• Genre:
    Social drama
  • Cast:
    Rajeev Khandelwal
  • Director:
    Raj Kumar Gupta
Aamir is the most harrowing film I've seen this year. It's also the most outstanding debut an actor and director have made in a long, long time. Writer-director Raj Kumar Gupta, actor Rajeev Khandelwal and creative producer Anurag Kashyap create a Kafakaesque nightmare that is so plausible that by the end you are hardly breathing. Aamir Ali, a London-returned doctor lands in Mumbai. He comes wearing a tie and a suit and bearing gifts for his family, who will be waiting for him at the airport. But when he finally gets past the immigration and custom officials who check his records twice and open all his luggage because his name is Aamir, he discovers that they are not there. Instead two men hand him a mobile phone and a voice begins to instruct him on a job that he must do if he wants to see his family alive again. What follows is a relentless, brutal journey that ends, as it must, in gut-wrenching tragedy. To call Aamir a thriller would be reducing its power and ambition. The film is an eloquent statement on the state of the nation and the Indian Muslim. But Gupta doesn't go for easy polemics. Instead, he takes us through the minutiae of lives in areas like Dongri and Behndi Bazar. His camera snakes through dirty lanes and decrepit buildings and even a bathroom in a chawl that is so vile that Aamir throws up when he emerges from it. Which makes the voice on the phone remark: dekha, hamen hagne ki jagah nahin dete toh jeene ki kya denge. This isn't the underbelly of Mumbai. It's the city's beating, living heart that largely remains invisible for people like us. There are a few bumps in the narrative but mostly, the film maintains its claustrophobic tension. The music and background score by Amit Trivedi is haunting. And remarkably Khandelwal who is in every frame doesn't hit a false note. His bewilderment, helplessness and anger are palpable. I strongly recommend that you make time for Aamir. It's a horror story that we are all part of.
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