I Am Tackles Neglected Social Issues
Director Onir’s I Am, released in India earlier this year, is a movie consisting of four inter-connected stories: I Am Omar, I Am Megha, I Am Abhimanyu and I Am Afia. Each film tackles an issue generally shunned by film and media as being too taboo and volatile.
“The films of I Am are trying to make us a better society,” says Onir.
I Am Abhimanyu delves into the issues of child abuse as a man, still haunted by his childhood, confesses how he felt the love of his stepfather strangely comforting and how he learned to manipulate the incestuous relationship for personal gain.
In I am Afia, a divorced woman who’s opted for artificial insemination needs to navigate the tricky course of wanting to meet her sperm donor and then telling him that she doesn’t want him around after the delivery.
A family of a reformed mujahideen living in Srinagar is the focus of I am Megha.
Finally, I am Omar explores the issues of gay rights in India and how puritanical attitudes can be much more dangerous and destructive for people in the long run.
This film, which explore the complexity of beliefs, attitudes, and, ultimately human beings, is being hailed as Onir’s most honest and complex work to date.
Each story is approached with a refreshingly low-key attitude, despite the drama of the inflammatory content. These stories are not meant to shock and awe, but to make people think.
The lead roles are portrayed by some of India’s finest actors including Sanjay Suri, Rahul Bose, Juhi Chawla, Manisha Koirala, Arjun Mathur, and Nandita Sen.
I Am has already been screened at of the most prestigious film festivals around the world including Nepal, Italy, and Germany. Response to the film has been unprecedented praise and enthusiasm.
On August 12th, I AM was the opening film of the Soul of India section at The Cinema of the World Film Festival. After the opening, the movie was booked for seven cities in Holland, including Den Haag, Utrecht, Rotterdam, Maastricht, Arnhem, Groningen and Nijmegen.
“When I go to festivals and look at the audience I am happy that the audience is mostly non-Indian, but on the other hand I am extremely sad that people who are from my community stay away and still are not ready to see films, which talk about reality,” says Onir. “There is nothing wrong with looking at clothes of stars and bhangra but I feel if you love your country or culture you have to see it in its completeness. If you don’t recognize the darkness that is there, you will never walk towards light. “
“I Am” has allowed Onir to mature as a world-class filmmaker with an original voice. And as India emerges on the global stage—it’s a voice that needs to be heard.