Monday, August 18, 2008

Tea and Amal

I had a great day. Tonight I went to see the movie Amal and I have to write a review. I loved it that much. I'm probably slightly biased. The writer, Shaun Mehta, is a friend of mine. Richie is his brother. They were there tonight along with Gurpreet Chana and Rupinder Nagra. I am officially a Mehta groupie. I have added both of Shaun's books to my amazon shopping cart. I am just trying to think of any other books I might want to order before I purchase.

I had tea this afternoon at the Millcroft Inn in Caledon. It sucked. Don't go there. I wrote a review of that as well. I might post it later if there's any interest. While it was nice to spend the afternoon with the ladies who do tea, it was a waste of gas money and $20.

Amal, the movie
When was the last time you saw a really great movie? One that made you laugh, cry and swear out loud in the theatre? That made you think. Question your values. Shifted your perspective on your fundamental beliefs?

This evening, I saw Amal. If you have a heart, a soul or a conscience, you should see this movie. Forgo the action flick just this once and see something that will make you leave the theatre wanting to phone someone, anyone, just to express how alive you feel.

I'm not sure I can do justice to this movie without spoilers. Consider yourself disclaimed...

The movie was filmed in Delhi, a city I have visited as a child and as an adult. While I am Indian, I rarely identify with my heritage. I may look brown but I feel more at home at dim sum or driving a pick up truck. I'm not qualified to review the technical aspects of any film. I can say though that I will never look at Delhi the same again. To be sure, I have always appreciated the cultural richness, wondered at the congestion, railed at the uncivilization and marveled at the happily functioning chaos. If you have never been to India, the images will leave you breathless. If you have, it's like going home.

I white-knuckled my way through the entire 101 minutes, anxious and hopeful and outraged and sad. I have to give credit to The Kid for putting up with my muttered cursing and strangled "argh!"s without once reaching over to duct tape my mouth shut. I'm a total sucker for a happy ending and there were parts of this story that made me feel frustrated and powerless. I wanted everyone to live happily ever after. Did they? Did it all work out right in the end? You'll have to decide for yourself.

The characters were confusing in their complexity. Amal himself is no hero. He is touchingly naive in his simplicity. Or do I mean frustratingly childlike? The "bad guy" isn't immediately alienating. At first, I recognized him from other movies and I wanted so badly to like him. In fact, I still want to like him. He might be as tormented as your run-of-the-mill comic book villain but he has an all-too-human face. The heroine at first seems far from it. But eventually she garnered my sympathy and admiration. While it would be easy to sit here comfortably judging their choices and actions, in the silent darkness when the voices are loudest, I know I will wonder if I would have behaved any differently?

In the interest of full disclosure, I know Shaun. So perhaps I am a tiny bit biased. I now consider myself a Mehta groupie. Please go see this movie. Go today. If you don't take something away from it, I will take you to anything else you would rather see.

And now, I must work on my prayers. If I'm very good, perhaps God will send me a mother-in-law...

Find a showtime in your city:
In Toronto, Cineplex Odeon Varsity
55 Bloor St. W, Toronto
12:50 3:35 6:55 9:20
Everywhere else

1 comment:

Awkward, for you said...

so do you have mono?
if you want to go to a cute tea room go to one that is on Queen Street W. I believe it's called The Red Tea Box. It's just west of Bathurst. I assume that you still live in Toronto, especially if you just saw Amal.
It's a small world because i work with a couple guys who know the guy who directed Amar.