Some get their highs from Snow White.
Some derive their highs via curry.
Some wet their thighs over Aamir.
Over the last couple of days, we watched both Cavite and its Bollywood spawn Aamir (you can stream them both on Instant Play, if you have a $8.99 Netflix subscription).
We watched the Tagalog language Cavite first. After all, it came three years ahead of Aamir (2008).
Except for the ending, Aamir is a clone of Cavite.
Given all the hype about Aamir in India (God, in that country you are a legend if you need only one hand to hold your dick while peeing), we expected a lot from Cavite.
Our logic: Why would a Bollywood film-maker borrow from a foreign movie unless it has something remarkable to offer.
Cavite is not a gripping thriller that has you going ‘wow’ at any point.
But it’s alright, a chalta hai kinda movie.
You don’t feel upset that you spent 1-hour 10-minutes watching it, the way you do at the end of most Bollywood or Kollywood films.
There’s a fair degree of urgency and tension throughout Cavite.
And the credit for that goes to Ian Gamazon, who plays the central character of U.S. based Adam coming to Manila to attend his father’s funeral only to find his mother and siblings held hostage by some Mindanao terrorists.
For the most part, the movie does hold your attention although at times we grew tired of the Turn right, faggot. Take that bus, faggot. Turn left in that alley, faggot.
Soon after he lands at the Manila airport, Adam (Ian Gamazon) is threatened by an unknown voice on the phone that his family will meet a dire fate if he doesn’t undertake some tasks.
Right from the moment the San Diego resident based Adam arrives in Manila, straggles through the foul slums of the city and all the way up to the end as he staggers away from the church, we found Gamazon’s character of Adam to be an endearing figure.
By the way, Gamazon is also the co-director and co-writer of Cavite along with Neill Dela Llana.
Only after watching the film did we learn that Cavite was made on a shoestring budget of $7,000.
That knowledge enormously increased our admiration for the incredible passion of the key people involved in making Cavite.
Aamir – Disappointing Fare
Aamir, on the other hand, has little going for it.
Save that a few prematurely-ejaculating Indians came even faster after watching this film.
Most Indians who go gag-ga over Aamir have most likely not heard of Cavite and even more likely don’t have access to the Tagalog film (our Netflix copy came with English sub-titles).
Used to the Bollywood balderdash of Akshay Kumar, Salman Khan, Shahrukh Khan et al, they are bedazzled at seeing a movie like Aamir that’s so different
Compared to Cavite, the Hindi film Aamir has just one thing in its favor – money. Apparently, the Hindi movie was made on a much higher budget of Rs 2 crore ($412,000), according to Wiki.
But Aamir has too many things in its disfavor – a poor script, mediocre acting by the lead character Rajeev Khandelwal and overall a crude finish.
The Bollywood spawn lacks the finesse and subtlety of the Talagog version.
You say subtlety has never been a feature of Indian movies?
True. But that doesn’t lessen the need for it.
Those two staring kids on the motorbike who hand over the cell-phone to Dr. Aamir Ali, the ‘psycho’ taxi driver, we found all of these and more to be extremely crude touches, needless and irritating.
After seeing Cavite, we couldn’t but be upset that the Hindi language Aamir seemed so contrived. All of it, the acting, photography and the script.
Showing the character of the voice on the phone in Aamir was a big mistake. That dramatically lessened the impact, lessened the tension and worse of all removed the menacing aspect of the caller/kidnapper, so evident in Cavite.
Even as he threatens our protaganist with dire consequences and gives bhashans of the poverty and sorry plight of Indian Muslims, our kidnapper is shown having a sumptuous lunch and playing with a young child. The disconnect seemed weird.
Also, Rajeev Khandelwal needs to go back to acting school.
Contrast for instance a conceptually similar scene in the two movies, both putting the central character in a desperate situation: Of Adam in Cavite stealing a cell-phone from a lady when his battery dies to Dr. Aamir Ali in Aamir when he loses his red suitcase and the subsequent fight.
While the short-scene was handled with a degree of finesse in Cavite, its Hindi equivalent was needlessly drawn-out, way too long and completely butchered.
Turned out really ugly, particularly Dr. Aamir Ali’s fight with the three ruffians.
Its many shortcomings aside, Aamir is still a welcome respite from the endless run of pathetic Bollywood movies like Singh is Kinng, Wanted, Kambhakkht Ishq et al.