Sunday, January 18, 2009

Ghajini and Slumdog Millionaire

Something must be really wrong with me. I saw both the films and HATED both. Let's go one step at a time

GHAJINI: One does not expect holes in the storyline of an Aamir Khan script.
1. The CEO is giving sound bytes for a media interview when the girl calls him up for a chaddi ad. So, he is a media savvy CEO BUT the heroine has never seen him on TV or seen a picture of him in the newspaper.
2. A girl agrees to marry a guy, without ever asking him about his family, and without going to his house even once. He has been to her house, but she has never been to his house.
3. He was hit on the head and has this ST amnesia. Good. So when he wakes up right after the accident, he should have forgotten about it.. ?? OK, someone told him about it, and he made furious notes to remind himself every morning. All in 15 minutes. Where did he get those polaroid pictures? He would have to remember the faces from the accident to take those pictures. OK, in the film, at one place, he says he remembers only the accident. Then why does he forget the accident every morning?? Wait, i m missing something here.. this just doesnt make sense!
4. A guy with a slit throat cannot, in most cases, talk enough to tell another person in a complete sentence that the intended victim was someone else - you.

Let's leave the holes in the story aside for a moment. There is nothing to the story-telling, except the freshness of the heroine's rather competent acting. Aamir can kill on screen. We saw that in the first slitting of the throat. The 50th pointless slitting of the throat will not convince us any more than the first. Aamir Khan is not Daniel Craig. When we want to see pointless violence and lots of flesh, we see a Bond film. When we want to see a film that makes sense, we see an Aamir Khan film.

Aamir Khan with 8 packs is great. Aamir Khan in a pointless plot with just the 8 pack to recommend him, somehow does not work for me.

Slumdog Millionaire:
In the movie, there is one shot where an American woman points to a cow and says excitedly to her partner: "Look, cow!" This film is exactly like that shot. Danny Boyle takes some random shots of Dharavi and his western audience says "Look, a slum!" and gives him the excited awards.
Let me ruin it for you. In the book :
1. There is no Jamal. There is Ram Mohammed Thomas.
2. There is no brother.
3. There is no mother and there are no Hindu Muslim riots and no orphaning after the riots.
4. There is no Latika. Frieda Pinto's character doesn't exist.

The film has taken the concept of a poor person making a lot of money on a game show because of his life experiences; taken exactly one episode from the book and added all others from his own imagination; and called it "based on the book".

Like a Karan Johar film is made for the NRIs, Danny Boyle's film is made for the Western audience that wants to see India as a gross, unjust, poor place.

The only saving grace of the film is Dev Patel. He has the right body language, the right eyes and the right expressions on his face. He is good. Frieda Pinto impresses more in the awards functions than in the film. The others do not impress at all.

My review of Slumdog millionaire: Read the book instead. Its a breezy read that will take the same time, and is lots more entertaining.

Feel free to slaughter me for these reviews.


Ajit said...

in SDM,
I hated the scene when the boy gets beaten up says, "this is the real india" and then that american couple saves him....
That was so stupid.....

I liked Ghajni :) typical masala film..... :)

(¯`•._.•[Raaji]•._.•´¯) said...

i agree with the holes in Ghajini.

I have yet to watch Slumdog millionaire so will come back to this post once i see it. :-)

maheshinder_singh said...

Though i enjoyed Ghajini, but I appreciate your expressions and criticism about it. May be I am the part of the masses who watch & enjoy movies without caring for the logic.

D writer said...

I haven't seen Ghajini, so will limit myself to have put the film in a new perspective...the film does have it moments....though at the same time there were constant pricks in my mind- this is not what india is about...boyle has really made a smart film...mixed the right elements poverty, religion, riots, money...only thing left was cricket...In all, he has given audience (in this case the western audience)what they wanted. But again most movies do that.

Dev Patel I agree was the saving grace and all the child actors were awesome...Music was refreshing, for lack of a better word...Rehman really deserves an award if not for this movie alone for all the great music that he has made for our country. Hats off to him.

and ya I will definately read the book.


Z said...

I haven't seen either film, but I love your reviews.

Id it is said...

I haven't watched the other movie but I did watch Slumdog Millionaire and I enjoyed it, so your take on it made me question my response to the movie:
Did the film promise to reenact the novel? The levity an artist gets or takes is a privilege he's allowed. Whether he makes good use of it is another matter. What Boyle did with the storyline was his prerogative; however, whether he was able to draw/entertain audiences worldwide(given it was a Hollywood production, or/and convey his message to the masses (presuming that was his intention, which I truly doubt) is something that will be determined once we get to the Oscars, and the dollar amounts the movie made are revealed at the end of the month.

