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

quick review:

I AM is a set of strong 4 short films. Each one of them is well-made and takes you into its own little world.

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Director: Onir
Running time: 110 minutes
More Movie Info

I AM (English, Hindi) - Preview

The synopsis tells us about the people that form four stories that the film compiles. Each one of them have lost their identity because of various socio-political reasons. They can move on only if they deal with their past. The film touches upon taboo topics - homosexuality, sexual abuse, motherhood without a man.

Yes, this is more than enough to pique my interest. Even if Onir manages to mess the execution - the film does boasts as being made by 400 people across 35 cities - too many cooks? - the topics itself are so interesting that I'm curious about the stories by themselves. The writing would have to be awfully superficial to be uninteresting.

And of course, there are awesome performers to look forward to. Juhi Chawla, Sanjay Suri, Nandita Das, Rahul Bose, Purab Kohli - these people have hardly ever failed us.

There's something else that gives a feel that this film is "different." Somehow, these names give the film credence of passion. Maybe it's because many of these names are known activists. But it feels like they have a personal take on the stories and is beyond just a 'job'. Maybe a part of expecting something "different" comes from the fact that these stories are true life incidents. Maybe a part of it is also that the "I AM Abhimanyu" is the story of a popular blogger, a dear acquaintance, and an adorable person.

If you haven't guessed it yet, I am so absolutely looking forward to watching this one. Till then, enjoy this trailer and the music reviews are listed below.

Music reviews:
milliblog - "I Am has an interesting soundtrack, but it isn’t compelling enough…despite Amit Trivedi."
music aloud - "8.25/10"
Bollyspice - "3/5"
Bollywood Hungama - "2.5/5"
HappySing - "Lovely album."

- meeta, a part of the audience

A social commentary on four very contemporary topics without getting into sermons, itself is an amazing experience. It's non-judgmental and makes you feel for each of its characters. Each story is so beautifully scripted that you don't really care if they are linked to each other or not. Nor does it bother you that you don't know how they all fit in on a timeline. You are willing to go with the flow and take it matter-of-factly when a character from one story appears in another one without any specific purpose.

All that matters are the characters and what they are going through. Afia wants to be a mother, if she can't find a man, she'll get a donor. Everyone around her thinks she has gone nuts but you want to root for her. Megha is bitter, but you don't mind the resentment because she has after all been uprooted from her homeland in the most cruel fashion. How can you not feel for Abhimanyu who has been molested as a child, even though he has now turned into a person who doesn't mind using people around him. And Omar well, his story is more about the story and mistreatment afforded towards homosexuality rather than his character. You feel confused with the actors, you see their dilemma and their pain. If they are stubborn you want to give them the benefit of doubt.

The treatment given to each story is consistent and has a very smooth flow. That must be some achievement considering it involved different teams working on each of them. Of course, there are times when you feel like there are some parts that you'd like to know more about. For example, Afia's story feels complete. But obviously for a topic as broad as the situation of the people in Kashmir, Megha's half-hour can do only so much justice. It still doesn't take away from the beauty that you feel bad for both her and her friend Rubina.

Abhimanyu's story is also painted very broadly but then again, I'm not sure whether we want to know/see the gory details, especially when they are coming along with so many heavy issues. Same goes for Omar's homosexuality. The logistics are unclear but then again you don't know how much more you want to hear.

All of this only makes me think that each one of these deserved a little more time, maybe even a film each. But as it stands, they are serious short films, have some brilliant performances, are well-shot and executed. A worthy watch, you just need to get into that serious mode.

- meeta, a part of the audience

30 reviewers(?) - 20 yays 10 so-so 0 nays

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

Thumbs up, by Bobby Sing, Bobby Talks Cinema.com : ...Movies To See Before You Die... full review

Thumbs up, by Prateeksha Khot, Bolly Spice : ...The best part of the movie is that Onir doesn't overplay any characters or scenes and lays it all out before you without spoon feeding you. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Taran Adarsh, Bollywood Hungama : ...based on true stories and bona fide incidents, entertains, engages and enriches those thirsting for intelligent, sensible cinema. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Ameetbhuvan, Desi Martini : ...Subtle And Hard Hiting... full review

Thumbs up, by Payal, Desi Martini : ...I Am' is not only a movie with strong narration but also the thought has been screened beautifully.... full review

Thumbs up, by Deepa Gahlot, Film Impressions : ...The film has some jagged edges, but Onir is earnest, honest and not afraid to make a statement at a time when films are meant to be just light entertainment.... full review

Thumbs up, by Deepa Deosthalee, Film Impressions : ...I Am is the voice of characters living on the fringes of 'respectable' society, marginalised for being deviants, or victims of forces beyond their control.... full review

