In Memory of the Victims of the Events of 1984 By Safaa Elaisy Haggag
in 10th Mumbai International Film Festival
Amu, a first film by the woman director Shonali Bose, is one of the new trend in Indian cinema trying to deal with real problems, avoiding melodrama, and without songs such as in Bollywood movies. Amu is not completely different; the difference comes from the way the story is told.
Shonali Bose, who is the writer of her film, helps us to get to know the Indian young girl through the social and political background in India in the relatively recent past and the present. Bose has a documentary sense which links the death of the young heroine’s father to the intolerance against Sikhs after Indira Gandhi was killed. The tragedy occurred in New Delhi in 1984 when thousands of innocent Sikhs were brutally murdered and the government turned a blind eye.
This political background causes the girl pain, although she is adopted by a lovely woman, as well as getting to know a young man and his father, who help her to search for her real family. Amu is not a feminist work, but the work of a woman director like a mother caring about her children i.e. the characters. Konkana is extremely convincing in the lead, especially in the final scene at the train station, when there is a flashback to what happened to her when her father was beaten to death.
The rhythm of the film is neither fast nor slow, and is well edited down to 90 minutes in contrast to the usual Indian film of three hours. Amu goes directly to its subject, which starts from the private tragedy and leads us to the general view of the events of 1984. The film is dedicated to the memory of the victims.