Ghajini (2008 film)
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||A. R. Murugadoss|
|Written by||Story and Screenplay:|
A. R. Murugadoss
|Based on||Original Premise:|
by Christopher Nolan
by A. R. Murugadoss
|Music by||A. R. Rahman|
|Cinematography||Ravi K. Chandran|
|Box office||₹232 crore[a]|
Ghajini is a 2008 Indian Hindi-language action thriller film written and directed by A. R. Murugadoss and produced by Allu Aravind, Tagore Madhu and Madhu Mantena. A remake of Murugadoss's own 2005 Tamil film of the same name starring Suriya and Asin, which in turn is inspired by the 2000 film Memento, it stars Aamir Khan, Asin (who reprises her role in the Tamil original, thus making her Bollywood debut), Jiah Khan and Pradeep Rawat in lead roles, with Tinnu Anand, Sunil Grover, Khalid Siddiqui and Riyaz Khan in supporting roles. The score and soundtrack were composed by A. R. Rahman, while Aamir co-wrote an altered climax.
Set in Mumbai, Ghajini follows the story of Sanjay Singhania, a businessman who develops anterograde amnesia following a violent encounter in which his love interest, a model named Kalpana, was killed. He tries to avenge the murder, committed by the eponymous gangster-turned-public figure, with the aid of photographs from a Polaroid Instant camera and permanent tattoos on his body.
Ghajini became the highest-grossing Indian film of 2008, and the first Bollywood film to cross the ₹100 crore mark domestically, creating the 100 Crore Club. Ghajini's paid preview collections were ₹ 27 million. On release, it became the highest-grossing Indian film of all time, until it was surpassed by Aamir's next, 3 idiots (2009), the following year and then by Shah Rukh Khan's Chennai Express (2013). Aamir's character was featured in a 3D video game titled Ghajini – The Game, which is based on the film.
Sunita, a medical student, is investigating the anterograde amnesia case of Sanjay Singhania, the chairman of Air Voice, a telecommunications company. She does so against her professor's wishes, and in spite of Sanjay being under criminal investigation. Sanjay, who loses his memory every 15 minutes, uses a system of photographs, notes, and tattoos on his body to recover his memory and remember his mission: avenge the murder of his fiancé Kalpana Shetty, done by Ghajini Dharmatma, a shady local figure, and his associates.
Police officer Arjun Yadav knocks Sanjay unconscious in a scuffle, and finds two diaries in his apartment. He learns Sanjay met Kalpana, a struggling model, after installing an advertising billboard above her apartment. Kalpana's boss misinterprets this as a romantic advance and, in view of a possible Air Voice ad campaign, encourages Kalpana to accept the overture; she then poses as Sanjay's girlfriend. Sanjay confronts Kalpana, but does not reveal his identity. He poses as a struggling model and they soon fall in love.
As Arjun reads the second diary, Sanjay attacks him and ties him up. Sunita locates the apartment, finding Arjun and learning of Sanjay's murder plot . She steals his diaries and frees Arjun. As her and Arjun escape, Arjun is hit by a bus. Sunita then informs Ghajini about the plot. Sanjay finds her at her dormitory, where he is arrested and given a sedative. Ghajini is informed by the police about Sanjay's belongings and he poses as Sanjay's friend. Soon Sanjay's employees and doctor arrive and take him home. There, Ghajini and his men destroy his pictures and cover his tattoos.
Sunita reads the diaries, which end abruptly. She eventually learns Kalpana traveled to Goa, where she stumbled across and freed a group of girls from a sex trafficking ring orchestrated by Ghajini. Sanjay returns home and finds Kalpana stabbed. Ghajini hits him with an iron rod before killing Kalpana with the same. Sunita reminds Sanjay of Kalpana's murder, and helps him track Ghajini to his local area. Sanjay kills his men, but forgets Ghajini, who stabs Sanjay. As he prepares to kill Sunita the same way he killed Kalpana, Sanjay recovers his memory, and kills Ghajini with the iron rod.
Six months later, Sanjay returns to his position at Air Voice, and volunteers with Sunita at an orphanage named after Kalpana. Sunita gifts him a cement pad with Sanjay and Kalpana's foot impressions as he feels Kalpana beside him.
