Planet Bollywood
Producer: Allu Arving & Madhu Varma
Director: A.R. Murugadoss
Starring: Aamir Khan, Asin, Jiah Khan
Music: A.R. Rahman
Lyrics: Prasoon Joshi
Genre: Thriller
Recommended Audience: Parental Guidance
Approximate Running Time: 3 Hours
Film Released on: 24 December 2008
Reviewed by: Aakash Gandhi  - Rating: 8.5 / 10
More Reviews and Analysis by PB Critics:
    • Feature Review by Shruti Bhasin - Rating: 8.5 / 10
Let us know what you think about this review
Music Review
Public Rating Average: 5.11 / 10 (rated by 411 viewers)
Give your Rating:
Opinion Poll: Who is the best performer in Ghajini?

GHAJINI rekindles the brute force, raw ingenuity, and riveting exhilaration of a true cinematic thriller that has long faded in the memory of Indian cinema.

GHAJINI has arguably been the most awaited film of the year (as most Aamir Khan starrers are). Creeping in on the final weekend of the year, the film has drawn quite a bit of speculative attention throughout 2008, with precious little being disclosed by the cast and crew. All we had to go by was its original 2005 Tamil counterpart of the same name. Nevertheless, the wait is finally over. GHAJINI hit worldwide screens on Christmas Eve ’08 and has opened to a stellar response.

A.R. Murugadoss, the father and creator of GHAJINI, sits in the director’s stool once again to recreate his stunning story on the much larger canvas of Hindi cinema. Of course, when you’re working with a perfectionist like Aamir, you might as well be directing an entirely new film. The other new face is the very talented Jiah Khan, who broke onto the scene with a sensational performance alongside Amitabh Bachchan in one of India’s boldest films in recent memory – Nishabd (2007). Rounding out the main cast is Asin and Pradeep Rawat, both of whom starred in the original.

GHAJINI tells the story of Sanjay Singhania (Aamir Khan), a short-term memory loss patient whose memory resets every fifteen minutes. Living life literally fifteen minutes at a time, Sanjay keeps his memory alive through writings and snapping photos with captions of those who are important. Prominent throughout his written memory is the name Mr. Ghajini and Revenge. What is the connection between Sanjay and Mr. Ghajini? Not even Sanjay knows. What follows is a sequence of flashbacks of Sanjay’s life prior to his memory-loss, all leading up to one fateful night that forever changed his life…

Bluntly speaking, Murugadoss succeeds immensely in translating his Tamil screenplay onto the wider Hindi screen, literally and figuratively speaking. Not only does he carefully harness the numerous strengths of the original, he is able to build on its foundations thanks in major part to Aamir’s portrayal of Sanjay.

The film shoots out of the gate with thrilling pace thanks to Murugadoss’s intriguing screenplay. Within minutes you’re in a maze of wonderment and fully engaged in the proceedings – something that most Indian thrillers lack. Murugadoss creates a fascinating window into Sanjay’s darkened world. The blend between present and past is seamless and unforced. Despite a three hour running time, the story’s tempo remains refreshingly relentless from start to finish.

For any screenwriter, the concept of fifteen minute short-term memory loss is absolute gold to write on. However, it can also create many pitfalls. It’s in deed difficult to successfully maintain a character’s story for three hours when his life starts anew every fifteen minutes. And although Murugadoss’ script accounts for much of this, there are sequences that leave you baffled - How can such a victim function in this manner with such a debilitating condition? The illness did not appear uniformly throughout and this is the film’s darkest blemish.

As a director, A.R. Murugadoss creates hard-hitting impact in virtually every scene that warrants it. Any half-witted director will tell you that a director’s success echoes through the performances of his actors. A major reason why Murugadoss’ execution emerges so magnificently is because of the masterful portrayal of Sanjay Singhania courtesy Aamir Khan.

Peter Hein’s action sequences are absolutely chilling in their gruesome treatments. Cinematography is perfect, as you’d expect from India’s beat cameraman – Ravi K. Chandran. Although the film has an extensive length, editor Anthony does an appropriate job in trimming the film down to a viewable duration. The film would have appeared more polished if certain frames in the first flashback sequence were cut, seeing as how the romantic development between Sanjay and Kalpana is not the major crux of the plot.

Music by A.R. Rahman plays a very limited role. The OST is one that grows on you with time. Nevertheless, it remains Rahman’s weakest of the year. Watch out for Hai Guzarish and Kaise Mujhe, which have been shot beautifully.

Jiah Khan is wholesomely satisfying once again. Unlike Nishabd though, Ghajini provides little scope into this young beauty’s acting skills, as her role is limited. Lucky for her, she has already proved herself worthy in Nishabd.

Asin, as Kalpana, is an absolute pleasure to experience. She breathes a level of life into her character rarely seen in today’s male-dominated Industry. Everything from the tonal inflections of her dialogue delivery down to the expressive glances of her eyes is flawless. What I personally loved about her character was that she is able to emote a brimming level of affection and love towards Sanjay without the usual Bollywood gush and over-the-top antics. This is testament to her maturity as a structured and balanced actress. Let’s see more of you Asin!

Pradeep Rawat, as Ghajini, takes the role of the villain to new heights. He drips of merciless disgust and stinks of ruthless violence. You just love to hate him. A daunting task, he is able to match Aamir’s intensity…a perfect foil.

Last but not least – Aamir Khan as Sanjay Singhania. I shouldn’t be surprised by this guy anymore. But I am. He is an explosion of sorts as the tormented patient, business tycoon, and modest romantic. You are left physically and emotionally arrested by the raw power of his screen presence. With Ghajini, he only adds to his most impressive and broad portfolio. He plays Sanjay with an impish charm and vengeful sorrow…a mixture that unveils shades of Aamir throughout his career: The tragic lover of Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1989), the passionate fighter of Ghulam (1998), the confident underdog of Lagaan (2001), the angry young man of Rang De Basanti (2006). It all comes to fruition in yet another spectacularly rich and dedicated performance.

Thanks to a thoughtful script and Aamir’s heart-stopping portrayal, GHAJINI keeps its promise of being one of the best film’s of 2008. Due to excessive violence, strong viewer discretion is advised.

Aakash Gandhi is Managing Editor and Senior Writer for He also freelances with AVS TV Network at

Comments Contact Us Advertise Terms of Service Privacy Policy
Copyright © Planet Bollywood - All Rights Reserved