Story of a good man captivates

(Canscene) — Our screens are thickly populated with anti-heroes; even those characters seen performing decent acts have their flaws. It must be discouraging to a film maker to consider depicting a person of principle without creating a namby-pamby cliché of a character.

But in Amal, his first feature, young Mississsiuga born director and co-writer Richie Mehta (no relation to Deepa Mehta) has succeeded in creating a character whose innocence drives his life-affirming actions.

Adapting a story by his brother Shaun , Richie introduces us to Amal, an illiterate auto-rickshaw driver who plies his trade through the chaotic streets of New Delhi. When he witnesses the injury of a young girl in a traffic accident, Amal takes the child to a hospital and prays for her recovery. He learns that she needs an operation which will cost him dearly and the sale of his vehicle to a loan shark.

But things don’t go totally wrong. An act of kindness toward an elderly man whose dress suggests he’s a vagrant (actually a multi-millionaire) results in a series of events that will further test Amal’s worth.

Playing the honest Amal is another Southern Ontarian, Rupinder Nagra who makes his character really believable as a man totally lacking self consciousness of his worthiness.


That Mehta has persuaded a number of eminent Indian actors like Seema Biswas, Koel Purie, Roshan Seth and Naseeruddhin Shah to join the cast indicates that his future is indeed bright. The beautiful Koel Purie, as a business woman and frequent passenger is the object of Amal’s at-a-distance affections.

Filmed in Hindi with some dialogue in English , the success of Amal with Canada’s South Asian audiences should be guaranteed, but its worth as a Canadian production should reach even wider audiences. It is altogether an admirable first effort which would do credit to a seasoned director.

I was astounded to learn that the City-TV award for best first feature had been given to the director of Continental: un film sans fusil, for what to me was an utter waste of talent and money and my time.

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