- Aamir Khan as Sanjay Singhania / Sachin Chauhan, a rich businessman; the chairman of a mobile phone company, Air Voice; who later suffers from short-term memory loss after a tragic incident caused by Ghajini, being solely motivated, thus, to kill him and his cohorts
- Asin as Kalpana Shetty, a model who gains publicity by falsely proclaiming herself to be the girlfriend of Sanjay Singhania, but soon becomes his love interest, later getting killed by Ghajini who stabs her
- Jiah Khan as Sunita, a medical student, who tries to study the case of Sanjay Singhania and his amnesiac problem, even though she is forbidden to do so
- Pradeep Rawat as Ghajini Dharmatma / Prakash, a gang honcho and the mastermind of many illegal and criminal ventures who is targeted by Sanjay
- Riyaz Khan as Inspector Arjun Yadav, a police inspector who is investigating the murders Sanjay committed
- Tinnu Anand as Satveer Kohli, Kalpana's boss
- Murli Sharma as Vikas Khandelwal, Sanjay’s cousin
- Sai Tamhankar as Sunita's friend
- Khalid Siddiqui as Pankaj Shroff, Sanjay's private assistant and an Air Voice manager
- Supreeth Reddy as Ghajini's Henchman
- Vibha Chibber as Havaldar Vijyanti
- Sunil Grover as Sampat, a model who is being trained as the fake Sanjay Singhania
- Vaibhav Mathur as a struggling ad-model
- Rahul Pendkalkar as Rahul
- Sonal Sehgal as ad model
- Anjum Rajabali in a cameo appearance as Sunita's professor
It was rumoured earlier that the film was titled Kajri. It is a remake of the Tamil film, Ghajini (2005). Aamir Khan, who had never before made a remake film in his career, was initially hesitant to do the film, but was convinced by Suriya, the original star of the Tamil Ghajini, who told him he was "the only one who could do justice to the character." Suriya was a fan of Khan, and had some involvement in the film's development, discussing minute details with Khan for two years during the film's development. Priyanka Chopra was offered a lead role in the film, but turned down the part because of scheduling conflicts.
Khan was involved in the film's creative writing process, deciding what should remain from the original Tamil Ghajini and what changes should be made. Murugadoss revealed that the altered climax of the film was rewritten by Khan. According to Murugadoss:
We didn't make too many changes in the rest of the film. Every time I'd suggest a change in Ghajini from the original, Aamir would firmly cut it down, saying we should stick to the Tamil script. But he decided we should rewrite the climax. The entire location, incidents and dialogue for the climax were re-written by Aamir. I think the Hindi version is far better than the Tamil Ghajini because of the changes Aamir made.
Murdagoss's original 2005 Tamil version of Ghajini was inspired by the American film Memento (2000), which itself was adapted from the short story Memento Mori. The film stars Guy Pearce as Leonard Shelby, a former insurance fraud investigator searching for the man he believes raped and killed his wife during a burglary. Leonard suffers from anterograde amnesia, which he contracted from severe head trauma during the attack on his wife. Certain concepts like writing notes behind instant Polaroid photographs and tattooing facts on his body are also similar. According to Khan, "Ghajini is not a remake or even slightly inspired by Memento, but rather a remake of the Tamil film, Ghajini". However, he acknowledged that Murgadoss's original Tamil film was at least partly inspired by Memento, stating, "Murgadoss had heard about a film called Memento and the concept had really fascinated him. Without having seen the film he went ahead and wrote his own version of the script and screenplay. Having finished his script, he then saw Memento, found it very different from what he had written, and went ahead and made Ghajini." Christopher Nolan was later made aware that an Indian film with a plot similar to Memento was released.
The film's title is a reference to Mahmud of Ghazni, the tenth-century Sultan of Ghaznavid Empire whose name is pronounced "Ghajini" in Tamil. Several comical scenes in the film are similar to Happy Go Lovely (1951). The scene where Kalpana (Asin Thottumkal) helps a blind man to cross the road is similar to the French film Amélie.
Shooting started in Chennai in May 2007. Climax was shot in Old City, Hyderabad. Other filming locations included Bangalore, Cape Town, Deadpan Desert and Mumbai. Aamir Khan had spent a year working out at the gym, training for his role. This film marked the Bollywood debut for Asin. The film's production budget was ₹65 crore (equivalent to ₹146 crore or US$20 million in 2019).
Ghajini was released on 25 December 2008 with an estimated 1,500 prints worldwide, including 1,200 prints (digital and analogue versions) in the domestic market, making it the largest Bollywood release at that time. The domestic rights were sold to Geetha Arts for ₹530 million, while satellite, overseas and home media rights were sold at a total of ₹400 million, breaking the records of Shah Rukh Khan's film Om Shanti Om's ₹730 million.
The overseas distributors, Reliance Entertainment released the film with 300 prints in 22 countries, including 112 prints in the US and Canada, 65 prints in the UK and 36 prints in the UAE. Ghajini was also released in Norway, Germany, Denmark, Netherlands, Belgium, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore. It had around 650 paid previews which fetched it around ₹70 million.
