About Me

My photo
I live on the ocean, write women's fiction, love to read so much that it's an addiction rather than a hobby (I read an average of a book a day). I live on the wet west coast so it's a good thing that I like to walk in the rain.

Monday, August 11, 2008


Most of you will not have heard of this movie - I'm a movie addict and I only heard of it this week. It's only playing in one festival/art theatre in Vancouver and it's got Canadian money (and director/writer) supporting it so it may be a while before it gets to your city. But when it does, you'll want to see it.

It's a modern retelling of the story of Diogenes - who is famous for having spent much of his life searching Athens for an honest man. I can't remember offhand whether it actually found one - but I'm pretty sure he didn't.

But in Delhi? There's definitely one. He's a rickshaw wallah named Amal Kumar and he - for a very short rickshaw ride - befriends an old man. Little does he know that the old man isn't the bum he looks to be but an extremely wealthy hotel owner...

As you can guess, the story goes on to tell us about what happens to Amal, the hotel owner, the woman Amal loves but will never tell, the child he meets as the result of an accident, the hotel owner's evil sons and not-as-evil-as-he-seems-at-first employee.

The movie is full of Dickens-like coincidences and in many ways that's just what it feels like. A huge, sprawling Dickens novel (not Bleak House, but perhaps Great Expectations or David Copperfield) set in India. If you read Dickens, you'll probably know exactly what's going to happen at least a few minutes before it does - but it doesn't really matter.

The language wanders between sub-titles and English - almost everyone in India except the very poor, it seems, speaks beautiful English. After the first shift, I didn't even notice whether the characters were speaking or I was reading the sub-titles. It just seemed perfectly natural.

While Amal is incredibly poor by our North American standards, don't go expecting a tragedy. Yes, of course (like Dickens) there are terrible things happening to good people - but, in the end, Amal is a feel-good movie. The people aren't perfect (which is a joy to this movie addict) and neither is the world - but the main characters learn their lessons and live good lives.

I think you'll enjoy it. I did.


No comments: