Ghajini – Reviewed!

Ghajini Poster
Ghajini Poster

(NO SPOILERS!).. Read on.. I wonder if this is the first audience blog-post about Ghajini on the internet! 😉

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Ghajini has all the makings of a block-buster! (Duh! – Aamir Khan!) … Actually,  I am an Aamir Khan fan myself (Read my review of Taare Zameen Par) and I was lucky enough to be able to catch a paid preview of Ghajini at Fame Aurangabad. I think the best way to really “review” a movie is to watch it alone and not have your opinions / perceptions / interpretations clouded by the people you might be watching it with! – I caught the movie alone because I had nothing to do at Aurangabad until the the late night train back to Mumbai made it’s way to the heritage city!

The movie is an entertainer – some of the action sequences are of the quality that Bollywood has never seen. Ghajini portrays Aamir Khan as a near super-hero as far as the action is concerned! – In fact, if this becomes a commercial success – I will not be surprised if the promoters decided to make him a “regular” super-hero who has 15 minutes of memory and a physical ability matching that of Popeye, the Sailor (sans spinach, of course!)

Asin (playing Kalpana) does an absolutely fabulous job as the sensitive, chirpy, middle-class girl-next door! – Kudos to her really – she was OUT OF THIS WORLD! Jia Khan hardly has too much of screen-space and time, so this should not be a barometer for her. Aamir Khan, as usual, has put in 125% and some of his expressions are scary! – Now that takes some hard work, given Aamir’s otherwise chocolate loverboy looks! But I have to admit one thing here – Aamir is the second most appropriate actor in Bollywood who could have done this role. Hrithik Roshan would have been my choice #1! If you have seen the movie, do you agree with me?? – I would like to know!

The Music by A.R. Rehman is Average! – I do not think he has lived upto his reputation post-Guru! The cinematography, editing and camera-work is phenomenal and the director has an excessive eye for detail! The movie thrills at times and goes over-board with the romances and useless song-and-dance sequences – not called-for in a movie like Ghajini. Another point to note is that this is a movie which is named after the antagonist (villain!) rather than the protagonist!

On a more personal level, what made watching the movie slightly more exciting was that it is shot in Hiranandani in Mumbai – where my workplace is located! 🙂 .. All in all, it was time (and money) well spent. Actually, I don’t know if the “time” bit is justified – 3 hours 15 minutes. I think Aamir comes out with only ONE movie every year(or two!) so he can’t help but increase the length of the movie! :mrgreen:

Fooled by Randomness

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If I say “I am fooled by Randomness.”

How would you interpret that?

(a) I am so random and have lots of random things to do
(Read: I am bored and I actually have nothing to do!)

(b) I am fooled into seeing “patterns” where none exist.

If you’ve read the book “Fooled By Randomness” by Nicholas Nassim Taleb, you are likely to agree with (b).

I read it recently and thoroughly enjoyed the way Taleb expresses his views. Just to give you a background, the author – Nicholas Nassim Taleb was as an investor / trader in the markets and it is the experiences gained during his trading years that led him to research on the science of uncertainty.

In fact this excerpt form his homepage expresses him better than anything else:

“My major hobby is teasing people who take themselves & the quality of their knowledge too seriously & those who don’t have the guts to sometimes say: “I don’t know” .. (You may not be able to change the world but can at least get some entertainment & make a living out of the epistemic arrogance of the human race).”

The basic premise of the entire book is that as human beings we are “fooled” into believing that we have conquered the future. This, he says, is because we are arrogant about our knowledge! So the bottom-line is, everyone has an equal probability of succeeding / failing in whatever he or she does. Reading the book will give you the impression that Taleb totally does NOT believe in merit or hard-work – the virtues on which our society is based and the parameters that broadly determine prosperity and success. I can agree with it to an extent.

I often say this when I enter into a relevant discussion with people – Whenever we talk of business and empires being built, we mention about the Rockerfellers, Birlas, Tatas, Ambanis and (more recently!) Biyanis.. ‘coz these are success stories. We never hear of the failures! – they never hog the limelight. Besides, history is always written by the winners! But that doesn’t mean there are NO failures. Neither does it imply that ALL those who failed never worked hard enough. But is luck (and luck alone) the distinguishing factor between them? … I’d like to think not… I’d like to believe not!

Taleb talks about all this and more in this treatise on Ramdomness – what he calls the “Science of Uncertainty.” And he mixes everything – from Greek History to Mathematical Finance. It’s a good read.

Taare Zameen Par – Reviewed by a non-critic

Taare Zameen Par brought back memories of childhood. No, I wasn’t dyslexic – at least not clinically! But there are some things that are common to children – whether dyslexic or not – they create their own world of imagination and love living in it.

I once discussed this with a couple of my friends during one of our late-night never-ending conversations – and we all agreed on one thing – when we were kids, we often imagined ourselves as being heroes – larger-than-life creatures, almost mythical characters. One of us saw himself as a cricketer who uprooted the middle stump with every ball he bowled in his dream stadium located in the living room, while another was the early 90s version of Hrithik – all the moves et al. One even used to imagine himself singing in a huge stadium with the packed-to-capacity crowd chanting his name! Sorry for digressing.. I am thinking – this is what a movie like TZP does to you, it makes you think.

It doesn’t take a film-critic to notice the attention to detail given by the makers of the movie in as far as the characterization is concerned. Certain things which really stuck into my memory include:

1. The way Ishan Awasthi behaved when he is thrown out of class in school
2. When Ishan is playing with dogs and the kids in the neighbor-hood ask him to get the ball, the dog on his lap is actually sleeping!
3. Aamir’s at times vocal and at-times controlled expressions
4. Facial expression of the school kids throughout the movie
5. The kid at the chai-shop

It is amazing how so many sub-issues can be dealt with without losing sight of the central theme. Certain sub-issues addressed in Tare Zameen Par (besides for the central theme – dyslexia, of course) include:

• Child-labour & exploitation
• Physically-handicapped children
• Teacher-student relationship
Corporal-punishment in schools
• Parents’ attitudes towards under-performing kids and their over-expectation from the performers
• Society’s tendency to add a “number” to every child – judging him / her solely on the basis of academic qualification / achievements
• Inability to see the other side of things when in a conflict

I haven’t been watching too much TV lately, but I sincerely feel that the music by Shankar, Ehsaan & Loy has been grossly under-rated. The lyrics and the music totally stand-out – both in the context of the movie and even otherwise. What I liked most about the music was the extensive use of distortion guitars and the melodious strumming in most of the songs.

Different movies evoke different reactions from audiences. OSO might make you laugh. Black might make you weep. Hazaaron Khwahishein Aisi will make you think. Taare Zameen Par will make you do all of these things. Besides, it will make you feel.

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