A PC video game based on the film was manufactured and produced by FXLabs Studios Pvt Ltd and Geetha Arts, and marketed and distributed by Eros Home Entertainment: Ghajini – The Game. It is a third-person action game consisting of five levels of play; here the player controlled the protagonist Sanjay to accomplish missions using martial arts, weapons, and artefacts. It was hailed as India's first true 3D PC game with an MSRP of US$14.99. Although never officially rated, the distributor recommends that 15+ year old players partake in the game.
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Director A. R. Murugadoss was arrested shortly before the film's completion. According to Salem Chandrasekhar, the producer of the Tamil original, he had not bought the rights to remake the film in Hindi.
Sonia Chopra of Sify gave the movie 3.5 stars and recommended watching it "For the four As—Aamir, Asin, AR Murgadoss and AR Rahman". Rajeev Masand of CNN IBN gave 3 stars writing, "Ghajini isn't a particularly good film, but entertainment it delivers by the bucketful." Martin D'Souza of Bollywood Trade News Network gave 3.5 stars, noting the flaws in screenplay, while praising the action. Taran Adarsh of Bollywood Hungama remarked that the movie "is a winner all the way" and gave it 4.5 stars. Nikhat Kazmi of The Times of India praised the performance by Aamir Khan as its high point and awarded 3.5 stars.
Zee News described Aamir's performance as his best till date. Sukanya Verma of Rediff gave the movie 3.5 stars, while describing the film as "a sleek album of dark memories, which are terrifying to relive and shattering to experience". Noyon Jyoti Parasara of AOL India said, "Most comparisons often point out that a remake is not as worthy.Ghajini however succeeds when it is compared to the Tamil version directed by the same director." Anupama Chopra of NDTV said "Ghajini isn't a great film or even a very good one but I recommend that you see it. It is, as we used to say in the old days, paisa vasool. Kaveree Bamzai of India Today said that "This is brutality, choreographed by a poet, and therefore that much more compelling." giving it 3.5 stars.
The film received some mixed and negative reviews. Gaurav Malani of Indiatimes gave 2 stars, criticising its length while praising the performance of the cast. Raja Sen of Rediff rated the movie 2.5/5 and criticised the performance of Asin while concluding, "overwhelming feeling is one of regret". Shubhra Gupta of Express India concluded that Ghajini is too long, too violent, and criticised Jiah Khan's acting and dancing skills, but praised the performances of Aamir Khan and Asin. Hindustan Times gave it 2 stars and said "You'd like to give Ghajini a long-term memory loss. Kya, kyon, kahan? Murugadoss.? Aamir? Asin? Who? Got to jog my memory... maybe after 15 minutes."
Ghajini grossed ₹110 crore in five days. A success party was organised at Taj Land's End hotel in Mumbai on 30 December 2008 to celebrate this feat. Trade analyst Komal Nahta estimated the film's first week nett collections to be ₹ 62 crore.
Ghajini grossed ₹232 crore (equivalent to ₹520 crore or US$73 million in 2019) in two weeks—including a domestic gross of ₹162 crore (equivalent to ₹363 crore or US$51 million in 2019) and an overseas collection of ₹70 crore (equivalent to ₹157 crore or US$22 million in 2019). A success party was organised to celebrate its ₹ 200 crore worldwide celebration in January 2009. By that time, the film had also nett ₹ 104.31 crore domestically, making it the first Bollywood film to net over ₹ 100 crore domestically, creating the 100 Crore Club.
Ghajini became the highest-grossing Indian film ever at the time, and was declared an "All Time Blockbuster". Its record was eventually surpassed a year later by another Aamir Khan film, 3 Idiots (2009).
|Soundtrack album by|
|Released||24 November 2008|
|Recorded||Panchathan Record Inn and AM Studios|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
|Producer||A. R. Rahman|
|A.R Rahman chronology|
|1.||"Guzaarish"||Javed Ali and Sonu Nigam (humming)||5:29|
|2.||"Aye Bacchu"||Suzanne D'Mello||3:48|
|4.||"Kaise Mujhe"||Benny Dayal and Shreya Ghoshal||5:46|
|7.||"Guzaarish Remix"||Javed Ali and Sonu Nigam (humming)||5:29|
Bollywood Hungama wrote, "The music of Ghajini is all set to make waves way into 2009 after the Christmas release of the film. When 'best of the best' list would be compiled at the year end, it would be hard to ignore Ghajini." Rediff.com gave it the highest possible rating of five stars with the reviewer praising Rahman saying, "This could just be one of his finest albums ever. Not just are the tracks great, but each one segues into the next with perfect unpredictability." According to the Indian trade website Box Office India, the soundtrack album sold about 1.9 million units, making it the year's best selling Bollywood music soundtrack album.
Awards and nominations
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