I Am (2010 Indian film)

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I Am
Onir's I am.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byOnir
Produced bySanjay Suri
Rajesh Kumar Jain (Co Producer)[1]
Screenplay byOnir
Urmi Juvekar
Merle Kroeger
Story byOnir
Urmi Juvekar
Merle Kroeger
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
Music byAmit Trivedi
Vivek Phillip
Rajiv Bhalla
CinematographyArvind Kannabiran
Edited byOnir
Irene Dhar Malik
Distributed byAnticlock Films
Release date
  • 18 September 2010 (2010-09-18) (I View Film Festival)[2]
  • 29 April 2011 (2011-04-29) (India)[3]
Running time
110 minutes

I Am is a 2011 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]


  • "Afia" - A single woman Afiaa (Nandita Das) decides to become a mother using a sperm donor. She is a web designer by profession. She had been pushing her husband Manav (Manav Kaul) for a child but Manav leaves her because he loves some other girl. She then decides to have a kid on her own, through a test tube baby. She visits a Doctor Basu's (Anurag Basu) clinic and asks the doctor to provide her more details of the Donor. She meets Suraj (Purab Kohli) and asks him few questions wherein Suraj feels awkward. Later, she goes ahead with the sperm donation and test tube baby and offers Suraj some reward as thank you gift. Suraj politely declines but hands her over his phone number. In last scene, they show a smiling Afiaa tearing the note on which Suraj's phone number was written.[8]
  • "Megha" - Almost 20 years after leaving Kashmir, Kashmiri Pandit Megha (Juhi Chawla) returns home on a business trip to find her childhood Muslim friend Rubina (Manisha Koirala) has suffered too.[9] "Megha" is inspired by Sanjay Suri's real life experiences in Kashmir.[10]
  • "Abhimanyu" - Abhimanyu (Sanjay Suri), a successful director, is haunted by memories of sexual abuse as a child.[11] He must deal with his dark memories even as he struggles with his sexual identity. "Abhimanyu" is based on the experiences of fashion designer Ganesh Nallari and gay rights activist Harish Iyer.[12]
  • "Omar" - Jai, from Bangalore, (Rahul Bose) meets Omar, a struggling actor in Mumbai, (Arjun Mathur). They flirt and have dinner together and then have sex at a public place. A policeman (Abhimanyu Singh) comes and manhandles them both and threatens Jai to turn him in under Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code and blackmails into giving 100,000 Rupees as bribe. Omar goes with Jai's ATM card to draw money, meanwhile the policeman rapes Jai. Omar returns with 50,000 Rupees, which the policeman takes along with both Jai and Omar's cellphones. Then he takes Omar along with him against protests of Jai (A hint of the policeman intenting to rape Omar). Later on Jai meets Omar again in a hotel and tell him that later that night, Jai had gone and woke up a big lawyer and went with him to the police station to get Omar released only to find that Omar was never there and then he realized that Omar was a part of setup to extort money from Jai.[13][14] "Omar" is inspired by stories and research material provided by the online portal Gay Bombay.




  • Juhi Chawla as Megha
  • Manisha Koirala as Rubina
  • Rushad Rana as Rubina's brother
  • Madhu Sagar as Ami (Rubina's mother)
  • Behram Rana as Abu (Rubina's father)
  • Faisal Burza as the lawyer
  • Fayeem Shah as Rubina's cousin
  • Mushtaq Kak as Beig Shab (shop keeper)




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[edit]

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[edit]

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]


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.[3] 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[edit]

The DVD of I Am released on 31 May.


Critical response[edit]

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[edit]

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]


I Am
Soundtrack album by
Amit Trivedi, Rajiv Bhalla, Vivek Phillip
Released8 April 2011
GenreFilm soundtrack
LabelSony Music
Professional ratings
Review scores
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.

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


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 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.

  • Triangle Media Group's David Flint Honorary Award for Promoting Human Rights The Triangle Media Group, Biennial Global Awards felicitated Sanjay Suri and Onir for their upcoming film I Am. The award was for Media for Social Justice. Onir was in Nottingham to receive the award from Lord Mayor of Nottingham Jeannie Packer and Vernon Coaker, MP Minister of State for Schools and Learners.
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

  • Opening Film London Asian Film Festival, 2011
  • Closing Film Australian Indian Film Festival, 2011
  • Opening Film New Zealand Indian Film Festival, 2011
  • Opening The Silk Screen Film Festival, Pittsburgh (US), 2011
  • Closing Film Seattle South Asian Film Festival, 2011


