Ghajinikanth: A Forgettable Comedy That Takes Itself Too Seriously
Movie Review by Trijai Nerthi (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
Directed by Santhosh P Jayakumar, Ghajinikanth is a comedy film starring Arya, Sayyeshaa, Sathish, Aadukalam Naren and Sampath. Though the film churns out decent jokes every now and then, the tone of the film is highly inconsistent. The first half takes too long to get to the point and the climax is simply exhausting. Ghajinikanth would’ve been a decent entertainer if it stuck to comedy alone, but because it takes itself too seriously, the film sinks.
Born amidst the screening of Dharmathin Thalaivan, Rajinikanth (Arya), much like the film’s protagonist has a weak memory. Soon, Rajinikanth’s parents fix up a meeting with his prospective wife’s father, Sathyamoorthy (Sampath) but as usual, his memory lets him down and he misses it. In many instances that follow, Rajini’s relationship with Sathyamoorthy becomes all the more estranged and he eventually forbids him to marry his daughter. But the trouble doubles up when he falls head over heels in love with Vandana (Sayyeshaa), who he later discovers is Sathyamoorthy’s daughter. The lengths he goes to prove that he is worthy of Vandana and the efforts he takes to overcome his forgetfulness forms the crux of the film.
The first one hour of Ghajinikanth is scattered, random and lacks complete focus. From there on it does get better but the screenplay is almost always predictable. The film lacks originality as well. Certain scenes remind you of Ullathai Allitha while scenes from other films like Vasool Raja MBBS are used as parody. So technically, Ghajinikanth is not even fresh enough to be referred to as old wine in a new bottle.
The comedy in the film too is awkward. Rather than incorporating it into the visual storytelling, the director has the characters just stand around and crack jokes.
Furthermore, the core theme of the film, forgetfulness is used constantly to serve the screenplay. After establishing the fact that Rajinikanth has a poor memory, why remind the audience of it every few minutes. This repetition is the central reason why the comedy in Ghajinikanth begins to feel stale. For instance, Rajinikanth forgets his meetings with Sathyamoorthy but he never forgets anything in his job as a scientist. Shouldn’t his forgetfulness be logically spread out in all aspects of the character’s life?
Even though the film has been deemed a family entertainer, it’s use of double entendre in a few sequences raises questions as to whether it is really suitable for children to watch.
The climax and pre-climax portions of Ghajinikanth are the worst. It is over-the-top and goes too far. For instance, Vandana’s father actually encourages the villain to elope with his daughter and try to marry her. He then justifies this by mentioning that this points to the confidence he has on Rajinikanth and that he his sure that he will save her. Even if you do leave your brains at home, the believability factor of this atrocious scene hits an all new low.
As the film comes to an end, you realize that one of the predominant reasons why the comedy in Ghajinikanth rarely works is because it forcibly tries to include many trending matters just to appear relevant. For example, in one of his jokes, Sathish references Arya’s Enga Veetu Mapillai’. The director tries too hard by also throwing in the organic farming thread in the film. Instead of trying to desperately appear relevant, if the film had tried to achieve this in an organic manner, the comedy would’ve worked better.
As Rajinikanth, Arya is decent in a few comical sequences but otherwise, his performance is below par. He merely sounds like the character but never attempts to include behavioral nuances to actually step into his character’s shoes. Sathish’s comedy does score a few laughs but after a point, it begins to feel repetitive. Aadukalam Naren and Sampath do best with the inadequate material they are presented with. As Vandana, Sayyeshaa delivers an underwhelming performance. Her expressions fall flat and her body language appears stiff throughout the film.
Cinematographer Ballu’s visual storytelling in Ghajinikanth is flat and adequate but aesthetically, he never attempts anything new. He uses lighting to fill up the frames and ensure that the shots match the quality of a decent advertisement. However, there is no depth in the cinematography of the film.
Balamurali Balu’s background music and songs are disappointing. They are never in sync with the theme of the film. The songs primarily are quite forgettable.
On the whole, Ghajinikanth is a decent entertainer just as long as it sticks to comedy, the moment it begins to take itself seriously is when it becomes quite a tiresome experience for the audience.