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Ho ho ho… what do you know…
a scion of the Indian Film Industry returns with a double overdose of Khan the King…
and the cash registers go ka ching!
Khalidji goes to press…
showering flowers on a family he wishes to impress…
waxes eloquent to everyone from Madras to Mars…
and gives a terribly ordinary effort, three and a half stars!

 This is not all…
a dimunitive man standing creatively tall…
remakes a southie hit with typical elan…
hard hitting and uncompromising, the movie made me a fan.

The same Khalidji went back to press…
called it ordinary, violent and vain…
derided the movie to everyone from Sangrur to Spain…
that sitting through it was a pain!

Ok…I have to admit that I am a fan of Khalid Mohamed’s reviews. He is funny and his reviews have become a constant feature of my Saturday mornings. (He writes for Hindustan Times in Mumbai.) But keeping in mind that the best reviews are not objective – even he stumbles often… but I usually miss these vagaries as I do not watch most Hindi movies. This time I didn’t. Within 5 days, I saw him award 3 1/2 stars to Rab ne bana di jodi and 2 stars to Ghajini, and saw both of these as well. Both movies run well past 3 hours and have their flaws but no one except a blue-eyed Shah Rukh fan/Chopra family sympathizer would say that RNBDJ is a better movie than Ghajini.

Rab ne has Shah Rukh playing a “Jeckyll & Hyde”. The quiet, introverted, nerdy Shah Rukh is likable. But the other one (Raj Kapoor if you please!) is a freaking pain in the butt. He is neither funny, nor likable and I for the life of me cannot understand why the heroine falls for him. Khalid mentions this “dual role” as if Shah Rukh has rewritten the rules of acting. Hogwash. Aditya Chopra would have been better off recreating DDLJ’s Raj here… The movie is twice the length it should have been – and it really drags in the middle. The songs are ordinary – with the medley making me want to tear down the walls. The dialogues about which Khalid had many nice words to say, were a collection of every cliche in the book. I came out with a headache, vowing never to fall for the Chopra banner again.

Ghajini, I decided to see with great expectations. I have tremendous faith in Aamir – esp. after TZP – and knowing the the Tamil version, I was confident this one will be good. I was only slightly disappointed… but then my expectations were high to begin with! The direction was not as technically sound as it could have been, some of the visual effects were superflous and some sections dragged. A couple of songs in the movie were also unnecessary and frankly disappointments from Rahman. But really – “Guzarish” is brilliant and easily the song of the year. Asin is lovely as usual, is a very competent actor and I am surprised she was kept away from Mumbai for so long. But the movie was carried through on the extra-wide shoulders of Aamir Khan. He is tremendous…and Shah Rukh can take a lesson or two in acting from him. He is like a caged animal for a few scenes and is reduced to a confused lost soul the next instant before swinging back into “terminator” mode. His eyes change from wild rage to vacuum in a matter of seconds. He is remarkably constrained in scenes where he is just another CEO – but he is tearing at the seams when he descends into his sociopath avatar. The screenplay itself is quite tight – and 3 hours don’t feel that long.

For once I didn’t agree with almost anything that Khalid said in both his reviews. His bias showed clearly… and getting his bread from the industry, I have a feeling that he could not afford to piss off the Chopras. Thankfully the Aamir brand and aggressive marketing have ensured that Ghajini rakes in the moolah it deserves. But when a major newspaper such as HT carries reviews with such obvious bias – I really wonder whom to believe.

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