TO EAT WHAT YOU LOVE
A dark, twisted romance centred around food, Aamis is that one Indian film to watch this year
There is a popular notion that there are films that belong to mainstream cinema and those that belong to the festival circuit. Bhaskar Hazarika’s Aamis, which recently premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival, tricks you into believing you are watching the first kind—mellow and predictable—until it firmly breaks every known mould. The story begins with a young man, Sumon, meeting an older, married woman, Nirmali. Expectedly, a romance is kindled— the woman refusing to acknowledge that it is romance, the boy searching Google for the meaning of ‘platonic
relationship’. They bond over his passion for meat and her willingness to sample all flesh. Everything is game. Things begin innocently, leisurely, and then without warning, the film slips into horror.
Aamis is the horror next door. Set in suburban Guwahati, its lead characters are an unassuming paediatrician and a young anthropology scholar studying meat-eating practices in the Northeast. “The idea,” Hazarika explains, “was to situate the film in a normal everyday stage, which we felt could help in achieving plausibility in what is admittedly a bizarre story.”
The unfolding of its plot is reminiscent of every gory crime, from Nithari to Aarushi, that suddenly happens to ‘someone like us’. “The film’s story,” Hazarika elaborates, “was also informed by this niche kink I stumbled across on the internet called ‘vorarephilia’, which basically involves fantasising about getting ingested by your lover.”
Neither Sumon nor Nirmali are willing to bend the rules of marriage. Dreading the illegitimate touch, their desires play out in a perversely extreme interpretation of what it means to be inside one’s lover. The horror lies in their nonchalance. And the genius of the film is that neither of the characters betrays any alarm over their twisted passion, even as audiences’ stomachs are roiling. And as their ‘romance’ plays out, Hazarika constantly calls out the grey moralities of marriage and adulterous relationships.
Aamis is a romancehorror of remarkable nuance. The Assamese film is expected to release in some theatres later this year—and if you have a taste for the unusual, you must devour this one.
Aamis begins as an innocent, leisurely romance and, without warning, slips into horror
SCARY GOOD Set in Guwahati, Aamis is the horror next door