I Am
Theatrical release poster
Directed byOnir
Screenplay byOnir
Urmi Juvekar
Merle Kroeger
Story byOnir
Urmi Juvekar
Merle Kroeger
Produced bySanjay Suri
Onir
Rajesh Kumar Jain (Co Producer)[3]
StarringJuhi Chawla
Manisha Koirala
Rahul Bose
Nandita Das
Arjun Mathur
Pooja gandhi
Sanjay Suri
Anurag Basu
Purab Kohli
Shernaz Patel
Radhika Apte
Manav Kaul
Abhimanyu Singh
CinematographyArvind Kannabiran
Edited byOnir
Irene Dhar Malik
Music byAmit Trivedi
Vivek Phillip
Rajiv Bhalla
Distributed byAnticlock Films
Release date
  • 18 September 2010 (2010-09-18) (I View Film Festival)[1]
  • 29 April 2011 (2011-04-29) (India)[2]
Running time
110 minutes
CountryIndia
LanguageHindi

I Am is a 2010 Indian anthology film by Onir. It consists of four short films: "Omar", "Afia", "Abhimanyu", and "Megha". Each film shares the common theme of fear, and each film is based on real-life stories. The film was financed by donations from more than 400 different people around the world,[4] many of whom donated through social networking sites like Facebook.[5] There are four stories but the characters are interwoven with each story. "Abhimanyu" is based on child abuse, "Omar" on gay rights, "Megha" is about Kashmiri Pandits and "Afia" deals with sperm donation. I Am was released with subtitles in all regions as six different languages are spoken in the film: Hindi, English, Kannada, Marathi, Bengali and Kashmiri.[6][7]

Plot

Each film shares the common theme of fear, and each film is based on real-life stories. They are -

Cast

Afia

Megha

Abhimanyu

Omar

Production

Artists on the set of the film in 2010.
Artists on the set of the film in 2010.

Onir first developed an idea for a short film while in Berlin, Germany. He later decided to make four shorts as he had too many ideas to fit into only one film.[15] "Abhinmanyu" was originally written as a full-length film starring Karisma Kapoor in her comeback, but after she pulled out Onir changed the main character to a male and turned it into a short film.[16] The shorts were shot on location in Srinagar ("Megha"), Mumbai ("Omar"), Bangalore ("Abhimanyu") and Kolkata ("Afia"). The "Afia" segment was originally intended to explore corruption in NGOs, but Onir decided to focus on sperm donation instead. During location shooting in Srinagar for the "Megha" segment, the crew was attacked by rocks and received terror threats and had to shift to Karan Nagar. Onir returned later under the guise of a documentary filmmaker to capture additional footage.[17]

Sponsorships through social media

Onir raised financing from not only the film's stars, but also from members of the general public from around the world. Using Twitter and Facebook, Onir offered backers co-production credit in the film and a share in the profits. People who donated more than Rs. 100,000 became co-producers with a share in profits while those who contributed less than Rs. 100,000 received a mention in the credits. People have sent their contributions from Austria, the US, Nigeria and Australia.[18] I Am is the first mainstream Hindi film that is crowd-sourced through social networking sites. Over 400 people from 45 cities across the world made this film happen by volunteering or contributing financially.[13]

Celebrity contribution

Many of the participants in the film worked for free; Juhi Chawla, Manisha Koirala and Anurag Kashyap did not draw salaries and Manish Malhotra designed the film's costumes for free.[19] Fashion designers like Manish Arora and Aki Narula have made costumes available for free, while actors and his friends Juhi Chawla and Sanjay Suri, and director Anurag Kashyap have supported him with ideas.[20] Juhi Chawla and Purab Kohli also financially contributed to the stories in the movie.[21]

Release

I Am had its world premiere at the I View Film Festival in New York City. It screened at several other film festivals like the International Film Festival of Kerala and the Vancouver International Film Festival.[22][23] I Am was originally scheduled for theatrical release in India and Australia on 22 April 2011, but Onir changed it to 29 April.[2] To promote the release of the film, Onir has started a script writing contest where the authors of the 10 best scripts will win a meeting with him to pitch their screenplays.[24][25] I Am will have a staggered release internationally beginning in New Zealand, and then moving to the US, Canada and Europe.[26]

Home media

The DVD of I Am released on 31 May.

Reception

Critical response

I Am received mainly positive reviews from critics. The Times of India called it "an important and intelligent film"[27] and The Film Street Journal named it "a must watch".[28] Taran Adarsh gave the film three and a half stars and named it "a motion picture of major significance" and "a landmark film".[29] Rajeev Masand praised I Am for "fine performances and its inherent honesty".[30] Critics particularly praised Abhimanyu Singh and Nandita Das for their performances.[30][31][32] On the other hand, Shilpa Jamkhandikar of Reuters called I Am "painfully rehearsed" and "oversimplified".[33]

Box office

In its opening weekend I Am released on 67 screens in India and 7 in Australia, but failed to make an impact at the box office.[34] It was fourth in overall weekend collections, ranking ahead of only Zokkomon. The Times of India blamed the poor collections on the film's depiction of social issues, saying it was "restricted only to discerning audience".[35]

Soundtrack

I Am
Soundtrack album by
Amit Trivedi, Rajiv Bhalla, Vivek Phillip
Released8 April 2011
GenreFilm soundtrack
Length39:31
LabelSony Music
Professional ratings
Review scores
SourceRating
Bollywood Hungama2.5/5 stars link

The soundtrack for I Am was released on 8 April 2011 on Sony Music. The songs are composed by Amit Trivedi, Rajiv Bhalla and Vivek Phillip with lyrics by Amitabh Verma and Amitabh Bhattacharya.

