Director Avinash Kumar Singh was bold to pick a subject close to perhaps many hearts in India – can two people who have lost their partners/husband/wife marry and start a life once again?
In his film Listen.. Amaya, featuring Farooq Shaikh, Deepti Naval, Swara Bhaskar, he dealt with this subject quite efficiently although, he finally tucked his tail under him and fled out, making a statement, that ill disposes women and men in such situation.
Farooq Shaikh is a widower, and photographer. Deepti Naval is a widow who runs a beautiful café called Book A Café. Swara Bhaskar is her daughter, perhaps in the last years of her teens. They both share a very close relationship, until of course Deepti and Farooq develop a liking for each other. The relationship is mature, calm and mellow. However, for Swara ( Amaya ) it is not. She is obsessed with the growing relationship between her mother and the photographer, and is adding a lot of anger and negative emotions to the relationship, by causing her mother a lot of anxiety. Amaya, won’t have her mother have a love life of her own, despite the fact that together with Farooq Shaikh, she has written a Coffee Table Book (Oh! It is such a done thing in 2013, when all and everyone is a writer/author!!) ready for publication. It takes a Chitti ( peternal ) to come from Chennai to make Amaya understand, that there is absolutely no problem, if Deepti moves on. This does not mean that she loves her less, or that Deepti has forgotten Amaya’s father! Amaya suddenly consents to the relationship.
But wait a minute! Director Avinash Kumar Singh, must play spoil sport! He is afraid that the masses will reject the film and so, guess what? He has suddenly made poor Farooq Shaikh a victim of Alzheimer’s and now, Deepti Naval is rendered another blow – she must live with a love that may not ever remember who she is, in time. She is back with the ‘dead to the world of beautiful memories and love’.
The Indian audience loved it. The film received The Best Film (NJISACF), Best Director (NJISACF), Best Director (DCSAFF), Best Actress (NYIFF). India’s age old widows and widowers have been positioned to maintain status quo. No love life, after the death of one or the other!
I say damn! Can’t a director show more mettle? Is his research not complete? If he can make a film, in modern unban India ( Delhi), then has he forgotten that urban India behaves differently. And if you talk of rural India, they too are moving forward. Why should a man/woman, who has lost their partners, live the rest of their lives as widow/er? Communities in India, like Maharashtrians, re-marry with three months of the passing away of the partner. It is a practical step taken. Life is paradise gained, why do directors of films have to preserve dead leaves from regressive social practices of yesteryears?
Films are supposed to affect change. They create a shake- up and a good film such as this one made, could win the hearts of people, and make them think otherwise.
I advocate happiness, I celebrate the will to create your own future and I say, Love and Life are synonymous. When we reject one, we reject the other. And vice versa.
I wish the Director a stronger nerve, next time!
Film: Listen... Amaya
Directed by : Avinash Kumar Singh
Produced by: Ashok Sawhny
Written by: Geeta Singh, Avinash Kumar Singh, Vikas Chandra
Story by: Geeta Singh
Starring: Farooq Shaikh, Deepti Naval, Swara Bhaskar
Music by: Indraneel Hariharan, Punam Hariharan (lyrics)
Cinematography: Ramshreyas Rao
Editing by: Geeta Singh
Studio Turtle on a Hammock Films
Distributed by Turtle on a Hammock Films
February 1, 2013 (India)
Running time 108 min