directed by: Shonali Bose
starring: Konkona Sen Sharma; Yashpal Sharma; Brinda Karat
|Bruce says: "'I feel foreign,' Kaju tells
her Delhi cousins. Raised in Los Angeles by a single mom, Kaju is visiting
her family in India for the first time on her own. Her cousin takes her
to the university where she meets Kabir, son of a government Minister.
Kaju and Gobind experience instant friction but, in spite of their differences,
he agrees to escort her around the city. Kaju wants to visit the family
of Gobind (Yashpal Sharma), a café owner she meets. They live in
an area of the city her family and Kabir do not think is safe or savory.
Kaju feels a strange sense of déjà vu during the visit. On
subsequent days she is drawn back to the same quarter for repeat visits.
"Kaju and Kabir slowly develop a truce and she confesses that she was adopted after her parents died during an epidemic in 1984. When Kabir checks the epidemic on the Internet, he finds no such thing. On her visits to Gobind’s family Kaju hears about the riots of 1984, a part of history that remains unspoken among the educated classes.
"Refusing to let go of the issue, Kaju feels that she needs to know the story of her past. Day by day she uncovers horrible stories of the Sikh massacre of 1984, how friends turned against one another and how people were murdered in the streets. Kabir, at the same time, becomes to see how his father was complicitous in the massacre. When Kaju’s mother (Brinda Karat) arrives from LA, mother and daughter have lots of lies and half truths to sort out.
"AMU is hampered by the choice of Konkona Sen Sharma in the role of Kaju. She has center stage throughout the film and simply is not consistent enough to be up to the task. Brinda Karat and Yashpal Sharma fare much better in their roles. Director Shonali Bose unfortunately did not know where to draw the line with her dramatic affects. As Kaju slowly uncovers facts of her early childhood, eerie music indicates that some supernatural power is steering her towards the truth. The film is well-meaning and illuminating; in more accomplished hands it could have been much more. 3 cats
"AMU was shown at the 2005 Toronto International Film Festival"