Sunday, June 22, 2008

Aamir Review: Leading by Example

Aamir-2008 Once in a while you come across a movie which stays with you long after you are out of the movie theater. A movie which will leave you with an impression to ponder upon over and over. Aamir is a movie which rightfully belongs to this category. Directed by a first timer Rajkumar Gupta, who is also the story writer, Aamir is a thriller from the word go . But classifying it just as a thriller, is not only unfair but also unjust. Aamir has so much to offer for the discerning viewer. From interpreting the director's craft to addressing morals - Aamir has it all.

Based on a premise of whether a man makes his own destiny, the story weaves religious fundamentalism to make a rich fabric. The film starts off at the airport where the protagonist, by the name Aamir Ali, is returning to India for good. From there, in a mix of fast and slow paced short 90 minutes, it takes you through the by-lanes, chawls, shady lodges and restaurants of Mumbai. The director does a masterly job in making use of these locations and local bystanders to convey across strong messages. Never does the director waste a frame which doesn't move the film forward. While there are many scenes I can rave about, few need a special mention. Like the one when the protagonist passes through a lane full of butcher shops has personification at its peek. Or the scene where Aamir is watching a clip about deer hunted by lions and just could not help relating to it. And countless other scenes where the director makes a wise choice by conveying the message through visuals and silent action leaving it to a viewers' discretion rather than verbally bashing it down.

But the film is not only about its Director, its story and the craft behind it. It is also about debutante Actor Rajeev Khandelwal's fine performance. His portrayal of Aamir is so vivid. The confusion, anxiety, frustration, fear is so palpable as if you are going through those emotions. He is a rare find. I just hope he doesn't lose his way in mindless "formula based masala" movies.

Aamir, unlike its meaning - The Leader, is a commoner. He is one of us who wants to lead his life his way. He is the guy who is selfish in earning a good meal for his family and doesn't bother with larger issues of society. But he is the same guy who would stand out in trying times, showing the leader in him.

The film belongs to two set of people. Cinematically, its an ode to inexperience talent over talentless experience. It  belongs to first timers - be it the director, actor, music director, cinematographer. Morally, it belongs to everyone of us who believe that we create our own path. While we might not be in a position to dictate our destiny but always have an informed choice on how to react to what's written in it. Here, Aamir - leads by example.