Aamir unveils controversial 'Amu' on DVD
Amu, the national award winning film directed by Shonali Bose, based on the infamous Sikh Riots of 1984 was unveiled on DVD by Bollywood Superstar Aamir Khan at Landmark stores. The Film which will never appear on Indian Television is being released on DVD by Excel Home Videos. The unveiling was also attended by Konkona Sensharma (Lead Actress Amu), Shonali Bose (Director), Beda Pain (Producer), Yashpal Sharma (Actor) and M.N Kapasi (MD, Excel Home Videos).
Says Aamir Khan, "Amu is a heart wrenching story. It is an important film and is very relevant to our times".
Says Shonali Bose, "We are very pleased that the film can be viewed on DVD and we thank Excel for making it possible. The cuts made in Amu for television by the censors were equivalent to banning the film. The Indian government is not shielding Indian youth from scenes of horrific violence – because there are none in Amu. With the DVD format, we hope the film reaches out to a larger audience without loosing crucial scenes"
Says Beda Pain, "Such a history cannot be buried and forgotten. Young people cannot make their future or understand their present without knowing the past. Today, twenty-four years after an elected government massacred its own people in full view of the world, no one has been punished. And as a result, the cycle of violence has continued. What kind of political system is this in which those in power can get away with such crimes again and again? This is the question Amu leaves the young protagonists with as they walk down a railway track into the future. This is why we made Amu. So that people all over the world will ask the question".
Says Konkona Sensharma, "The DVD is a great way of keeping the message alive. The movie deserves a wider audience since it will not release on television".
Says M.N Kapasi, MD, Excel Home Videos, "We have made the DVD true to the essence of the film with deleted scenes, theatrical trailers, making of Amu, director's commentary – recounting the numerous obstacles encountered during the making of the film. The DVD also has stalwarts and actors from the industry including Aamir Khan, Shyam Benegal, Mira Nair, Naseeruddin Shah, Jaya Bachchan, Hema Malini, Ketan Mehta, Gulzar, Aparna Sen, Vishal Bharadwaj, Vivek Oberoi, Shaad Ali and others publicly endorsing the film".
The DVD of Amu has great significance since the film will never be released on television as there is a law that prohibits films with an "A" certificate to be shown on television. With an aim to air the film on TV, the makers reapplied for a new censor certificate but were asked to cut 10 minutes from the film – including any verbal reference to the riots. Say Bose and Pain, "With such changes the film is meaningless. As a result we will not be showing the film on Indian television thus losing a significant audience which we hope to make up with the DVD."
Amu premiered at the Berlin Film Festival and the Toronto Film Festival in 2005. Since then, it has won numerous awards and accolades including two National Film Awards - Best Feature Film, Best Director (English language), FIPRESCI Critics Award, Gollapudi Srinivasa Award – Best Debut Director (India), Star Screen Award – Best English Film (India), Teenage Choice Award, Jury Award, Italy [Cine donne Film Festival] and Audience Choice Award (Indian Film Festival, Washington DC).
Amu is the story of Kaju (Konkana Sensharma), a twenty-one-year-old Indian American woman who returns to India to visit her family. She is blocked at every turn when she begins asking simple questions about her past. Aided by Kabir, a young man who is deeply attracted to her and her quest, she embarks on an unstoppable journey to seek the truth. She soon learns that the genocide against the Sikhs in the capital city over twenty years ago, might hold the key to her mysterious origins. The Hollywood Reporter describes Amu as a first rate detective story.