Movie Review: Aamir
(*Warning : Some spoilers ahead)
Here's the thing about Aamir – by the end of the movie, I wanted it to end, so I could leave the hall. But, doesn't that mean the film wasn't good? Actually, it was, very very good. As the film twisted and turned through the narrow galies of Dongri and Mohammed Ali Road, I was left thinking, how uneasily the notion, 'we don't write our own fate' sits on me.
The script is tight and the direction (for a first timer) is great. It begins on a plane, and follows the protagonist Aamir Ali, through the few hours after he alights from the flight from London. The airport immigration officer checking his luggage four times ostensibly because he's a Muslim foreign-returned doctor is a bit exaggerated. Class and education still continue to have a hold over our consciousness no matter how many 'terrorists' have been found to possess degrees.
The moment he steps out of the airport, Aamir heads for the payphone – his family that was supposed to come receive him isn't there. And that's when the drama begins. Two men on a motorcycle drive up to him, and throw a phone at him. It rings. A taxi drives up and he is commanded to sit in it by the voice at the other end of the phone (the Islamic fundamentalist without the beard, or indeed, much hair at all. No pandering to stereotypes so nice touch of realism there). His samaan is loaded into the car, there's nothing he can do. Or is there? Couldn't Aamir have just walked to the nearest police station and reported the matter and left it to 'good guys'?
Even as I write this I know my answer. In such a realist movie, there are no good guys. And that's the scary part.
His family has been kidnapped and to get them released, he just has to follow the instructions being issued to him from the other end of the phone. What I found a bit forced was that along with the instructions, the voice also tried to instill some doctrine into the foreign-returned Muslim doctor to make him realise his duties towards his 'ilk'.
Indoctrination in my opinion is not a matter of phone call that succeeds an act of terror. Nor should the angst or anger of a fundamentalist, however right or wrong, be reduced to that. But I guess the whole point of the movie is also to show that such fundamentalism is as fatalistic as the social conditions that they're seeking to redress. And Aamir, champion of the laissez faire, self-made man philosophy, is ultimately cut down by such fundamentalism.
That is, till the very end. Sitting in bus, he's made to leave a suitcase below his seat and walk away. 'Do this, and we'll set your family free,' he's told. Once again, there is nothing he can do but listen to the voice. That is, till he realises, there is something that he can do. And that kismet is not written wholly by the individual, but it isn't quite the script of the social circumstances either that we MUST follow. And that's when Aamir lives up to his name: the leader.
If there is such a thing as kismet, it's certainly not written solely by the self. Religion, class, caste gender.. and all such social markers of identity cannot be ignored in our effort to break out of them. But there is such a thing as human will. Amen to that.
Movie Review: Aamir
- » Published on June 17, 2008
- » Type: Opinion
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