Aamir (2008) asks, “Does every man write his own destiny?”

 Aamir (2008) is a gritty parallel cinema film shot in real time that questions whether every man creates his own destiny using an act of terrorism and the crowded streets of Mumbai as a backdrop.  

The film aamirrevolves around a young Muslim man Dr. Aamir Ali who has returned to Mumbai from United Kingdom and finds himself at the mercy of religious extremists who want to carry out a bombing in the city. The movie deals with the problems of the Muslim community in modern India and the increasing religious polarization in the country. (source)

It’s directed by Raj Kumar Gupta and stars Indian TV actor Rajeev Khandelwal, making his Bollywood  Indian Film Industry debut.  I did manage to find the masala style fun within the arthouse film with the small scene of a cabbie obsessed with baseball cap wearing, playback singer, Himesh Reshammiya.aamirhimesh

aamirphoneI really don’t want to write much about this film, in order to avoid spoiling anything.  I will say that it starts out with handsome young NRI  doctor named Aamir being thrown a phone while he waits outside the airport in Mumbai.  Should this ever happen to you, I advise that you try to avoid catching the phone. In case you accidentally catch it, drop the phone and DO NOT ANSWER IT! Do NOT take the call! But Aamir DID take the call and the movie continues on with its tense story. While watching it, I just kept thinking, “how gritty!” And, “I wonder how one says gritty in Hindi?” Yaar, the film is really gritty hai! That’s all I want to get across. 

For a real write up of the film go HERE or, read Subhash K. Jha ‘s review HERE.

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This film was only about 90 minutes, a short story in the realm of Indian Films, and like most parallel cinema, it lacks item numbers.  It does contain some great music though, and  I especially liked the tune “Ha Raham (Mehfuz)” sung by Murtuza-Qadir, Amitabh & Amit Trivedi.  This song is currently stuck in my head.  Dig it:

Here are some of the lyrics translated from Urdu (sounds Urdu, maybe it’s Hindi though) into English, thanks to Simranjeet. They are a bit different from the subtitles the version I saw had, but you can get the idea.

Allah… aani jaani… hai kahaani…
(the stories of life will keep coming and going…)
bulbule si… zindgaani…
(and life is nothing but a bubble ready to burst…)
banti kabhi bigadti…
(…forming, and sometimes de-flating…)
tez hawa se ladti, bhidti…
(…fighting with and entangled in the strong winds…)

ha raham, ha raham, farma e-Khuda…
(remember Him, and keep chanting his name…)
ha raham, ha raham, farma e-Khuda…
mehfuz har kadam karna e-Khuda, e-Khuda
(… and He’ll make sure each step you take is a safe one…)
mehfuz har kadam karna e-Khuda, e-Khuda…

The entire lyrics are translated HERE.

HERE’S a version where you can see the band performing the same tune. 

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 Here’s the film’s trailer:

I recommend taking the time to watch the making of the movie section of the supplemental material since it contains interesting interviews with the director and crew members and shows how they shot the scenes in the Mumbai slums. Gritty.

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I feel the same way Aamir, I don’t want to be a leader, I’m just an ordinary woman.

Have you see this movie? What did you think of it?  Nicki from Hmong chick who loves Indian Cinema did a great post on Aamir and compares it to the Filipino film, Cavite (2005), that it was fashioned after.   For more blogolicious insight on  Aamir ( as well as Aamir) go to TheBollywoodFan. And for an extremely insightful and  thought provoking review of the film from someone who  grew up in the Chor Bazar, Bhendi Bazar, and Dongri areas where the film was shot, see Banno’s Aamir post.

The Outer World of Shahrukh Khan (2005)

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As promised in my post on The Inner World of Shahrukh Khan, I will now cover part 2 of Nasreen Munni Kabir’s documentary set: The Outer World of Shahrukh Khan (2005).  Kabir’s experience working with Kahn is nicely reviewed in  the article Shah Rukh bahut sharif aadmi hai by Aseem Chhabra.nasreen

Towards the middle of “The Outer World of Shah Rukh Khan — the second of the two reflective and moving documentaries directed by British Indian filmmaker and writer, Nasreen Munni Kabir — the Bollywood star states: ‘There are three people in me: A person, an actor and a star. I try to keep as much in touch with reality as I can. Try to remember what the star did, what the actor did and what I did. Most people I know become so schizophrenic, they forget.’ Kabir’s two films, The Inner World of Shah Rukh Khan (produced for Britain’s Channel 4) and The Outer World of Shah Rukh Khan (produced for Khan’s Red Chillies International), do exactly that – show how Khan lives in three worlds at all times, trying to keep a balance, his sanity and also staying rooted to reality. (source)

inneroutersrkout The Outer World shows SRK on the road with the Temptations Tour in 2004. Khan is filmed smoking cigarettes as much or even more than in his Inner World disc. Khan is shown both on stage and more interestingly behind the stage with his Bollywood buddies, Saif Ali Khan, Arjun Rampal, Rani Mukergee, Preity Zinta, and Priyanka Choprainneroutersrkoutarjunsaif inneroutersrkoutbackstagearjunpriety inneroutersrkoutbackstagerani2 Khan is so incredibally hardworking, that he seems nearly manic.  He’s shown as so dedicated, enthusiastic and putting so much effort into the tour that I wish I could have seen it!  Also, I’ve found many videos of Khan’s Tour Diary, which makes me want to get a hold of that to watch. In my other post on the Inner World, blogger Bollywood Deewana commented that SRK seemed like a diva in some of the footage.  At first I didn’t understand where this was shown in Kabir’s video’s, but when I found footage of  The Temptation Tour Diary, I was able to see SRK having a bit of a fit HERE.

