What I Took Away From Aamir (Movie)

What a movie! Direction (by debutant Raj Kumar Gupta who assisted Anurag Kashyap in No Smoking), Cinematography (by debutant Alphons Roy), Performance (by debutant Rajeev Khandelwal), Music (by debutant Amit Trivedi), Editing (by Aarti Bajaj) – all are top notch.

This post in not a review. (There are many good reviews available online.) It contains my personal interpretations about the message that the movie tries to convey.

SOPILER ALERT: If you haven’t watched the movie yet, don’t read this post.


There’s a lovely song by Eddi Reader “It’s Not What You’ve Been Given, It’s What You Do With What You’ve Got”. (Listen to it here, it’s really beautiful.)

And that precisely what, I think, the central theme of the movie Aamir is.

“Kaun Kehta Hai Ki Aadmi Apni Kismat Khud Likhta Hai?” is the tag-line of the movie. The answer lies in the movie, in the final scene, to be more precise.

When the kidnapper tries to preach Aamir and tells him about the difficulties that Muslims face in India, Aamir shots back at him and asks who’s stopping them to break the social and economic barriers and make a decent living? After all, as his argument goes, he himself is one of them (i.e. a muslim) and became a doctor in spite of living in the same discriminating society! Although Aamir loses that verbal debate, he, in the end, wins the ideological debate. Aamir could have left that bomb in the bus as he was asked to do, but he chose not to. In that sense, however limited his options were, he finally chose his destiny. He chose not to become a terrorist and kill innocent people. (That’s the only thing he does willingly in the entire movie.)

This message could be easily extrapolated into the realms of our society. There are many poor, oppressed, discriminated against, subjugated people, but not everyone chooses to take the wrong, negative or destructive path (of robbery, violence, terrorism etc.). However, some do opt for baleful ways to either take revenge or in order to end their misery. But (as I’ve pondered over that earlier here) that can cause a vicious cycle of hate and retributions that can eventually have cataclysmic results for the society.

The circumstances might limit the number of options that are available to you. But it’s YOU who finally make the choice.

The main character is aptly named as Aamir (which means leader). In the entire movie, he had to do what he was forced to do by the kidnapper, but in the end, by doing what he could do (and wanted to do in the given circumstance), he became a true leader. Leader of his own fate, who led his life to a respectable, noble and courageous end.

Update: I just watched Cavite, the Filipino thriller from which Aamir clearly seem to have been… inspired. I wanted to say copied, but I read somewhere that the producers of Aamir have bought “adaptation rights” from the makers of Cavite. If they did that, I am glad and I really appreciate that. But I found huge similarities, not only in the story, but in the screenplay, in locations (narrow alleys in slums, squatter camps etc.) and in the political backdrop (terrorism, muslim/minority oppression). And all of that can’t just be coincidental. I am highly skeptical about (director) Raj Kumar Gupta’s and (creative producer) Anurag Kashyap’s claim that the script of Aamir is original. That’s just hard to believe. Two people could have coincidentally come up with similar stories, but only identical twins who got separated at birth (for a chuckle, see the cartoon below), could have executed the movie in the exactly same manner. I mean, come on!

Changing the end of the movie, and replacing a hand-held (constantly moving) camera with a steady one, don’t make one’s script original. If your movie is an adaptation, get the rights, put a disclaimer at the beginning of the movie, and that’s it. Don’t try to pass it around as an original script (as Anurag Kashyap has done here, co-producer Vikas Bahl has done here, and Raj Kumar Gupta has done here) and hope that we’ll blindly believe you.

13 responses to “What I Took Away From Aamir (Movie)

  1. Pingback: Online Reviews » Blog Archive » What I Took Away From Aamir (Movie)

  2. Very interesting write-up. Thanks your comment on my Aamir review. Good insight. The only thing that worries me is that your post gives away the end of the movie, which I have consciously avoided in my review! It can be quite a spoiler for someone who has not seen the movie!

  3. vishal12

    Thanks for your comments. I have put a spolier alert in the first paragraph of this post. Perhaps I should highlight it.