  1. ^ "EPCH elects leading exporter and film producer Rajesh Kumar Jain as its Vice-Chairman". India Infoline. 10 November 2014.
  2. ^ Datta, Pulkit (23 September 2010). "I-View Film 2011; Premieres of 'Bhutto' and 'I Am'". NRI Magazine. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  3. ^ a b "Onir postpones 'I AM' release to April 29". Times of India. 8 April 2011.
  4. ^ Mehul Satish Thakkar (19 June 2010). "Believe it or not, 600 co-producers for a film!". IBNLive.
  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". Times of India. 2 June 2010.
  9. ^ "'I Am Megha' is about the plight of Kashmiri Pandits: Juhi". 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. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  11. ^ Vijaykumar, Chithira (19 December 2010). "Therefore, 'I am'". Chennai, India: The Hindu.
  12. ^ Mithai, Kamini (19 November 2010). "New film to open dialogue on taboo issue". Times of India. Retrieved 8 April 2011.
  13. ^ a b "I Am". Indian Express. 3 November 2011.
  14. ^ "Mira Nair impressed with I Am". MiD DAY. 22 June 2010.
  15. ^ "Onir: I will expose nexus between male prostitution and cops". Yahoo! Movies.
  16. ^ Singh, Mauli (16 April 2011). "Sanjay Suri replaced Lolo in I Am". Mid-Day. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  17. ^ "Onir's I AM team receives terror threats in Srinagar". Business of Cinema.com. 22 March 2010. Archived from the original on 7 November 2011.
  18. ^ Pallavi Jassi (13 September 2009). "A slice of the pie". Indian Express.
  19. ^ Soumyadipta Banerjee (17 August 2009). "To each their own sexuality, says Manish Malhotra". Daily News and Analysis. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
  20. ^ Pallavi Jassi (13 September 2009). "A slice of the pie". Indian Express.
  21. ^ "Juhi & Purab are acting as well as funding my film: Onir". Indian Express. 7 June 2009.
  22. ^ "Top prize for Colombian film". The Hindu. Chennai, India. 18 December 2010. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
  23. ^ "FB Status: Need money, making my film". Economic Times. 12 December 2010. Retrieved 18 April 2011.
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  26. ^ Tuteja, Joginder (4 May 2011). "Inspired by MNIK, now I AM also plans global release". Bollywood Hungama.
  27. ^ Malani, Gaurav (29 April 2011). "I AM: Movie Review". Times of India. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  28. ^ "Review Of I Am". Film Street Journal. 29 April 2011. Archived from the original on 2 May 2011. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  29. ^ Adarsh, Taran (29 April 2011). "I Am". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  30. ^ a b Masand, Rajeev (30 April 2011). "Masand: 'I Am' is an honest film". CNN-IBN. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  31. ^ Guha, Aniruddha (28 April 2011). "I AM is a small film with a big heart". DNA. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  32. ^ Gupta, Shubhra (29 April 2011). "I Am". Indian Express. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  33. ^ Jamkhandikar, Shilpa (28 April 2011). "I Am: Intentions good, not execution". Reuters India. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  34. ^ Adesara, Hetal (2 May 2011). "Box Office: Six Hindi movies fail to make an impact". Business of Cinema. Retrieved 2 May 2011.
  35. ^ "6 releases, 2 below average, 4 flops". Times of India. 3 May 2011. Retrieved 3 May 2011.
  36. ^ "Vidya Balan wins National Award for 'The Dirty Picture'". The Times Of India.
  37. ^ "Onir's next ventures into issues of gay sex, child abuse". Indian Express. 8 December 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
  38. ^ "Rahman, Onir bags TMG Global Award Nominations". Bollywood Hungama. 19 May 2009. Retrieved 11 December 2009.
  39. ^ "Rahul Wows Florence". The Times Of India. 15 December 2010.
  40. ^ "Rahul wows Florence - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  41. ^ "Onir, Juhi felicitated - Hindustan Times". 7 April 2011. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  42. ^ "News18.com: CNN-News18 Breaking News India, Latest News, Current News Headlines". News18. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  43. ^ "404 (Page Not Found) Error - Ever feel like you're in the wrong place?". dearcinema.com. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  44. ^ "Accolades galore for Jagran Film Festival on concluding day". Jagran Post. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  45. ^ "IRDS Awards: Vidya Balan wins best actress for THE DIRTY PICTURE". Glamsham. Retrieved 11 May 2018.
  46. ^ a b "Latest news, comments and reviews from The Gulf Today | gulftoday.ae". gulftoday.ae. Retrieved 11 May 2018.

External links[edit]