White Magpie said...

The saving grace in Ghajini was Aamir's expression..the passion..and that's all that mattered actually..It wasn't that full of holes..I mean how many perfect movies can we watch, right?

Seema said...

I will take your offer to slaughter you dear :).
Assume that Danny Boyle had not used the line "Based on book ...", what would have happened? You including many others would be accusing him of not giving the reqd. credit to the book. Now when he acknowledged it, you still have problem. Why the movie has to be same as the book? If you leave the comparison of book and movie aside, it is a good time pass movie.. It doesn't show the India as a heaven I know it to be, but I think you will agree that this is India too.. All these things do happen in the real lives of real people.. correct me if I am wrong.. the movie is highly unrealistic too like most of the movies.. Western world has anyway got used to calling us "the third world' irrespective of all the developments we have made over last years.. why blame Boyle for it.. he's just another business man making money..
For Ghajini though, I completely go with you.. I expected so much more from my favorite actor and he has so completely disappointed this time after giving movies like RangDeBasanti and TaareZameenPar..

Anonymous said...

No slaugther.
Because someone is present to say what is not convincing.
I appreciate.
Claps !!!

oo7 said...

i loved the movie..(SlumDOg)
one of the ten best films of the decade.
it was a realist look at India
not the glam sham of bollywood.

the screenplay that combines the drama, comedy, and thriller genres to great effect, is both an aesthetic triumph, and unlikely as it sounds, a crowd-pleasing masterpiece.
IT's one of the 100 movies you must see before dying.

just my point of view man...

Oxy said...

Oh god, why the hell people do not understand that it's just a movie and every film-maker has right to make whatever f**k he/she wants to make. Indians too show the poverty/crime/rape/murder/blah blah but no one points finger.

And FYI, the movie is not replica of book. Vikas Swarup read the film version of the script and stamped his approval. I wish you are aware of facts before jumping guns.

P.S. Ghajini was garbage, I agree.

oo7 said...

Ghajini was shitty movie..for sure...

How do we know said...

Hi Ajit: hmm.. the Cow scene is just before this dialog. Before they find that their car has been broken into. :-)

Hi Raaji: Do.

Hi Mahesh: Maybe i m part of the OCD surgeon who tries to make sense of the average masala film. I should be alot more like you and some other readers of this blog.

Hi D Writer: You have hit the nail on the head. He has given the western audience all the masala that they like.. and he is well within his rights to do that. Only, spare me the "Classic Film" tag after that.

Hi Z: :-) Good to hear from u after ages, and am happy for the Sage. He did win at a good price.

hi Id it is: Yes, i stand corrected. He never was under any obligation to stick to the story. What i do not like is the episodes he has added - the Amitabh Bachan autograph, the riots, are not really episodes that present a true picture of India. Nor do they make for entertainment. Riots are not entertainment. Abject poverty is not entertainment. I just do not understand his logic in adding just those episodes. If there is a message, i fail to see it. If there is any entertainment, i fail to see that even more.

How do we know said...

Hi White Magpie: Not too many perfect movies, i agree. That is why Aamir Khan movies carry a brand value. This movie was like opening a bar of Dove to find a red Lifebuoy inside the wrapper. There is nothing wrong withe Lifebuoy, and nothing wrong with Dove, just that one does not expect Lifebuoy in a Dove pack.

Hi Seema: I stand corrected. You are right. Had he not acknowledged the book, we would have minded that too. And he is just a business man. Like i said, just spare me the Classic Movie tag after that. :-) ur comment was the most hard hitting and the most convincing. Thank u for slaughtering me :-)

Hi Hobo: Gee.. Thanks!!!

mathew said...

haha..i watched Ghajini just for the songs and Asin..:-)

But I guess asking for convincing plots in most bollywood movies is tough say..:-P

How do we know said...

Hi oo7: Great point of view. Do me a favor. Please do read the book also.. u will like it, i can tell :-) its one of the best books i have read in a long time.

Hi Oxy: I know that the author has OKed the script dear. Am just saying that I have a problem with the way India has been depicted in the film. Its neither a message nor entertainment. You're right though - every film maker has the right to make f&*k, and if they make money on it, so much the better. Only, we have a right to review too.. :-) re. no one pointing a finger when Indians make the same stuff. I agree. No one hands out the awards either when an Indian makes it like this. A brilliant film like TZP is shown the exit door but SDM makes it to the front race. Am totally impressed.

