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.

aamirphone2

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.

aamirleader

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.

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

  1. Hi Sita-ji!Wow, this makes me really want to see it. It sounds original and suspenseful. I own it but haven’t watched it yet–I have a feeling I ended up with a bad pirate but can’t be sure yet.:S

  2. Nicki-ji,
    Thanks girl! I amended my post to add a link to yours. Hope that’s OK. Yours was great. I’m glad you pointed it out since I’d missed it. I had read about it being loosely based on Cavite and apreciate your detailed write up. :)

    Nida-ji,
    Thanks dost. Check it out and report back. :)

  3. I loved how gritty this film was, yes! That’s the perfect word Sita-ji. I remember starting it with the intent to see only about the first 30 minutes or so, but it had me hooked. My folks and I saw this together, and we had a fun debate on the merits (or lack thereof) of the climax, which my mom clearly won :)

    Haan Reham is beautiful, although it’s as much a dialogue with the Almighty as it is a poem offering Him praise. (In other words, the subtitles on your DVD were closer to what the song is.) I agree that all the songs are splendid.

    While on the subject, Khuda Ke Liye, I thought, was a much better and more accurate portrayal of the divide within the community. Your movies’ list suggests you’ve seen it. What did you think?

  4. Aaaaww, thanks Sita-ji.

    I failed to mention how much I enjoyed the music even though it’s really underrated.

    Forgot to answer your question. I only want to be a leader in my family and that’s it. :)

  5. Nicki-ji!
    Thanks for stopping back and letting us know. :)

    TheBollywoodFan-ji,
    You know normally I catch if someone has blogged about a movie and work in those links first, but for some reason I missed BOTH your and Nicki’s posts. I think I saw yours and figured it was another Aamir you were writing about and missed it. I’ve linked yours into the post, easier to ask forgiveness than permission, hai na? ;) I’m glad you liked the music. I know that translation didn’t match up with the DVD I had, and now I regret not being ambitious enough to transcribe those lyrics to post, since those were more lyrical. Yes, I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy this film, actually had is twice from the library and never got to it, but I’d heard it was well reviewed, so I finally got to it. I loved the real time aspect of it. And as soon as he was bothered in customs and finally cleared and the customs officer asked the next man’s name and it was like Amar or Ahmed, I loved the dark ironic humor and was hooked.

    I love your quote in your post on the film about explaining new lead actor, “Think of Khandelwal as at the intersection of Jimmy Shergill and Emran Hashmi.” EXACTLY! Reminds me of my thought (or is this the thought of many?) that Lara Dutta is a modern Zenaat Aman. Or that the missing link between Sridevi and is Madhuri Dixit is Manisha Koirala, right? They could pass as cousins or sisters I believe in their more spunky character rolls…but I digress.

    One day I will alphabetize my movies’ list, or organize it in a better way. :) But somehow you found that yes, I have indeed seen ”Khuda Kay Liye” and that certainly left me with a few emotions to sort out afterward. You’re right in that it’s a better depiction of the divide. (you know my inner Pakistani, former professional singer who moved to the US for college part is speaking) Lekin it was so much longer and also covered several generations and spanned 3 countries, or maybe 4, right? I forgot about where the girl was kidnapped to. I have even again now thought of this film recently with all that water boarding in the news, taking me back to the interrogation scenes set in Chicago, which I wanted to think couldn’t happen here, but knowing really they could. Naseeruddin Shah was awesome in that. (enjoyed him in Parzania the other day) Ah, and the poor young lad who was mislead by the warped interpretation of Islam. So very “Dil Se”-Manisha. And of course I loved the gori sub plot and her saying lots of clueless things, but girl, you didn’t have to toss out that wine for Allah! Nahin! OK, sorry I digress again! I think that was my first Pakistani film, but parallel, so not a complete picture, so just the other day I saw another Lollywood film, the 1950’s Dupatta with Noor Jehan, which I was hipped to over at Richard’s blog. http://roughinhere.wordpress.com/2009/04/14/dupatta-urdu-1952/ Going over to your site to read what you have to say about Khuda Kay Liye…

    inshallah

  6. Well, I read it somewhere that the Director had already registered the script before filipino movie got released. Anyways…

    This one is really an awesome movie. And music [Amit Trivedi] is fantastic. Ha Raham..is outstanding, so is ‘Ek Lau iss tarah’ which later got replayed numerous times on news channels at the time of Mumbai Massacre. Now fingers crossed what the director-actor duo has next in pipeline, as they are making another movie.

  7. Banno-ji,
    Thanks for stopping in and linking in your suburb review. Wonderful! I had this movie checked out several times from the library before I forced myself to watch it. Something about Hindu-Muslim tension and terrorism is something I have to be in the mood to watch. Actually, I’m never in the mood, but I was home sick from work and there was that movie again, so in it went into the DVD player. And talk about more religious and cultural tension, adding Parsi and Sikh into the mix, fairly recently I’d watched Amu (2005), Parzania (2007), and Khuda Kay Liye (2007), so you can understand I was really more in the mood for some light Masala. I’m not sure if it’s a different take as far as thought, since I agree very much with your review. Indeed the movie is fraught with negative stereotypes that have been beaten into the ground. I have no right or knowledge to speak from any first hand experience, and am really a more shallow blogger. ;) Sort of like “Hey look, did you see this?” type of take. I specialize in the shallow. :) I can only imagine how frustrating such a film could be. Even me, a gori from Minneapolis, MN USA, struggled with how to describe the setting of the film’s neighborhoods and was so glad to actually read the names of the neighborhoods in your review (Chor Bazar, Bhendi Bazar, and Dongri…and cut and pasted them into the amended end of this post, thanks.) :) I just settled on “back streets” not wanting to invoke anything by saying ghetto. I do like how films can manipulate us and I do believe this film’s subject matter is literally and figuratively dynamite for such manipulation. Yet not all audiences are aware of this power of films and then they are in danger of being affected by such negative stereotyping. Love your review!
    p.s.
    Enjoyed catching a glimpse of YOU HERE in Memsaab’s exciting post. I was in Delhi in January, and I like to think perhaps we passed on the street without knowing it. At any rate I was on your turf. :)

    Darshit-ji,
    Yes, I had read about that too. I may have to see the Filipino version after reading Nicki’s blog too. Too many movies, too little time. I look forward to that next movie project too. :)

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