Aamir poster

Aamir

wogma rating: Beg or borrow, but do watch (?)

quick review:

There isn't one single department which can claim that it carried Aamir on its shoulders. Each and everything - make-up, set design/locations, background music, lighting, camera work, dialogue, and of course acting work towards creating the build-up and the final impact. And what's more religious fundamentalism is dealt with subtlety - the lost virtue. It has been maintained almost throughout, except for the abruptness of the background music in parts and the portrayal of the antagonist.

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Director: Rajkumar Gupta
Running time: 95 minutes
Genres: Social, Thriller
More Movie Info

Aamir - Preview

- meeta, a part of the audience

So many movies based on religious fundamentalism have come and gone, that you wonder if any stone is left unturned in this territory. And then comes along a movie like Aamir that not only defies all standards of film-making in Hindi cinema, but also breaks barriers of approaching the subject. Be warned though, that you are in for a very slow paced, extremely serious cinema.

Movies of this genre are made to inspire the audience. And usually they end up inspiring by a long, unwieldy sermon in the climax. But here, since you are so in tune with what the character is going through just by seeing him, you start thinking how you would react in that situation. And ultimately, you realize its all building towards inspiring you by action and not just by words.

Every time I watch a Hindi movie in which I feel what the protagonist is going through without anyone telling me, but just by observation, it scores with me. Such is the brilliance of the performance by Rajeev Khandelwal who plays Aamir Ali. Despite knowing very little about the kind of person Aamir is, we feel what he is going through on that particular day of his life.

His performance is adequately supported by regular day-to-day dialogues. Also, since the dialogues are minimal, the plain lines don't get boring. The dialogues given to the villain though are repetitive and thus mundane. Also, the "villainish" things he is made to do on his chair in a dimly-lit room are too in-the-face and unimaginative compared to the tone of the rest of the movie. Because they come across as typical, you are reminded that you are actually watching a movie. And thus he hardly strikes terror in the minds of the audience.

What is terrorizing though, is the ambience created by the sets/locations. Be it a stench-filled place, or a claustrophobic hotel room that Aamir is confined in, or the crowded roads where he feels everyone is watching him - all make you feel like getting Aamir out of there as soon as possible.

The lighting keeps in mind the source of natural light in each scene and adds towards the "natural" feel of the movie. Similarly, the camerawork - especially the close-ups and handheld camera movements get you deeper into Aamir's state of mind.

Even the combination of slow pace and short run-time works towards achieving the required impact. There is a bit when 3 minutes into the story, time is actually elongated to maybe almost double its length. But since the movie itself is barely over 90 minutes, and you are so engrossed, the slow motion doesn't get annoying.

The songs complemented this style of narration too. Especially "ghumiyo", which in a way was symbolic. The traffic jam Aamir is trying to resolve seems so much like the confusion in his life that he is trying to sort out. The background score is the only thing that seemed abrupt to me. As in the music itself was very good, but since it didn't flow from one scene to another, it felt jerky.

Maybe, just maybe this movie could have dropped one level on the rating scale for a part of the audience because of its pace, but the build-up in the drama can only be sensed in a closed, dark environment. It would be injustice to all the faculties of film-making by watching it at home, with all the distractions and the smaller screen.

- meeta, a part of the audience

18 reviewers(?) - 15 yays 2 so-so 1 nays

Warning: clicking on "full review" will take you to an external website that could contain spoilers.

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, All Bollywood : ...apart from Rajeev and his portrayal of the reluctant hero, the real protagonist of "Aamir" is Mumbai.... full review

Thumbs up, by Nikhil Kumar, Apun Ka Choice : ...The movie works primarily because its lead player Rajeev Khandelwal lends credence to the character with his finely nuanced performance... full review

Thumbs up, by Shubra Gupta, Express India : ...In an on-the-go film like this, you need crispness at all times: there are not enough heart-in-the-mouth moments... full review

Thumbs up, by Martin D'Souza, Glamsham.com : ...It raises many questions in the mind of the viewer and leaves many questions unanswered... full review

Thumbs up, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...Also despite its running time of only 90 minutes, Aamir does, in a few places, tend to get repetitive and loose.... full review

Thumbs up, by Taran Adarsh, IndiaFM : ...The helplessness of the protagonist has been captured remarkably on celluloid.... full review

Thumbs up, Intermission, The Bookeazy Blog : ...he viewer is made to feel just like the protagonist….helpless and clueless as to what is going on... full review

Thumbs up, Movie Talkies : ...The film is however very gripping thanks to on the most part, crisp editing by Aarti Bajaj, containing the film to less than 2 hours.... full review

Thumbs up, by Hanumant Bhansali, Radio Sargam : ...The shooting locations can be related to the ones that an ordinary man comes across in his daily life... full review

Thumbs up, by Raja Sen, Rediff : ...it explores the Mumbai underbelly with such grit that we can virtually smell the sweat and the biryani... full review

Thumbs up, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...A film that one can blindly recommend after a cascade of disasters the past few months... full review

