanized the entire dark humour of Christopher Nolan’s original. Of course, you might argue, the plot has thinned. The dividing lines between good and evil are distinct and you have no doubts about whose side you are on. It doesn’t tax your brain too much.
The movie is long, maybe a bit too long. And as my dear friend says, it’s a Sunny Deol or a Salman Khan movie. He would know. We had watched Garv - Pride and Honour and Gadar - Ek Prem Katha together. I get overtly excited by such movies. He longed for his SRK mushes.
But apart from that you would like to watch this movie for two things. Aamir’s expressions and Asin’s effortless acting. In fact, if Ghajini were two movies, I believe both would have done extremely well. One would be one of the best Love stories of the year and the other just another senseless violent movie. Of all women who came into Bollywood mainstream this year, she takes the cake and the cherry along with it.
So we walked out of the movie, no longer with arms on each others shoulders as that is banned in these post Dostana days and I just realized how we had swapped our roles. He no longer watched movies at the theatres. I, with a strange loyalty towards the movie making fraternity (after the opening credits of Mr. Incredible) watch almost every single movie released on the big screen. But then, when we are together, such things don’t seem to matter much.
By the way, why do sensible parents bring kids to watch such gory movies?