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Aamir Khan shows up back stage, rocking his Mangal Pandey (2005) look hard. Too bad I couldn’t get a clearer shot of the Khans on the big screen together,  (see that theBolloywoodFan?) well not in a movie, a documentary, but still:

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In the clips I saw of the tour within the documentary, the number that I’d want to see most is the one with Rani and Preity doing some classical dancing.  They both look fantastic.  Here’s a video of that portion of the tour HERE.

One of the more touching scenes is SRK doing one of the many back stage meet and greets with a young girl with what looks like cerebral palsey.  I  seeing how comfortable and caring he was with the child, since often times people act so awkward when dealing with people who have physical and mental disabilities.

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And of course there are lots of smoking scenes. Lots!

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Super star!

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The Inner World of Shahrukh Khan (2005)

inneroutersrkinnersmoke The Inner World of Shahrukh Khan (2005) was sure a treat to watch.  If you haven’t already seen this documentary, I’m sure you’ve at least seen the many ads for it that run before you watch your Bollywood  DVDs, hai na?   It’s the first part of a set of documentaries, the second being The Outer World of Shahrukh Khan, which I’ll cover in my next post. The Inner World, by filmmaker Nasreen Munni Kabir, focuses on just that, SRK’s inner world, which is full of medical treatments for his back, spending time with his family at  Mannat, behind the scenes of Main Hoon Na, and lots and lots of smoking. I got second had smoke damage to my lungs from watching SRK in this film. King Khan has a true pyaar for his cigarettes!  He works hard.  He smokes hard.

The documentary titled: ‘The Inner Worldinneroutersrkinner1 of Shahrukh Khan’ is of 49 minutes duration and has tried to cover the snippets of star’s early struggling days to his reigning ones. The documentary starts with speaking of SRK born in a Delhi family in November 2, 1965. SRK was found be always an intelligent speaker and brought laurels to his college, Hansraj College. SRK completed his film television and Journalism degree from Jamia Milia Islamia. The film portrays struggling days in Mumbai, how he came to Barry John’s theatre classes, his mother’s death and then sister grew ill and the college romance with a Hindu girl, Gauri. Notwithstanding, Nasreen has done a wonderful job in keeping the viewers engrossed. Though Nasreen had earlier worked with Lata Mangeshkar, Javed Akhtar and Amitabh Bachchan, getting Shahrukh Khan to say ‘yes’ was quite an upheaval task. Firstly, SRK has a limited amount of time at his disposal and then SRK prefers privacy. But SRK ultimately gave in to Nasreen. Interestingly, Shahrukh later told that sometimes when he was clamoring for fame, he would have been anytime ready for a photo shoot or an interview. The documentary has been shot mostly on and off the sets of MAIN HOON NAA. Nasreen has traveled alongside SRK to his Delhi’s school days. The film traces moments of solitude as the king Khan prays for his back in his mother’s graveyard. Nasreen however ruled out any sparks of controversy to be any reason behind the documentary. She tried her level best to keep a clear picture of the person, but gave SRK enough time and privacy. SRK watched the film thrice before giving its approval and was in quite deep thoughts after watching it. SRK is a family-centric person and loves to be with his lovely wife and kids. The document comes to an end with Shahrukh’s birthday. Produced and directed the first television series on Indian cinema to be broadcast on UK channel 4; it surely is something that SRK’s fans would die for. (source)

There are some very sweet scenes with his family at their home, Mannat, celebrating diwali. Shahrukh explains that his son understands what he does for a living but jokes that his little daughter still thinks that he’s Aamir Khan.

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In case you decide to stalk Mr. Khan, his driveway and front yard in Bandra look like this:

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You can follow THIS LINK and as long as it lasts it will show SRK and his cute little beti and some scenes at Mannat that I’ve screen capped here.

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Khan’s back problems and treatment methods are covered.  He sees a doctor and physical therapist.

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He also sees an energy healer for his back pain. SRK even demonstrates his back massaging skills that he’s probably learned from his own treatments on his friend, director and choreographer, Farah Khan, behind the scenes of Main Hoon Na.

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One of the sweetest scenes for me in the documentary is Shahrukh’s trip back to the school he attended as a kid in Delhi.   The brothers are so happy to see him and SRK states that he felt so touched to be back in a place where people knew him before he was famous.

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The documentary did have one disturbing segment to me; Karan Johar fawning over SRK, giggling about how he would be so afraid to ever have Khan yell at him.  I recall Johar saying something like, “I just don’t know WHAT I’d do if he ever yelled at me.  I think I’d just start crying!  I’ve gotten a lot of help and advice from Gauri about how to handle Shahrukh and his moods.  When he’s angry, it’s best to stay away.  I would just never want him to yell at me!”  I wanted to get up and go through the TV screen and give Johar a tight slap to the face to snap him out of his fantasy.  I think he’d actually LOVE to have Shahrukh yell at him.  Then he could cry and hope that SRK would gently cradle him in his arms and stroke his hair.

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Alright Dosto, thanks for reading and check back for the next post which will be on The Outer World of Shahrukh Khan.