I. D. (2012)

There has been a surge of paid online movie watching services, and with the hard beating down on piracy, they have gained a traction that is highly appreciable. It is nice to know that HotStar provides Game of thrones on a paid basis as the same time as it is telecast in the US, and that the makers of such a show are getting paid a lot of money to maintain the exceedingly amazing production value of the show (that has garnered a lot of popularity in India). Netflix is another welcome addition, albeit the lack of certain films and television shows. This is not to say that I am complaining because it still offers a wide variety of films and shows to watch, once you pay for a decently priced subscription. It brings audiences to the correct films, I feel, just the way it brought this movie in my notice.

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I.D. is a movie that was released in 2012, directed by Kamal K. M. with Geetanjali Thapa (who eventually went on to win the National Film Award for Best Film Actress in 2013, unsurprisingly so) as the protagonist. The film starts with a simple yet engaging premise, one that impressed me greatly. A worker comes to Charu’s (Geetanjali Thapa) residences that she shares with her friends, having newly moved to the city of Mumbai, for an odd paint job. Here, he collapses as he is working, and she has to, for lack of choice, take him to the hospital. The rest of the movie just revolves around how she tries to find the identity of this man, whose name is unknown to her – which is rightly addressed in the film, “Aisa kaun puchhta hai?” (Translation: “Who asks such a thing?”).

The movie outline looks simple enough on the Netflix page (and I am trying to make it a point not to IMDb the movie before watching it these days), and has a poor rating. However, the film has a taken a very simple storyline and very subtly shown to us the different sides of Mumbai – the culture of apathy from a particular group of people thriving on drama and mischief, or the culture of concern or indifference by another group when Charu is out looking for the identity of this man – who had no identity proof on him (a point I think the film was trying to make). There is one particular scene that I really thought was tastefully done – when Charu returns home to a party after ensuring the man was safe at the hospital, and the ebbing apathy of her friends and flatmates about the life of a man. The movie makes one think; it was an incident that could happen to anyone of us living on our own, meeting people in a cursory manner that we don’t even bother to know their name. The reaction of the people around Charu, and herself included, make one uncomfortable and thoughtful – what would one have done in such a situation as this? What would you have done? How long would you have taken responsibility for a man you had had nothing to do with, but whose family was probably waiting for him?

The movie drops several different commentaries whilst taking us through the slums of Rafeeq Nagar – about someone seeing the man Charu is looking for probably fall from a train (which would even explain why he collapsed while working at her place), about a shopkeeper responding rudely to Charu showing the man’s photograph around with the explanation that the slum-dwellers felt that media persons had abandoned the story of BMC demolishing hutments in Rafeeq Nagar and were angered due to it, and even a very slight glimpse into the life of transgendered persons in the slum area. This gave the film a feel of documentary-style showcasing of real-life events done with an exquisite amount of a research and a brilliant performance by Geetanjali Thapa. It is obvious why she won the best actress awards at the Los Angeles Film Festival and the Madrid Film Festival for this very movie. At this point, I have to point out the great job she did in the movie, and that I cannot wait to watch Liar’s Dice, for which she won the National Film Award.

The value of life has been very cheap since ages, and this film portrayed that very fact in a very succinct and meaningful manner. The story is simple yet well-executed – with great scenes inside a Mumbai apartment, but also in the murky slums of Bombay. I would definitely recommend this movie to anyone and everyone – whether it is a deep commentary of city-life you are looking for, or just an interesting and intriguing storyline to keep you engaged.

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