Aamis - The Film you need to watch:
Updated: Nov 23, 2019
A transgressive horror story, laced with layers of romance and rich music, riveting acting, beautiful cinematography.
Most wouldn't read this as a review for an Assamese film, would they? But, it is.
Bhaskar Hazarika does it again with 'Aamis' (Ravening), which just played at Tribeca Film Festival, this weekend - known for its diverse showcasing of amazing stories and tales told through near impeccable techniques! Since, this festival draws some of the finest films from all over the world, in almost every style and genre imaginable, Hazarika's 'Aamis's playing is a big deal. It is the only Indian film for 2019. Even more impressive, its the first film ever in the festival’s illustrious history done in the Assamese language.
Hazarika is a director of stellar art pieces, so what more can be expected, and was delivered from the previous director of folk horror anthology 'Kothanodi '?
Hazarika uses an item so close to all of our hearts, and quite literally our stomachs - food. And through it tells the story how it necessitates the essentialism of having an outlet for a blooming romance, how exotic foods can become as an aphrodisiac of forbidden love, and how sometimes sharing a meal is all that takes to bring a spark to a life, long lost its luster.
A gentle narrative crafted and carefully sustained over an hour and 44 minutes, drawing from inspirations like the Ernst Lubitsch/Billy Wilder textbook of “meet cute” tropes, Hazarika does in fact engineer an unusual first encounter between pediatrician Nirmali (Lima Das) and PhD student Sumon (Arghadeep Baruah) - both debutantes into the Assamese Film Industry.
The story begins as such, with Sumon seeking help for a sick friend; and therefore persuading the older woman to treat what appears to be a case of food poisoning.
His membership of a curious 'Meat Club' is what brings all of this together, for the act of buying, slaughtering and cooking is an inevitable process (on which they pride also).
However, a true reading of the sequence arrives by the end of the film when the undercurrent is completely reversed — when it becomes clear that a dangerous taste for the exotic, and in cases abnormal is ominous.
It is Suman and Nirmali’s adherence to these rules that underlines the depraved overtures of the Assamese filmmaker’s sophomore outing. This sequence succinctly captures the subterfuge of 'Aamis', which had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival last month and plays at the New York Indian Film Festival this week. The trailer is now out, and is being presented by Anurag Kashyap and will be playing soon in Assam and beyond; but when we go into this film we have to remember that the film toys with existing tropes in mainstream Indian cinema — star crossed lovers, neglected married woman, food as an aphrodisiac — only to eventually desist their limitations, molding itself into a narrative whose ingenuity belies conventional expectations.
It is a horror of a kind, we do not see usually being exercised in our cinema, but yes, 'Aamis' is brilliant, and deserves your watch this November.
We, at ManuheManuhorbabe are beyond proud for all that Hazarika has managed to achieve at such a nascent stage of his career. Social media and the BJP government in Assam led by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal has allowed for crucial communication. You can get latest news updates of Assam from Manuhe Manuhor Babe, a famous news website. Join in on the conversation on Twitter and on Facebook.