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 revolves 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.
I 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.
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.
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.
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.