Thumbs up, by Kavita Ogale, Times Now : ... In the end, we recommend you go watch Aamir if you have an eye for the experimental Hindi film... full review

Thumbs up, by Saakshi Juneja, To Each Its Own : ...If there is such a thing as kismet, it’s certainly not written solely by the self...But there is such a thing as human will. Amen to that.... full review

Thumbs up, Upper Stall : ...After a long time a debutant director leaves a stamp of creativity that is unrivalled by any other single contributor.... full review

So-So, by Khalid Mohamed, Hindustan Times : ...You haven’t ever seen the underbelly of Mumbai the way you do in Aamir directed by first-timer Rajkumar Gupta... full review

So-So, by Gaurav Malani, indiatimes : ... The disturbing camera movements by Alphonse Roy as well as the erratic background score by Amit Trivedi elevate the effect on a subconscious level.... full review

Thumbs down, by Thani, Passion for Cinema : ...remakes have successfully rendered Indian filmmaking spineless, un-audacious, & impotent... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

6 readers - 6 yays 0 so-so 0 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Cell Phone tracking

Yay! Thumbs Up, by forex : awesum. could be more interested but still very very interesting movie

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Iphone Spy

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Portrait nach foto : 75

Yay! Thumbs Up, by rift guide : so good i had to see it twice!

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Rod

This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.

Plot Summary

Aamir (Rajeev Khandelwal) has returned from UK to India after finishing his education as a Doctor. He is in for the rudest shock of his life the hour he reaches India.

What Worked

  • The manner in which Bombay's cityscape is covered. The regular things on a regular morning are shown in such a light manner. Just to show how on such a regular day in the city, Aamir is going to go through the worst day of his life. I liked this especially because I usually find cityscapes boring, especially lengthy coverage.
  • The use of handheld camera to portray Aamir's confusion at the airport when he is looking for his family while pushing the trolley.
  • Little elements that add to the frustration of Aamir and thus the audience - like him getting into a taxi and then realizing that the driver doesn't know the way to the destination.
  • The way it is shown that Aamir feels like everyone is looking at him...really creates a creepy feeling.
  • Use of the traffic signal as a timer.
  • The dig on media by alluding to the fact that they are so unaware of the reality.

What did not

Note: This section simply lists the things that I did not like in this movie. This is not the overall impression about this movie. Please read the full review here

  • Can eye-bags really develop within the course of a few hours? Aamir who is absolutely fresh a few hours ago, has eye-bags now because of the stress he has endured in that time. Cinematic liberty?
  • The use of "Karachi" seems forced into the conversation. The lines using "Karachi" didn’t flow like the lines in the rest of the movie.
  • The giggly prostitute was very annoying - maybe that's what she was meant to do.
  • Inane dialogues to side characters. E.g. The guy who takes Aamir to the don who gives him the side character says, "bhoola kahaan, raasta to aaj yaad aaya" (I didn't forget, I remembered the way just today) What is it supposed to mean?

Nitty-Gritty

This section lists things that I think are not important to the overall impact of the movie. In most cases, it could be explained away by something like, "we noticed the glitch after the scene was shot and there were schedule/budget issues and thus we could not re-shoot it". I like giving the makers the benefit of doubt, but I am amused nevertheless. Hopefully, they will tickle you too.

  • A couple of product placements blended well with the general natural feel of the movie. Otherwise, these are rather irritating and on-the-face.
  • The taxi's number was MH 03 6688. Number plates of vehicles in Maharashtra have two letter in between the two digit and the four digit numbers. Where did that disappear?
  • A sign reading 'RISARVAD' instead of "Reserved" in a restaurant. Cute but a little overkill, maybe?
  • There was this guy in a blue shirt who was talking to a policeman. He was shown passing from right to left twice with a cut of Rajeev Khandelwal talking to the phone booth lady in between. How come twice in such a short time? Looked like some error.

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: There are a couple violent scenes, which are not necessarily gory, but could still scare kids who are not used to watching violence.
  • Sexual content: None.
  • Concept: Since, the basic idea revolves around religious fundamentalism, I doubt kids under 10 would even be able to grasp what the movie is about.
  • General Look and Feel: The pace of the movie itself is a deterrent for kids to watch it. Besides, the movie has a very serious tone, I'd think its not conducive to a patient watch from kids.

Aamir - Cast, crew, links

Official Sites:
Supporting Cast:
Screenplay:
Dialogues:
Cinematography:
Action Choreography:
Music Director:
Costume Designer:
Art Direction:
Running time:
95 minutes
Reviewer:
Language:
Country:
Genres:

Comments (18)

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Review - Aamir...

There isn't one single department which can claim that it carried Aamir on its shoulders. Each and everything - make-up, set design/locations, background music, lighting, camera work, dialogue, and of course acting work towards creating the build-up a...

[...] thinks Aamir is a must watch. The only drawback, if there is one, seems to be the pace, which is a tad slow. So many movies based on religious fundamentalism have come and gone, that you wonder if any stone [...]

Thank you Subur! Will try my best!!

