This isn’t one of those movies you await with bated breath and line up for first-day-first-show tickets. No, this is a different kind of film. There is no Khan or Kumar, no leading lady in skimpy clothes, no foreign locales and no flashy promotion video to lure you into the theaters. There is a script that doesn’t depend on star presence and manages to ground the movie. There is an actor who gives it his absolute best. There is a director who creates with conviction. As a result, there is a rock solid, well-made film. And sometimes, that’s better than any big budget bonanza that Bollywood churns out so rampantly.
UTV has always been a production house to do things differently. With their latest venture, Aamir, under their new banner UTV Spotboy, they have done something that most films this year haven’t been able to do; they have risen above all odds. The majority of movies this year are hyped to the hilt, but once they hit the screen they fall flat. Why? AUDIENCES WANT MORE! They want more than a glossy film that has loads of stars, but no story. They want more than a woman in a bikini that hardly does any acting. They want more from an industry that has the power, the potential and the talent to achieve the extraordinary. We, the audiences, have grown up.
Aamir is a film for us—the audience that is no longer satiated with a typical over-the-top entertainer that barely entertains.
It takes you through the tiny alleys of Mumbai that are rarely explored on celluloid only because most would be afraid to film there. Not director Rajkumar Gupta, who took his entire cast and crew right in the middle of Mumbai and let the cameras roll. The result is for all to witness—a film that is high on octane but even higher on substance. Aamir Ali (Rajeev Khandelwal), a Muslim NRI, arrives in Mumbai from London to visit his family only to find that they aren’t there to receive him at the airport. Someone throws a ringing cell phone into his hand and tells him that he must answer it. He does. And so his journey begins, to several corners of Mumbai while his life and destiny lies in the hands of a man he doesn’t know. So who says a man writes his own destiny? Bakwaas hai.
It often amazes me why filmmakers flock to foreign locations for no rhyme or reason, when in fact; India has got unbelievable soul that deserves to be captured on celluloid. Aamir takes various snapshots of Mumbai and plasters them on celluloid, making for a thrilling experience that intensely conveys the daily toil and struggle for survival in a city with over twenty million people. Cinematographer Alphonse Roy creates striking frames that make you see Mumbai from a completely different angle, one that most of us are unfamiliar with.
The theme has been explored before but this film proves that it’s not themes that get repetitive but treatment. Full praise goes to Rajkumar Gupta, a first-time director, for seeing it from a different angle and most of all managing to execute it as such. It’s easy to fall into stereotypical events and situations with a film like this, but Gupta is innovative in each and every scene. It shows.
In fact, the work that has gone into this modestly budgeted flick seeps through every single second—whether it’s the cinematography, dialogue, art direction, music, lighting and all the behind the scenes work that goes into creating a film.
Though India often creates truly mesmerizing cinematic work, filmmakers seem to have a tendency to conveying their message at a slow pace; often alienating a certain section of the audience who would rather that the film shuts up and gets on with it. In this sense, Aamir moves briskly with each minute contributing to a climatic ending that comes at just the right time.
Finally, it makes you think. It makes you think…is it possible to really write your own destiny? Could this happen to you? What would you do in protagonist Aamir Ali’s shoes? What do you do when you face such a predicament, such a life-altering decision? It’s a question of morals, an aspect of our lives many of us shy away from addressing.
Rajeev Khandelwal doesn’t get a glamorous debut