Saturday, July 27, 2013

Amu (2005) - Review

Amu is the story of a 21-year old American-Indian girl who on her staycation in India uncovers unsettling facts about her past - her roots, her identity, where she belonged. This fiction tale is woven around the true events of the 1984 Sikh genocide. A gripping narrative makes this film a compelling watch. The one hour and twenty minutes had my undivided attention. And the performances only added to it. Konkana Sen leaves me spellbound with every film. She's no different here. She plays any part with so much ease I forget I'm watching a film. Brinda Karat, our firebrand political leader and social activist, plays Konkana's mother and she it does adequately.

The film explores and questions the happenings of the '84 riots, stories of which I've heard in my childhood days. Reason why I could so relate to the film. (Stories of sikhs being pulled out of houses and burnt alive, of hindus helping hide away sikhs in their houses, of wailing women and children, of widowed women being rehabilitated in what's now called the "Widow Colony"). A documentary Widow Colony was also made on this subject in 2005. It was screened at various film festivals abroad. You can read more about it here. [You might also want to read my interview with the Widow Colony director Harpreet Kaur: I wanted to remind Sikhs around the world that 1984 is today, 1984 is everyday].

The censor board created much noise at the time of Amu's theatrical release giving it an A-certificate and cutting out a few scenes/dialogues for reasons obvious (that you'll find out in the film and here but the film-makers gave a raw, unpeppered account of all that had happened in their DVD version in 2008 (which was not allowed to be shown on TV). 

Amu premiered at the Berlin and Toronto Film Festivals in 2005. Since then, it has won numerous awards and accolades including 2 National Film Awards in the Best Feature Film and Best Director (English language) categories.

Pat on the back to director Shonali Bose and producer-cum-husband Bedabrata Pain (who directed Chittagong) for showing the audacity to make a film without compromising on the facts. The film steers clear of cliches and only focuses on telling the story. And it does that brilliantly!

Have you seen the film? Tell me what did you think about it in the comments below.

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