Aamis

If there’s one thing I’ve learned in my three and a half decades on this planet, it is that love is a many-splendored, yet extremely complicated thing. It can make us do things we would have never considered doing otherwise. Bhaskar Hazarika’s latest film Aamis highlights this idea in a very strange yet somehow extremely relatable way.

A pediatrician named Nirmali (Lima Das) is trying to enjoy her day off with her son, when a young man named Sumon (Arghadeep Barua) who lives in her community comes to her house, asking her for help. His friend had fallen ill from eating too much meat at a session of Sumon and his friend’s “Meat Club.” The point of the meat club is not to eat any processed meat, to only eat meat that is fresh, whose origins are known, and preferably to be slaughtered and prepared by a member of the club. Sumon’s friend was a vegetarian prior to going to this meal, but he loved the meat a little too much, which was the source of his illness.

“…love is a many-splendored, yet extremely complicated thing. It can make us do things we would have never considered doing otherwise.

Nirmali finds Sumon’s Meat Club to be very interesting. When it comes time for Sumon and Nirmali to part, and Sumon asks how much he owes her, she tells him that he could bring her some of this wonderful meat he was talking about. A few days later, while Nirmali is working, Sumon comes with some fresh rabbit meat prepared in a way that even I (a person who could never eat a bunny) thought looked delicious.

Nirmali and Sumon’s friendship forms from this moment. The two of them have great chemistry and get along very well. The only problem is that Nirmali is married to another doctor named Dillip (Manash K. Das). He is often traveling for his work, so often Nirmali is left to spend time with her son, her housekeeper Mina (Momee Borah) and her best friend, Jumi (Neetali Das). Jumi is not as straight-laced as Nirmali and is even cheating on her husband. Nirmali heartily disapproves. Since this is the case, no matter how much it becomes increasingly obvious that she has feelings for Sumon, she won’t act on them. Sumon won’t either, out of respect for her. He often bemoans his problems to his best friend, yet ANOTHER doctor named Elias (Sagar Saurabh). Elias thinks Sumon should go back to live with his parents and focus on his studies. Sumon is an anthropology Ph.D. candidate.

“…Hazarika’s script is a marvel. I’m jealous I didn’t write it myself.”

After some time in limbo with Nirmali, even having met Dillip, Sumon, decides to come up with an experiment that shows how one can “be physical with their lover” without sex, or even touching each other. I can’t reveal what the methodology behind the experiment is, but it makes Jaime Lannister’s “The things we do for love” scene in the very first episode of Game of Thrones look like Sesame Street. The result of the experiment maddens both star-crossed lovers in a way that is both incredibly understandable and completely outrageous/insane.

The themes and metaphors in Aamis are about how love consumes us and how we consume the people we love…with love. It shows us that love is often never tied up in a pretty box with a bow, but is often messy, weird, insane, and maybe even disgusting. I honestly can’t say too much more about the plot. It’s so clever that if I gave anything away, I’d be pissed at myself. So, you’re going to have to do the heavy lifting here and check out Aamis (also known as The Ravening). It starts out subtle and bursts into surrealist mania. The locations are beautiful, and the sound design and editing are especially wonderful. Bhaskar Hazarika’s script is a marvel. I’m jealous I didn’t write it myself. On that note, I’m going to leave the rest to you, dear readers. Go forth and watch Aamis! It’s exceptional!

Aamis (2019) Written and Directed by Bhaskar Hazarika. Starring Lima Das, Arghadeep Baruah, Neetali Das, Sagar Saurabh, Manash K Das, Momee Borah, Chandan Bhuyan, Samarjyoti Sarkar, Utal Hazowari

9 out of 10 stars

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