Hey Mayur! I did read somewhere about Aamir being a copy of Cavite. I haven't seen Cavite, but in general, I think if it is copied well, contextualised to the situation well, lines are written well, it is alright.

Basically, unlike written work, which can just be copied and pasted, making a movie still involves making a lot of decisions in context with your movie. E.g. Whatever might have been copied, you can't take the credit away from Rajeev for his performance or from the way the streets of Bombay were captured.

Also, if I reserved my praise only for original movies, I would be praising very little, wouldn't I? ;)

Cheers!!

Hey Meetu,

The background score was brilliant in the movie; a definite highlight. I felt the movie paced just right tho..

And Iam thanking heavens that they didn't introduce us to his love life while breaking into a song !!

Definitely a very good debut overall..but, to quote one of my friends,"A good movie, but a commercial disaster." :-(

Meetu,

Excellent review for an exceptional movie. But after watching it, I kinda didnt get answer to a question, " Why him of all the people ? The gang was so well knit, so y didnt any of them do it? ". I felt there is no proper explanation to this except for the frequent mention of "comm" in the movie. Dont you think so?

!!! Major Spoilers in this comment !!!


Lol Sudhir, about the love song. Or if the movie didnt end the way it did.


The thing is, I don't think makers of such movies are actually looking at a major commercial success, they just want to make their kind of cinema and appreciate the appreciation their movies get. Of course, if they commercial success then, nothing like it! But what i am saying is they are prepared for the blow.


Thanks Vimal. Oh, I didn't look at the movie from "why him?" point of view. I took that as a given, an assumption. I think my brain worked backwards after the movie was over. As in, we read/hear in the news that there was a bomb blast and it was done using a suicide bomber. What could be the possible story of such a bomber? And here is one possibility.

!!! Spoiler Warning !!! Spoilers in this post !!!

Anupam, the movie would be a 10 minutes long if it went the way you are suggesting :)

Jokes apart, I don't think he would have kept the briefcase anyway. Ultimately, did he do what he was asked to do when he came to know their intentions?

I agree, the "kaum" bit was a little inane.

I am assuming he was made to go round and round the city for him to see the conditions that people from his "kaum" stay in.

!!! Mild spoiler ahead !!!

Yeah Sudeep, I thought it had glimpses from Phone Booth too, but I dismissed it because I thought the feel must be because of the constant use of phone.

About the medication, maybe his asthama isn't acute.

Neo

my take on this movie.
http://viralshah.blogspot.com/2008/06/aamir-review-leading-by-example.html

!!Spoiler Warning !!

An absolutely amazing movie, and a very fitting review. Congrats Meetu. I landed here through your Twitter account.

The movie is an absolute watch. I recommend this, urgently to everyone. Urgent, 'coz if you miss this one, God knows how soon will you be fortunate enough to watch another decent Hindi flick.

And now, to answer a few queries (Just my 2 cents). The whole idea of using Aamir for the mission was to make him realize the seriousness of the situation. Possibly, they wanted him to execute something like this in the U.K. But Aamir returned to India, adding to the frustration of the "kaum". They looked at Aamir as someone who fled U.K., when they were expecting him to fight. They wanted to teach him a lesson, and hence used him for the mission. And yes, making him run around in the city was to make him realize the situation of their people.

All in all, very good cinema.

Meetu, I liek dthe way you have structured tour website. "Reviews", "Each To His Own", "Just A Thought" - all very useful series.

Didn't go through the rest of the website, but would love to see a Box-Office status feature included as well. Something that I found at www.boxofficeindia.com.

Keep writing. Keep Rocking.

Thanks, Ankit! I think this will be the last week Aamir will have more than a couple of shows. :( All high profile movies coming up this week and next.

Budget and Revenue was one of the first fields I had entered in my database. But, I don't put in numbers there because I don't know of an authentic source. Also, it will have to be updated regularly until, DVD and TV rights are sold. And that information is not really easy to get.

Thanks, once again!

I am amused with the comment the "Kaum" repeating part was lame - because issues like that these are primarily roused to create rifts. In the year 2008, its as real as the people around you.

@Anupam - the idea of making him roam around was to break his spirit. You can't accept compliance in the initial few minutes. What he did in the end was against their expectations - he acted like AAMIR - the leader and did something for (his) people (his not restricted by religion at all). That was the beauty of the movie.

Though I am dissapointed to find out that its a copy. A good one nevertheless.

The twist with the briefcase was juvenile coz had they told him in the beginning itself to leave it in the bus, he would have(the change in plans alerts him to the possibilities) and the fundamentalists would have gotten away. Also, the morality or the “kaum” bit really felt like an after thought as if the mysterious caller only said those dialogues to fill in silences or lulls on conversation.

Still haven't seen this but what raving review

Very interesting movie i like it very much.

I liked the movie. I saw this movie by chance but i found this interesting. Story was very good. The best part in this movies was, it has no too much songs.

Really liked this movie, had me on the edge of my seat all the way through.

I really wonder what this movie got out of box offices. That probably tell the directors to make such serious movies or not.

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