Movie: Amal

True kindness is really rare it seems, except in the case of Amal Kumar the central character of this film, whose noble intentions and good will set off a string of events that crisscross the lives of so many.  Based on a short story by Shaun Mehta, this Canadian production set in New Delhi captures the many disparate faces of India together with its bustling population and confronting poverty. It is precisely this backdrop of unique characters and the country's blatant social stratification that makes it such a fascinating setting for the film.  Everyone here co-exists without any real connection to each other, that is, until Amal, the eternally caring and tender rickshaw driver, manages to touch their lives in a swirl of selflessness thereby setting off a chain of tragic events.

You can never quite predict what will happen in this film for it is at once filled with so much hope and promise that's it's almost hard to digest the moments when it turns dark and ugly.  Just when things seem to be getting better we are met with yet another surprise that somehow manages to punch us sorely in the stomach before finally drawing to a quiet yet somehow unfinished conclusion.  Perhaps the only element that remains steadfast and consistent however is Amal's contentment with his occupation.  Being a rickshaw driver is hardly an enviable occupation but it gives Amal a sense of pride and dignity that is often lacking in those around him.  His rickshaw, inherited from his father, is also a symbolic reminder of the man who once shared the same profession.  

Rupinder Nagra as Amal Kumar
Amal's integrity quickly begins to affect those around him and it is a single encounter with a wealthy passenger that leads him to inherit a considerable fortune.  While the affected family members bicker over their father's will they are left to unravel Amal's identity and whereabouts.  As a scrimmage for the proceeds ensues it is Amal's character who brings to our attention the ways in which everyone in the film is ultimately related in one way or another.  Perhaps the film's greatest achievement is the healthy balance it strikes between its sentimental and dramatic undertones which is quite remarkable for a first time director.  This is an impressive debut which certainly deserves more credit and recognition.  It will be interesting to see what more director Ritchie Mehta will have in store for us in the future.  See it for yourself and let me know what you think.  I doubt that you'll be disappointed.

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