Hi oo7: we agree on something :-)

J said...

well, I think SDM wasn't even that bad, a cleverly made movie...yes, the plot diverges from the novel (havn't read it, but I believe you, no choice) but then who said its a word by word adaptation of the book. The scenes with the riots etc. have been added from a purely commercial pov, it just tells how the Western World perceives (or wants to) India. Yipeee, we have evolved from the days of being labelled the Land of snake charmers to the Land of communal tension, slums, poverty and crime.
No Latika in the book, so? I don't think there is a dance sequence "Jai Ho!" in the book either. Atleast Danny Boyle did think about the Indian audience who want some overflowing emotions, "milna-bichhudna", item numbers etc etc.

Ghajini, more than the inconsistencies, I hated it for being a never-ending saga.....

I guess its the hype that these movies generated which made us kinda dislike these movies. Having watched the likes of Memento, who would enjoy a Ghajini just cuz the guy has 8 pack abs.

And it can work the other way as well. After reading all the reviews abt CC2C I was like Oh God, I gotta see can someone make that bad a movie. But I purposely switched off my mind (as if it was on) while watching the movie and guess what I found it tolerable.

oo7 said...

@ j
Having watched the likes of Memento, who would enjoy a Ghajini just cuz the guy has 8 pack abs.

spot on mate!!

The Rat... said...

ah atlast someone who thinks ghajini is Crap...


Anonymous said...

well, Ghajini was crap, for all the reasons you mentioned and many more but SM, i gotta see. I can't wait to see it and add my (expert) opinion on the debate :) - Seems like its finally releasing here in Dubai on the 22nd.

Manasa said...

Haven't seen both the movies to comment. Those who have seen Ghajini original n Hindi version say that there's lot of difference in Hindi version from the original one.

Keshi said...

I saw the tamil version of Ghajini with Surya in it. Both Surya and Aamir are on my HOTTEST MEN I didnt mind the movie wasnt so great cos I can watch the 2 guys all day long lol!


The Rat... said...

hey i see a new post in my reader but not able to see d page... wats d mystery dear?

Anonymous said...

I liked Ghajini-holes apart, it was teh typical bollywood film.Most bollywood films are unrealistic-so there is no need to consider the unrealistic aspect. Infact, I think all films are illusionary..can't we leave the right and wrong points to just go and enjoy a make believe world? Thats what we do most of the times...Ghajini is and should be no exception:)
Haven't seen slumdog millionare yet but am sure will like it too...hope so!
Have you seen other movies based on books-all of them deviate in some way or the other. All the HP movies have got their facts wrong....but we still watch them because they are entertaining, so why not watch slumdog too keeping aside the book? As Irfan Khan said, India is a poor country and this fact cannot be ignored-why not see reality as it is?

Thanks for the review by the way

Anonymous said...

As far as GHAJINI is concerned, bollywood films r no point questioning those points :P
I loved the film minus all the violence

Bollywood's affinity to plagiarise hasnt died down and bollywood is practically bankrupt of

I haven't seen SDM..but ppl r raving abt it..Bachchan recd enuf flak for saying the film portrayed Mumbai in a bad light..but every filmmaker has the right to creativity, creative liberty..cinema is an expressive medium..

Thnx for stopping by :)

D said...

Frankly, I didn't quite get it why Ghajini is such a huge hit. It's passable, at best, if you ignore all the loopholes in the plot.

hitch writer said...

Hey !! I havent seen Slumdog !! but just want the dogs to file a defamation suite against us humans for defaming them...

They are a superior spieces and to be termed human is an insult to them.

From Amir i dont expect such masala stories with pretty sedate scripts, I expect a lagaan, taare zameen par, rang de basanti, dil chahta hai types... something original not copies !!!

N said...

I Liked Ghajini, I dint love it though, like most other Amir Khan's movies. No complains...

Havent seen SDM yet, so cannot comment much on it....

Waiting for 23rd :)

Mampi said...

Mahesh says, one must must must leave one's brain at home when going to watch such movies.
He seems to be right after all.

How do we know said...

Hi J: As i have said earlier, I stand corrected. SDM does not have to be Q and A. But i do have a right to maintain that QnA is the better of the two. Also, somewhere in my mad head, i find it disgusting that riots should be used for commercial value or for entertainment. If there was a message involved, i dont think anyone got it. If it was for entertainment, Danny Boyle should know that riots are not entertainment. That, and that alone, i cannot forgive him for.

