Excel to release Amu DVD; Aamir Khan to unveil

Mumbai: An award winning film based on the infamous ’84 Sikh riots is being released on DVD. Amu, directed by Shonali Bose and produced by her husband Bedabrata Pain, will be unveiled on DVD by Aamir Khan at Landmark stores, Infiniti Mall, Andheri (West) on 9th August at 3:30 p.m.

The Film stars Konkona Sensharma, Brinda Karat, Yashpal Sharma, and Ankur Khanna in lead roles. It is being released on DVD by Excel Home Videos.

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).

Khan says, "Amu is a heart wrenching film, extremely well made and deeply moving. It iss an important film as it is very relevant to our times."

The making of the movie was marred with numerous obstacles including last minute backing out of a reputed production house, threat tactics from local goons during the shoot of the riots scenes etc. The self –financed film had its share of problems with the censor board that cleared it (with six politically motivated cuts) with an "A" certificate.

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. The makers reapplied for a new censor certificate but they were asked to cut ten 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 is the story of Kaju (Konkona 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.

Amu also marks the acting debut of communist leader and activist Brinda Karat, who is playing a key role in the film. Karat said, "I agreed to play Keya (Konkona’s mother) because the script is so powerful and so rooted in reality. Furthermore, it is not just dealing with an issue that I feel strongly about but is a beautiful mother daughter relationship. I relate to the character of Keya, to a mother who will do anything for a child even when she is not biologically her own."

The DVD, released by Excel Home Videos has a host of bonus material. Excel Home Videos managing director M.N Kapasi says, "We have made the DVD true to the essence of the film with deleted scenes, 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".

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