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I AM  : I Am: a good movie
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Friday, April 29, 2011
Nandita Das, Purab Kohli, Juhi Chawla, Manisha Koirala, Sanjay Suri, Radhika Apte, Rahul Bose, Abhimanyu Singh, Arjun Mathur.
I AM Movie Stills
Nimbly interwoven multilingual stories of four characters which are unusual in substance but have the same objective of getting back their lost identity.

The plot: The four stories competently illustrate the disturbed lives of all the characters even as they regain themselves by coming to terms with an appalling past. I Am Afia: Afia (Nandita Das) has been cheated on by her husband and is left alone, but that doesn’t suppress her desire to become a mother and raise her child singlehandedly. She chooses an unconventional way to become a mother without needing a man, but the ordeal suffered while taking decisions decides her fate. I Am Meghna: A Kashmiri Pundit (Juhi Chawla) forced to flee her homeland returns to realize where she belongs. She reluctantly confronts her old home with bad memories to adjust herself to a new home. I Am Abhimanyu: A selfish, smart and attractive documentary filmmaker (Sanjay Suri) actually is a shattered, black sheep due to a horrific childhood. To move ahead he has to take a step behind. I Am Omar: This is set in a time when homosexuality was a crime, yet prevailed in the dark corridors and lanes of life. While making out with his new friend Omar (Arjun Mathur), Jai (Rahul Bose) lands in the hands of a vulgar greedy homosexual cop whom Jai has to satisfy financially and sexually to prevent his reputation from being flung out from the dark corridors of homosexuality into the open.

The good: The lifelike impenitent stories makes I Am remarkable cinema that gives us a crude, unadulterated and excruciating picture of the apathy suffered by severely marred characters. No over-the-top drama or any loud emotions, subtlety is what the movie shouts out loud. The pain suffered by each character at different situations is justified well by relatable examples. Special credit to the heart-wrenching performances of the entire cast particularly the special cameos by directors Anurag Kashyap and Anurag Basu. Manav Kaul (Nandita’s husband) and Abhimanyu Singh (cop) are bad enough to make you hate them convincingly and gross you out at the same time. The soulful music by Amit Trivedi, Vivek Philip and Rajiv Bhalla intricately woven amongst the four episodes with good lyrics by Amitabh Bhattacharya and Amitabh Varma, is just right to create empathy. The metaphors dotted in the film make it a cinema for the cerebral. The camera handled by Arvind Kannabiran juxtaposes the distinct four episodes in a way that they don’t look like stories to be filmed but rather incidents to be felt. A must watch after a long time!

– Pooja Thakkar

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