Earlier this week I got a copy of the film "Amu" which just came out on DVD and Commemorating 23rd Anniversary Of Genocide Against Sikhs. Every night when I came home I have been wanting to watch it, but each night it was too late or I was exhausted and had to get some sleep. Finally tonight, (Friday) I had the chance to watch the film for the first time. It’s about 12:30AM and I just finished watching it so wanted to jot down some thoughts before I head off to sleep.
"This is a film about a 21 year old Indian American women visiting from India to get in touch with her family and learn about her roots. She is then blocked at every turn when she begins asking simple questions about her past. She embarks on an unstoppable journey to seek the truth. She soon learns that a genocide in New Delhi from 20 years ago might hold the key to her mysterious origin."
When I started the movie I expected it to be somewhat more of a re-enactment of the 1984 riots. I am so used to seeing websites and online videos with horrid images of dead bodies and crying victims, so I prepared myself for a really heavy movie (which it was not). I know it can be a challenge to tell these stories, since there is so much emotion and history that it brings up for Sikhs all over the world. I really liked how Shonali Bose (the film maker) told the story through the eyes of "Amu" in a less direct way then a documentary would. You learn about the history, but in a much more subtle and personal way through the story of Amu.
I was about nine or ten years old when all the attacks at the Harimandir Sahib happened and later on when the New Delhi Riots happened. I was in Boarding school in Mussoorie (UP) and remember the tension we all felt and the increased security at our school (which was a sikh school). I remember hearing about local riots happening in town, and about the things that Sikhs were facing. As a young child I never really knew what was going on and how bad it was. I always hear the slogan "Never Forget 1984" but didn’t relate to it in the same way that many of my Sikh brothers and sisters did who probably had families who were directly effected by these events.
The film Amu is a must watch for everyone, whether you are a Sikh or not. The story is told in a way that everyone can digest and shares the reality of what happened (without getting heavy or showing violence). I also like the fact that it is targeted towards anyone (not just Sikhs) and was kept religiously neutral, so that anyone in India could watch it and relate, without getting into religion. I feel like it is a good film for the youth of today who didn’t directly experience these events and might not know what happened. The film was high quality with great acting, great story and great music. If you get the DVD, watch some of the bonus features which are also very interesting and give you the "behind the scenes" look at the film.
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