I AM – the film
Four different stories, yet interconnected by a common string. Afia, Megha, Abhimanyu and Omar, I AM explores four independent individuals battling the society in their struggle for existence.
A woman whose husband had been cheating on her, an embittered Kashmiri Pandit who goes back to Kashmir to cut off her last remaining link to the valley, a successful documentary film maker with a dark past, a homosexual man grappling with the homophobic system which wants to exploit him, I AM slowly narrates the stories, unravels the hidden “me” inside them and takes the audience through a two hour long journey of the human spirit.
The success of I AM lies in the huge list of “co producers” the film got when the threat of shelving the project loomed large. Onir is an honest film maker. After a failed attempt with Bas Ek Pal, he has emptied his creativity in I AM. A slice of life is complemented in each of the stories. After Mumbai Meri Jaan, i have seen the first film where four different tracks meet without looking forced.
Out of the four films, I Am Omar touched a chord with me specially because i have heard many tales of how gays are harassed by the police and “Bhai’s” for “violating Indian culture”, even post the Delhi High Court verdict of July 2009. I have experienced the deep seated hatred and loathing some people still have for men who love men. I Am Abhimanyu was a half baked tale according to me. Some strings were deliberately let lose, and Onir did not bother solving the puzzle. But, Radhika Apte and Shernaz Patil (with their miniscule roles in this segment) made up for the loss with their acting. [Anybody who has seen Antaheen knows how much i loved Radhika in that film]. Nandita Das has been my favourite actor since i first saw her in Earth. She is her usual self in this film, although a bit undertoned. Deliberate? Or experimental?
Another magnificent facet of this film that you can treasure is the background score mingling with the sublime pictures of the cities the stories are based in. Calcutta was last portrayed so beautifully in Antaheen and The Namesake. From Maidan to the metro, Floatel to Tollygunj, dusk to dawn, Onir captures the city as if she were his muse.
But the story that you take away with you, screen time that becomes an experience, makes you sit back and think, is definitely I AM Megha. The everlasting hatred between Kashmiri Pandits and Muslims, the past that does not let us move forward, the present that is caught up in the past and the illusionary prospects of future – Megha and Rubina project Kashmir as it is now. Rubina’s last comments as Megha is leaving will keep your neurons over worked
“What if i was the one who left, and you were trapped in this confinement of paradise?”
I AM may not be the best technically sound film you have watched in recent times. It works because it has faith in its production. I AM clicks because in some frame of the film, you can see yourself.
If life throws a lemon at you, make lime juice and drink it. The journey of life faces derailment at every crossroads, it is the decision which we make charts our course. Worry not about the road not taken and travel miles before you sleep. I AM therefore I WILL LIVE.
My rating : 3/5
P.S. My “minireview” of Source Code – Borrowed concept,conventional acting,typical ‘bollywood’ish climax,but worth one time watch. You will be reminded of Inception, there are influences of Avatar in the way synaptic transmissions and neuroactivations have been talked about in the film. A rather good treat turned sour because of the “old track” ending. My rating – 2.5/5