Amu is the story of Kaju (Konkona), a young early 20s Indian-American who returns to India to visit her family. She grew up in America and is visiting India as a foreigner. Soon discovering the place where she was born holds many secrets of her past.
Ever since I've seen Konkona in Page 3, I became a huge fan of hers. Never had I been disappointed with her acting or film choice. Although I haven't seen all of her movies, I still think she's one of the best natural-born young actresses of today. I'm eagerly waiting to see more of her films and trying so hard to find her older films. So far, I've seen Page 3, Mr & Mrs Iyer, 15 Park Avenue, Mixed Doubles, Omkara, Traffic Signal, Life in a Metro, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag and Aaja Nachle....now add Amu to the list.
Konkona is great in arty and masala movies. Honestly I had no idea what Amu was going to be about. All that mattered to me is that I finally got to see another older Konkona film. As Kaju, Konkona is a happy-go-lucky girl visiting relatives in India. Although she was born there, she has never gone back. Since she graduated college, she decided to go to India and look at the beautiful country where she was born. Although she knew she has been adopted since she was 3-years-old, she learns that her picture-perfect past isn't what she thought it'll be. Not understanding why she is not having any memories of the village where she grows up, she gets flash-backs from visiting Gobind and his family in the slums.
With the guidance of the rich and well-known Kabir (Ankur Khanna), Amu discovers her secretive past. Why has her adopted mother kept all these secrets from her? Kabir loves acting and attends drama at college. However, his political father wants Kabir to have a "real job" to make money.
Ankur Khanna was a bit annoying to me at first. I did finally warm up to him but I wasn't too impress with him. Konkona's acting alone is enough to watch this film. I haven't seen much of Ankur but looked at his short filmography. He's also in Yun Hota To Kya Hota with Konkona too. Not sure if they are paired together. I just have to get this film.
As you can tell in Amu, Kabir has feelings for Kaju. Kaju never showed any feelings towards Kabir but looked at him as a friend. I particularly found this scene uncomfortable to watch. Kabir tries to comfort Kaju.
Keya adopted Kaju when Kaju was only three-years-old. In the beginning, Keya was against Kaju visiting India by herself. Later she joins Kaju in India.
Interesting fact about Brinda Karat is the aunt of the director of Amu, Shonali Bose. She's also one of India's most famous feminist and communist party activist. You can read more about her on Wikipedia.
Gobind meets Kaju and befriends her since she visited his shop. He wants to helps Kaju find her biological parents. Yashpal Sharma is no junior actor. He's been in an endless number of movies. Besides the wonderful Konkona, Yashpal is the only other worthy name in Amu.
The slums bring back memories for Kaju.
Shonali Bose is the face behind Amu.
What makes Amu interesting to me is why Shonali chose to direct such a powerful film. As the movie ended, a credit was dedicated to her mom. The inspiration behind Amu is during the times of the 1984 riots in Dehli, Shonali was 19. Working in a relief camp, she took heard stories from victims. Her mother committed suicide a couple of years after the riots and she came to the USA for film school. Therefore, this film is close to her heart. Information about her mother here. You can read her interview here.
Amu starts off a girl going back to her birth home to learn more about her cultural roots but takes a turn to learn about the infamous 1984 Sikh riots in India. It was shown through Kaju's eyes. I am now educated a bit on the Sikh riots in India and want to read more about it. Since there is more of an "arty" film, there is no singing and dancing. Highly recommend this movie!!
Even though the film seems to have a dramatic plot, there were comical times in Amu. Gobind learns Kaju is doing a documentary on her visit to India. He brags that his son is a great dancer and even better than Shahrukh Khan! His son dances to Salman Khan's song "Aisa Pehli Baar" from Har Dil Jo Pyar Karega. Look that's Mohabbatein poster in the background!!! And at the top right - is that Hrithik Roshan from Kaho Naa Pyaar Hai?
Another comical time is when Kaju and her family were watching a Bollywood movie - it's Raaz!! Actually only parts of the song "Aap ke Pyar Main Hum" was shown. Although Bipasha was not in this song, I think it's great Bips and Konkona were in Omkara together. I hope to see them play sisters in the future. Two of my favorites!!!