Hi The Rat: Thanks!! And re. the next post, i did make one, and then deleted it within 5 mins. There was nothing new or readable in that post. :-) Thanks for asking.

Hi Rakesh: Later, do tell me what u think of SDM. Do read the book too.

hi Manasa and Keshi: :-) and a wink!

Hi Mithe: I agree ,and i stand corrected. :-)

Hi Swats: The pleasure was mine! And i also understand ur view of Ghazini and SDM. I just agree with Amitabh more.

Hi D: Agree, Agree Agree!! :-)

Hi hitch writer: You speak my mind... exactly!!

hi N: Tell me later what u think of SDM.

HI Mampi: :-) Bade chir baad aaye ho.. i agree.. in movies mein dimaag ghar par rakh kar jaana chahiye..

Saadia said...

Haha. You must've enjoyed my reviews then!

My two cents: 'Based on the book' allows for changes and manipulations in the creative world. The phrase does not suggest that the book is being shot verbatim, but that the idea is being credited where it is due. Something, so many Bollywood movie-makers forget to attribute to Hollywood productions - indulging in plagiarism, of course.

Shubhajit said...

your reviews are critical..i've seen both the films and didn't like it. for Ghazini i only liked that this was probably the first Hindi film named on a villain. otherwise the movie is nonsense (i tolerated that nonsense for more than 30 mins)

For SDM, script is interesting and the camera work and editing are more than average but i can't understand why AR Rehman got award? either i don't understand why people praise actors. i think a professional actor could do magic with that script.. the film is ok but obviously forgettable.

Oreen said...

i ABSOLUTELY agree with you about Ghajini. It is pure Mithun ishtyle. unnecessary songs and dances, absurd storyline, unrealistic throughout, and to cap it all, had Jiah Khan, which made all of us puke puke puke

SDM, i won't watch now that you asked me not to :)

I trust serious filmgoers and their instincts...

Helene (the Artist Formerly Known as Kate) said...

I didnt see Ghajni (never heard of it to be honest...) I did see Slumdog Millionaire a while ago and really liked it. I would like to read the book and will look for it this week when I travel.

I did wonder if the movie was 'Americanized' a bit in its approach. I didnt mind the cow bit, to be honest. I grew up outside of NYC and it wasnt until University that I saw a cow that wasnt in a zoo. It happens. I thought it was overdramatized in sections, but interestingly presented and very entertaining to watch. OMG that toilet scene when he got locked in... priceless!

J said...

It seems we have a problem cuz its a foreign director.....Our film-makers have used riots and sensationalized them in the worst possible ways, atleast Boyle doesn't do that nor does he give a biased opinion.....
Yes, The Academy finds SDM fit for 10 nominations while trashing TZP, the west has always been like that.....I just don't understand why we still continue to look upto OSCARS as THE AWARD.

How do we know said...

Hi Saadia: I loved ur reviews.

Hi Shubhajit: " i think a professional actor could do magic with that script.. "couldnt agree more.. man! the book has SOOO much more potential than the mutilation called SDM.

Hi Oreen: "I trust serious filmgoers and their instincts..." Thank you! Thank you! Makes mah day!

Hi Helene: That toilet scene, also, is NOT in the book. Its an addition. And i have never seen or heard anything like it happen ANYWHERE in India. Nothing even CLOSE to this.

Hi J: "It seems we have a problem cuz its a foreign director.....Our film-makers have used riots and sensationalized them in the worst possible ways, atleast Boyle doesn't do that nor does he give a biased opinion....."
No, its not because its a foreign director. An indian film doing this would have drawn the same, if not more flak from me at least. In fact, I can understand Danny Boyle because in all fairness, he has never seen an Indian riot so its all entertainment for him. But its still criminal to do this.
The last Indian film i remember on riots was Bombay, and that one was very nicely done.
"Nor does he give a biased opinion" - i beg to differ, but lets leave it at that. Its a good film for you, and a bad film for me. :-) We can co-exist with that.

Mama - Mia said...

oh! i dont care so much about the holes in Ghajini, as much as the terrible production values! its looks like a B-grade 80's bollywood movie! horrid all the way!

slumdog still havent seen! so dunno!

watch Luck By Chance! quite nice! :)



How do we know said...

Hi Abha: Saw Luck by chance. Unimpressed.. even by Hrithik! :-)

Anonymous said...