Amu (film)

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Amu
Amu poster small.jpg
Directed by Shonali Bose
Produced by Shonali Bose
Bedabrata Pain
Written by Shonali Bose
Starring Konkona Sen Sharma
Brinda Karat
Ankur Khanna
Music by Nandlal Nayak
Cinematography Lourdes Ambrose
Edited by Bob Brooks
Release dates 2005
Running time 102 minutes
Country India
Language English

Amu is a critically acclaimed 2005 film directed by Shonali Bose, based on her own novel by the same name.[1] It stars Konkona Sen Sharma, Brinda Karat, and Ankur Khanna. The film premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival in 2005.[2][3]

Synopsis[edit]

Amu is the journey of Kajori Roy (Konkona Sen Sharma), a 21-year-old Indian American woman who has lived in the US since the age of 3. After graduating from UCLA Kaju goes to India to visit her relatives. There she meets Kabir (Ankur Khanna), a college student from an upper-class family who is disdainful of Kaju’s wide-eyed wonder at discovering the "real India". Undeterred, Kaju visits the slums, crowded markets and roadside cafes of Delhi. In one slum she is struck by an odd feeling of déjà vu. Soon after she starts having nightmares. Kabir gets drawn into the mystery of why this is happening, particularly when he discovers that she is adopted.

Meanwhile Kaju’s adoptive mother – Keya Roy, a single parent and civil rights activist in LA, arrives unannounced in Delhi. She is shocked to discover that Kaju has been visiting the slums. Although Kaju mistakes her mother’s response to a typical Indian over-protectiveness, Keya’s fears are more deeply rooted.

Slowly Kaju starts piecing together what happened to her birth parents and mother and daughter clash as Kaju discovers she has been lied to her whole life. As Kaju and Kabir undertake this quest they both discover their families' involvement with the man-made tragedy of immense proportions which took place twenty years ago in the capital city of India: the massacre of thousands of Sikhs in 1984; after the assassination of Indira Gandhi, the Prime Minister of India. Kabir learns that his father was instrumental in organizing the riots, as well as guilty of failing to stop Kaju's father from being killed. Kabir confronts his father who tries to justify his actions. Keya finally tells Kaju the truth; her birth name is Amu Singh and her Sikh father and younger brother were killed in the riots while her mother hanged herself in a refugee camp.

Cast[edit]

Production[edit]

The film's production was marred by obstacles like a reputed production house backing out in the last moment, and threats from local goons during the shooting of the riots scenes.[5]

Reception[edit]

A New York Times review, put the film as "the ambitious debut feature by Shonali Bose, wears its political heart on its sleeve and is unafraid to tackle big topics: identity, history, truth, injustice.",[6] while another review starts with words, "Needed to be made. Needed to be made. Needed to be made.".[7] The Time Out review, while commending the film for "effectively grounding its political concerns in Kaju’s credible struggle for identity", also points out, that "it had its share of wobbly moments, and the resolution feels a bit like a cop-out.".[8] Further a Rediff review states, "If Fahrenheit 9/11 can, so can Amu".[9] According to the Indiatimes, "What sets Amu apart is its historical astuteness and its creator’s unblinking regard for the past, no matter how brutal."[10]

Censorship[edit]

The film faced problems with the censor board in India,[8] which cleared it only with 6 politically motivated cuts, and with an "A" certificate.[5] Since — according to Indian law — this made the movie ineligible to be telecast on Indian television, the producers later reapplied for a UA censor certificate. This was when a 10 minute cut was suggested by censors, including removal of all verbal references to the riots. Subsequently, the producers decided to forgo the lower certification, and released the movie directly to DVD.[5][11]

Awards[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Shonali Bose has bagged the Gollapudi Srinivas National Award for her acclaimed debut feature "Amu". The Hindu, 25 March 2005.
  2. ^ Award-winning film: Amu The Hindu, 15 August 2008.
  3. ^ Amu emergingpictures.com
  4. ^ Cast Official site.
  5. ^ a b c Aamir Khan to unveil Amu DVD - A Film based on '84 Riots Sify, 6 August 2008.
  6. ^ The Personal Within the Political Rachael Saltz (Moview Review), New York Times, 25 May 2007.
  7. ^ Reviews - Amu SAWNET - The South Asian Women's NETwork.
  8. ^ a b Movie review - Amu Time Out, New York, May 24–30, 2007.
  9. ^ If Fahrenheit 9/11 can, so can Amu Moview Review by Sumit Bhattacharya, Rediff, 10 January 2005.
  10. ^ Review Indiatimes, 6 January 2005.
  11. ^ `A' for Amu "The Censor Board asked for five audio cuts. Instead of replacing the dialogues we decided to blank out the dialogues," - Business Line, The Hindu Group, 7 January 2005.
  12. ^ "52nd National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. pp. 82–83. Retrieved Mar 21, 2013. 
  13. ^ Awards Official site.

External links[edit]