‘I AM’. Just two words, yet so strong. Everyone identifies differently with them. You can either complete the sentence by adding a word to it or simply leave it at that. The latter symbolizes strength and realization and acceptance of oneself. Where you don’t need a word to define you, you are comfortable with being you.
The movie tries to get this message across through four stories that deal with different social concerns. The stories don’t overlap except for a momentary appearance of a character in another ones story, which is quite inconsequential except for an introduction.
Artificial insemination is the topic the first story deals with. Afia (Nandita Das) decides to have a child on her own after her husband abandons her for another woman. The decision is a big leap and the entire process is emotionally tumultuous. She makes a practical decision but her emotions come into play when she makes her apprehensions about an unknown donor evident. Ultimately what counts here is
belief in a one’s decision and desires.
Afia’s friend Megha (Juhi Chawla) has lost her belief. In a faith, a religion, a paradise: Srinagar and its existence. After having to flee from the place she still has to come to terms with it. In complete denial she refuses to acknowledge her true feelings for the place or the people. Bitter because of betrayal she goes back only to sell her childhood home, where she has to deal with everything she has tried to erase.
This story captures the inhuman and humane side of the Kashmir tragedy steering clear of controversial issues.
The graver issues of child abuse and homosexuality are handed out to the men. Abhi (Sanjay Suri) is a victim of the former. The effects it has on his psyche and personality are explored. Rahul Bose plays Jai, homosexual and abused for being so when he is caught in a compromising situation.
The use of flashbacks, voices from the past and symbolic dreams helps understand the situations better. However they aren’t very relatable. Halfway into the second story the pace becomes too slow. The movie doesn’t try to be subtle about its content but it still doesn’t convey the message. The end of each story, although complete, lacks a bit more.
Juhi Chawla delivers on of her best performances in the recent past but Nandita Das seems a bit rusty. The sensitivity that the movie requires is lacked thus failing to evoke a connection with the audience. It is intelligent and relevant in today’s day and age but it wont last too long. Mainly because the audience it will cater to is very niche.