Thumbs up, by Pankaj Sabnani, Glamsham.com : ...I AM is a kind of film which makes you think about it, long after the end credits are over... full review

Thumbs up, by Divya Solgama, Gomolo.in : ...everyone might not like this film as it’s too dark and bold... full review

Thumbs up, by Rajeev Masand, IBN Live : ...There is however, a slight sloppiness to the dialogues in the third film starring Sanjay Suri, and interlinking the four stories through common characters comes off as a tad labored. ... full review

Thumbs up, india today : ...The rawness of the material in the Megha episode set in the Valley makes up for the incongruity of Manisha Koirala's Kashmiri accent and for some of the truly ugly sexuality on display here.... full review

Thumbs up, by Shubhra Gupta, indian express : ...'I Am' may be overstated and overwritten in parts, but it has power. This is the kind of film Bollywood should be making more of. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Sanjukta Sharma, Live Mint : ...Despite the monotone sensibility and simplicity of technique, I Am is a triumph... full review

Thumbs up, by Subhash K Jha, Now Running.com : ...unique rhythm, different mood textures ... full review

Thumbs up, by Sukanya Verma, Rediff : ...It's not a flawless film that will change the course of cinema but a relevant one, funded by more than 400 individuals, that has more on its mind than today's news. ... full review

Thumbs up, by Sonia Chopra, Sify Movies : ...The film, however, falters in its stilted dialogue and at-times clumsy execution. ... full review

Thumbs up, by K N Gupta, SmasHits.com : ...Onir dares film world... full review

Thumbs up, by Janhvi Patel, StarBoxOffice : ...I Am deals with controversial issues and rides on the shoulders of its impressive performances.... full review

Thumbs up, by Nikhat Kazmi, Times of India : ...Watch I Am for talking unapologetically about real issues in real India. And also, for the performances. ... full review

Thumbs up, by The ThirdMan, Upper Stall : ...a really good effort in terms of filmmaking but finally, the film still has you wanting that little something more...... full review

So-So, by Aparajita Ghosh, Apun Ka Choice : ...For the most part, the stories remain somewhat open-ended, giving each viewer the room for their interpretation.... full review

So-So, by Gautam Chintamani, Buzz in Town : ...I Am is just what an independent film should be--daring, different and thought provoking. ... full review

So-So, by Aniruddha Guha, DNA : ...a small film with a big heart... full review

So-So, by Mayank Shekhar, Hindustan Times : ...It should also be as noted achievement for online social networks that, along with professional producers, the filmmaker found 400 unknown investors from across 45 cities of the world to back this vision. ... full review

So-So, by Komal Nahta, koimoi : ...I Am may be a bold and good attempt for the festival circuit but it will have to struggle hard to establish its own identity in the commercial arena. ... full review

So-So, by Tushar Joshi, MiD DAY : ...Definitely a piece of work that can't be ignored, I AM works because it fosters debate, discussion on topics that are still considered to be a taboo.... full review

So-So, by Anupama Chopra, NDTV : ...an earnest but uneven exploration of identity and fear, woven through four inter-linked stories. ... full review

So-So, by Mansha Rastogi, Now Running.com : ...very sensible film made with a lot of hard work... full review

So-So, by Namrata Joshi, Outlook India : ...Has something that most contemporary, uber-slick Bollywood flicks lack--quietude and calm. It's a world of thoughtful pauses than a furious pace. ... full review

So-So, by Shilpa Jamkhandikar, Reuters : ...Intentions good, not execution... full review

Twitter reviews for this movie are not available.

7 readers - 3 yays 1 so-so 3 nays

Yay! Thumbs Up, by garcinia cambogia extract

Yay! Thumbs Up, by Rema Anand : Bold , gritty , non judgemental coupled with fabulous acting.

Yay! Thumbs Up, by sell silver nj

So-So, by metacafe.com

Nay! Thumbs Down, by Harshad : ok ok movie

Nay! Thumbs Down, by Nate

Nay! Thumbs Down, by watch The Amazing Spider Man

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

Parental Guidance:

  • Violence: A bit hear and there. But sexual violence is in abundance.
  • Language: Hindi abuses and English ones muted out.
  • Nudity & Sexual content: Gay sex, child sex abuse and scenes with making out.
  • Concept: 4 very pertinent social issues touched upon.
  • General Look and Feel: dark, gray and blue

Detailed Ratings (out of 5):

Lead Actors:
Character Artists:
Music Director:

I AM - Cast, crew, links

Background Score:
Running time:
110 minutes

Comments (2)

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@nupur @moviebhakt both mistakes corrected. thanks for pointing it out.

Rema Anand

Just watched the DVD... The treatment of the stories is simple yet riveting. Good acting by the entire cast. Overlapping of the characters in the stories could've been avoided but it doesn't spoil the movie. On the whole a very different, very engaging movie.

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