  4. Kunal

    The aim of the movie to disturb your sleep in the night. You donot get up for popcorn in the interval. Even after the end of the movie you donot feel like getting up and your leg get tired.
    You even do not feel like talking with any one and like a whisky you want to enjoy the ending and wished you were Rajeev Khandelwal.

  5. vishal12


    I am not sure about that! It is a dark movie, that leaves an impact on you . It touches you because of its this-can-happen-to-you-too type of theme. But no, it didn’t disturb my sleep. I did enjoy the movie a lot, but I didn’t wish I was Aamir.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  6. Hey Vishal – thanks for commenting on the PFC article. I like your thoughts on the film. I also liked the “message” in the film. It is very apt to the world we live in. In an industry which produces singing-dancing-shlock, I was very pleasantly surprised by this movie.

    And re: Cavite and Aamir, let’s continue the discussion on PFC 🙂

  7. vishal12

    Shripriya, I am glad *someone* liked (and may be agreed with) my interpretation of the end-of-Aamir. I was a bit skeptical that I might be reading too much into this (which, according to some of my friends, I often do). So I appreciate a positive nod! Thanks for stopping by… and yes, let’s continue with our debate on Aamir vs. Cavite (I know it’s not going anywhere, but just for fun!) and keep PFC as our battlefield 😉

  8. Guddi

    Luved the review, just watched the muvie yesterday, and i must say the movie lives upto its name.

  9. Vishal

    Thanks Guddi. I am glad you liked my thoughts on the movie.

    Aamir indeed is a very good movie.

    However, (as I’ve mentioned in the post) I was disheartened by finding out that Amir is strikingly similar to the filipino thriller Cavite. It’s the denial (by the makers of Aamir), not the inspiration that I mind. Watch Cavite if you get a chance and let me know what you think.

  10. Well, boy do you think Aamir is a borrowed idea. Well, am not one to comment on movies, but if you filled a form for a 3000 rupee a month job with IB as a joke. And found yourself in similar circumstances, i shouldn’t be surprised. The difference would be more nationalistic people around you and the waiter in National Restaurant not denying you that glass of water as he did to Aamir. Stolen mobiles… stolen purses… guys hitting you in the face if you make the wrong move…saying (jyada shanpatti karta hai salla). Woman calling you Paapi… Rickshawallas asking you to feed yourself on dried amlas… for strength …. Rickshawallas knowing your house just as well as they know your best friend’s and that of Amit Shetty. Dunno Amit Shetty… or the shitty stuff i am typing. check the latest post on http://www.gopalsea.blogspot.com and stop thinking. I have stopped long ago 😉

  11. Cognitive dissonance… it’s just a test with cognitive dissonance put in

  12. Vishal

    Hey Gopal,

    I am not sure if I understand your comment…. 🙂 Would you care to clarify further? (I am gonna try to decipher your post on Aamir and see if I understand what you’re saying….)


  13. Gopal Chandu

    There are organisations in India. which function just like the terrorists did in Aamir. Problem is when you try to look for them, they vanish into thin air… and when you are not looking for them, they have an, in ur face, attitude. A guy who once happened to see them function said,’They are not good people to work for’. Who are they. These are ones who see the larger picture. Who know that science has discovered man can be made immortal but also knows that humans are not ready for that kind of knowledge yet. These are people who create smaller wars to hide larger wars. e.g. Shitlaghat to hide Govt’s impotency in hiding scams, 26/11, though RAW had info on the same, they sat on it to create martyrs, German Bakery blasts, though the police know the exact person who executed the blast, he still goes on to smoke his cigarettes in Pune’s cafes. Find them, you won’t. It’s a very simple policy too that this works with the government. It’s a case of you scratch my back i’ll scratch yours. And why? Why does stuff like this happen. So that the human mind which has a tendancy to fall asleep is given a pinch so that it wakes up. Jaagtey Raho…. that’s the clarion call of the so called establishment that masks itself as a terrorist.

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