Updated: Nov 7, 2022
A movie not made just for the faint-hearted, Aamis is an excellent Assamese film. A masterpiece directed by Bhaskar Hazarika, the title translates to meat eater. The English title of the film is The Ravening or stated earlier Meat Eater. Love is a universal, eccentric, beautiful feeling. How many ways are there to love?
The answer is simple: The unique connection and the bond you share with one another. Bhaskar Hazarika’s Aamis starts on a poetic prosaic note. A young man plans to reach out to a doctor for help, because someone close to him is in pain. But, on the surface level, this encounter would have been off: since the doctor happens to be an older, attractive woman, who agrees to minister a patient in need.
But, in this twisted universe of Bhaskar Hazarika, we’ve taken a closer look at in ‘Kotanodi, a dark, twisted version of legendary folktales of Assam which includes murderous mothers, weird fruits as well as human swallowing pythons. Sure enough, that initial sunny meeting segues into a relationship in which Nirmali (Lima Das) and Sumon (Arghadeep Baruah) get closer and closer, being able to share conversations and food and spaces which are not constrained by other peoples’ presence. Nirmali is married, but the husband operates on a parallel track, and the spouses communicate in a distant, impersonal manner. Her best friend Jumi (Neetali Das) is blithely committing adultery, and exuding secretive excitement from every pore.
We can see that Nirmali and Sumon are primed for coupledom, and that the desire they share is something they can’t really speak about to other people: the hook goes deep, and soon enough they sliding down a dark, sleep slope.
Kothanodi’s subversions were startling, in-your-face. Aamis is subtler, but no less of a shocker. Hazarika takes you into territory Indian cinema has never really dared to tread, and confronts you with deep, uncomfortable questions: how far can you go when you want to make a beloved happy? What is taboo? Where do you draw the line? Or do you, at all?
Nirmali, played by Lima Das and Sumon by Arghadeep Baruah-both novices in this stream. Their performance as well as acting show an unfold honesty, which keeps the film in its grass-root level. Arghadeep’s honest smile and his enthusiasm keeps the film normalized as well as subtle. Both the titular characters have a vulnerable, naïve sweet side which makes the viewer’s emphatise with them.
Hazarika sets up a mood of a modern city which is grinded upon primal passions and needs. The film hits a few spots- few of the most hallucinogenic sequences are clumsy and Nirmali’s change seems a tad sudden. But mostly Bhaskar stays in control of his striking story and steers it to a memorable finish.
Aamis will hopefully come to a theatre or streaming platform near you. I strongly recommend that you make time for it. It’s inventive, provocative and truly genre- defying. Not for the faint-hearted or squeamish, Aamis is an unusual, brilliant film, and Hazarika one of India’s most gifted filmmakers. I came away gobsmacked, in the best way possible.