No.TitleMusicArtist(s)Length
1."Baangur"Amit TrivediMame Khan, Kavita Seth4:32
2."Issi Baat Pe"Amit TrivediKrishnakumar Kunnath4:23
3."Bhojhal Se"Rajiv BhallaKrishnakumar Kunnath4:49
4."Aankhein"Vivek PhillipKarthik4:24
5."Saye Saye"Amit TrivediRekha Bhardwaj, Mohan5:08
6."Wundoo Yeredoo"Rajiv BhallaRajiv Bhalla3:53
7."Bhojhal Se" (Remix)Rajiv BhallaKrishnakumar Kunnath4:21
8."Issi Baat Pe" (The Bombay Bounce Club Mix)Amit TrivediKrishnakumar Kunnath2:58
9."Baangur" (Remix)Amit TrivediMame Khan, Kavita Seth4:24

Accolades

In 2012 I Am won the National Award for Best Hindi Film and Best Lyrics.[36]

The cast of I Am at the 2011 Mumbai Queer Film Festival where the film won Best Narrative Feature. Left to right: Sanjay Suri, Juhi Chawla, Onir, Arjun Mathur, Rahul Bose.
The cast of I Am at the 2011 Mumbai Queer Film Festival where the film won Best Narrative Feature. Left to right: Sanjay Suri, Juhi Chawla, Onir, Arjun Mathur, Rahul Bose.

The scripts for "Abhimanyu" and "Omar"[37] were nominated for Triangle Media Group (TMG) Global Awards.[38] I Am also won the Audience Award at the 2010 River to River. Florence Indian Film Festival, the Best Asian Film Award at the International Film Festival of Kerala,[39] and the I-VIEW Film Festival's Engendered Award for Human Rights.

Year Award
2010 NETPAC Award for the Best in Asian Cinema at the International Film Festival of Kerala
2010 Special Mention by the International Jury at the International Film Festival of Kerala
2010 The Engendered Award for Human Rights at the IView Film Festival
2010 Audience Choice Award for Best Film at the River to River. Florence Indian Film Festival[40]
2010 Sanjay Suri and Onir, Media for Social Justice Award at the Biennial Global Awards
2011 Best Film Award at the London Asian Film Festival[41]
2011 Juhi Chawla, Best Actress Award at the London Asian Film Festival[42]
2011 Best Narrative Feature Film at the Kashish-Mumbai Queer Film Festival[43]
2011 Onir, Best Director Award at Dainik Jagran Film Festival, New Delhi[44]
2012 Onir, Best Director Award at IRDS Film awards for social concern[45]
2012 Filmfare Best Supporting Actress-Juhi Chawla-Nominated
2012 Asiavision Movie Awards-Juhi Chawla-Excellence in Hindi Cinema Award[46]
2012 Asiavision Movie Awards-Onir-Excellence in Hindi Cinema-Creative[46]
Official Selection
Year Film Festival
2010 Winner of I-View 2010s Engendered Award for Outstanding Contribution (Opening Film)
2010 Vancouver International Film Festival (Canadian Premiere)
2010 International Film Festival of Kerala
2010 Hamburg QIFF
2010 River to River Film Festival, Florence (Audience Choice Award, Best Film)
2010 Chennai International Film Festival
2010 Guggenheim Berlin
2011 Kandy International Film Festival, Sri Lanka
2011 Durban International Film Festival
2011 Human Rights Film Festival, Syracuse, New York

I Am has also been opening or a closing film for the following festivals

References

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  2. ^ a b "Onir postpones 'I AM' release to April 29". The Times of India. 8 April 2011.
  3. ^ "EPCH elects leading exporter and film producer Rajesh Kumar Jain as its Vice-Chairman". India Infoline. 10 November 2014.
  4. ^ Mehul Satish Thakkar (19 June 2010). "Believe it or not, 600 co-producers for a film!". CNN-IBN. Archived from the original on 22 June 2010.
  5. ^ Manali Shah (5 August 2010). "Onir raises funds through Facebook". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 19 January 2011.
  6. ^ Adarsh, Taran (15 March 2011). "Reasons why 'I Am' will be released with sub-titles in India". Bollywood Hungama.com. Retrieved 4 April 2011.
  7. ^ "Independent filmmakers are wiped out in India: Onir". NDTV. Press Trust of India. 27 November 2010. Archived from the original on 28 November 2010. Retrieved 5 April 2011.
  8. ^ "Onir in search of a fertility clinic". The Times of India. 2 June 2010. Archived from the original on 11 August 2011.
  9. ^ "'I Am Megha' is about the plight of Kashmiri Pandits: Juhi". The Indian Express. 20 December 2009.
  10. ^ Kumar, Sunaina (2 April 2011). "I Am, India's first truly indie film, gets ready for the Friday test". Tehelka. Archived from the original on 19 September 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  11. ^ Vijaykumar, Chithira (19 December 2010). "Therefore, 'I am'". The Hindu. Chennai, India.
  12. ^ Mithai, Kamini (19 November 2010). "New film to open dialogue on taboo issue". The Times of India. Archived from the original on 3 May 2012. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
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  18. ^ Pallavi Jassi (13 September 2009). "A slice of the pie". The Indian Express.
  19. ^ Soumyadipta Banerjee (17 August 2009). "To each their own sexuality, says Manish Malhotra". Daily News and Analysis. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
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