This is a bit of a difficult review for me to write. Especially as I’ve done the review of the Hindi version of Ghajini (2008) earlier. That said, the Hindi version is by and large, a faithful copy of this version. In that sense, much of the problems that I feel plague the Hindi version plague this dumbed down version of Memento as well. So one could well read that review to look at my issues with that film and hence this one especially as comparisons are inevitable. The one big improvement in the Hindi version was the new climax as the one in this version is pretty silly with the villain having a twin that no one knew about. It does nothing for the film and one wonders what were the makers thinking.
However, one would say in most bits the Tamil version is actually more engaging of the two versions. Especially in terms of characterisations and performances. Asin comes off much better in this version. Perhaps the fact that she is more comfortable in the Tamil milieu and that she was a good 3 years younger when she did this version give her act a freshness which is missing in Hindi. Nayanthara is weak and perhaps it has more to do with the way her role is written but she still comes off miles ahead of Jiah Khan who was, to put it simply, a disaster in the Hindi counterpart.
The biggest factor in the Tamil version getting my nod as being the more watchable film (that too relatively) is undoubtedly Suriya’s stunning performance. It was always going to a tough act for Aamir Khan to follow, no matter how strong his acting credentials and it has to be said here he comes a distant, distant second to Suriya. Aamir has played the role the role of the revenge-seeker too over the top and much of his face-making in this avatar looks absurd and even unintentionally funny and even as the lover boy, though efficient, he fails to make an impact looking far too old for the role whereas Suriya scarcely hits a false note in his performance. The biggest difference is that Suriya has been able to humanise the character far more successfully. He is spot on, both as the young totally in control businessman who becomes endearingly goofy in love as he is swept off his feet by Asin, and as the stalker out for revenge. It is, to put it simply, a great performance and the film’s biggest strength. You do wish he were better styled though, his clothes and hairstyle, in particular, looking quite odd on him and not cool at all – he looks more a roadside romeo rather than a sophisticated businessman particularly in the songs and those red pants are a horror!
Harris Jayaraj too scores with his musical score though it has to be said here Guzarish from the Hindi version comes off as the best song from both versions. The big disappointment for me was the picturization of the songs in this version with none of the songs being too appealing in concept or choreography. In fact, the songs are a major distraction and unlike a filmmaker like Gautham Vasudev Menon who is able to combine some extremely nice and heartwarming moments between his characters with choreography in his songs in Kaakha Kaakha (2003)and Vaaranam Aayiram (2008), the Ghajini songs hardly have any moments at all. The background score while not being as overblown in the Hindi version is not too impressive either.
All in all, the film is watchable mainy for Suriya who reaffirms the fact that Tamil cinema is very fortunate it has found the ideal combination of an actor-star in him.
Tamil, Action, Color