Ghajinikanth’s director Santhosh P Jayakumar has two films in his filmography – Hara Hara Mahadevaki and Iruttu Araiyil Murattu Kuththu. The two films have a lot in common – adult content, double meaning jokes and an A rating. With Ghajinikanth, it is clear that Santhosh is trying to subvert his image as an ‘A’ filmmaker — there is a small gimmick with the end credit card, in case we were in doubt about his image re positioning. Well, you could say he has accomplished his objective. There’s not much adult humour, at least in comparison to his previous outings. (Except for one objectifying ‘joke’ about a maid that I am too tired to outrage about. Hannah Gadsby gets its right. I identify with tired these days a lot.) But, there is nothing new about the film as well. There are several ways to keep the viewer engaged – it could be through the story, it’s characters, the writing or the filmmaking. Sadly, Ghajinikanth doesn’t tick any of the boxes.
A remake of Nani’s Bhale Bhale Magadivoy (Disclosure: Haven’t seen the original), Ghajinikanth follows Rajinikanth (Arya) who is forgetful. Our hero Rajinikanth is born at a cinema theatre when his parents are watching Superstar’s Dharmathin Thalaivan. Lo and behold, we get a similar absent-minded hero with a heart of gold. There are several ‘predicaments’ built around the fact that Rajinikanth forgets directions, I think he also forgot a handy, little application named ‘Google Maps’ as well. I was prepared for the Rajini references in the film, placed to get a few cheers from the Rajini fans. However, Santhosh leaves no star unaddressed. We have a scene from Kamal Haasan’s Vasool Raja MBBS recreated. “Sodakku” from Suriya’s film is used. There is a dialogue borrowed from Ajith’s Vivegam and even Baahubali and Mouna Raagam isn’t spared. We have seen better comic capers in Kaadhala Kaadhala and Ullathai Allitha where the plot also revolves around exchanged identities and the chaos that ensues. Unlike Tamizh Padam 2 or even parts of Junga that are parodies, Ghajinikanth remains a compilation of moments from films we already know.
Ghajinikanth also marks the return of the ‘loose ponnu’ heroine in full glory, not that I had really missed it. I wonder why our filmmakers are obsessed with the ‘falling in love’ phenomenon. It almost feels like there is a guide to writing romance in Kollywood. Step 1: Hero falls in love with the heroine, at first sight obviously. Step 2: He tries to ‘impress’ her and this involves a generous amount of lying. Step 3: Heroine falls in love, later comes to realise the bunch of lies but stays with him because the hero’s love is ‘pure’. No offense to anyone, but can we please stop passing of emotional manipulation as love? Isn’t it time?
Actor Satish gets a few funny lines but the rest of Ghajinikanth made me wish that I suffered from memory loss. Maybe, then it would have felt a tad new as I would have no memory of the several other movies that Ghajinikanth has taken inspiration from.
This was first originally published on https://indianexpress.com/. You can find it here.