Aamras is not a big budget movie and most likely, you wouldn't have heard much about it. So, when you walk into the theater without much expectation about the movie, there is a good chance you will like the movie. The movie is made with lot of heart and it shows. Though the protagonists in the movie are girls...the story is universal and it could apply to boys as well in the same age group, on the threshold of leaving school. And, therein lies the secret sauce in the movie.
Somewhere it appeals to everyone, whether you are living that life as a school student or have left school some time back or as parents.
The movie delivers a message and in a not-so-loud manner.
The story is simple and revolves around 4 friends - Rakhi (Maanvi), Pari (Ntasha), Jiya (Vega) and Aanchal (Sanya) who are inseparable at school and share everything between themselves but do not have much in common, outside the boundaries of the school. This is well crafted early in the film, in how their day starts at home and how they get to school. Their life revolves around sharing everything including attempt at meeting guys they met on the net. This was a funny situation to begin with and provided some comic relief.
The main story unfolds as they go to a picnic, when a couple of incidents happen which define the course of the movie. Pari gets involved in a controversy (inspired from recent MMS scandals) where a guy tries to win a simple bet with his friends and gets into something messy. And when Pari comes to know about this, she has to break off with a potential boyfriend, even before they could start a relationship! Jiya develops a soft corner for a guide on the tour. Though Pari doesn't endorse this relationship and when she feels, that Jiya is trying to hide the relationship from her, she just couldn't take it.
However, towards the end, how suddenly Pari develops a deep animosity towards Jiya without talking to her and later on, she has a quick realization to get back to her senses could have been handled in a different way. It could have done with some explanation. Also, some of the commentary about the class divide could have been avoided, when I felt, that it was bit preaching.
Am happy, that they avoided further complications in the storyline, by making Pari's father, Mr. Sehgal the builder who is trying to remove Jiya's family from their house. That would have been cliched. I think, this whole sub-plot could have been avoided, as it led the movie in a different direction. Though, these incidents are taken from real life stories, it didn't have enough scope in the storyline.
Ntasha as Pari, the rich spoilt brat, where she is willing to pamper her friends, but demands allegiance in return did her role well. I liked the vulnerability, which she portrayed in her character and especially the moment, when she breaks down in her room, feeling the whole world has let her down. Maanvi as Rakhi is the adorable one in the group, and her bonding with her on screen father, when she tries to "use" him against her mother are funny and very real. She is also somehow the balancing factor and the bridge in the group, who is close to both Pari and Jiya.
Reema Lagoo did't get enough chance to show her acting, and the Parimal Tripathi angle of Dharmendra's role in Chupke Chupke was also a wasted opportunity. If it had to be a caricature, it should have been more prominent. Others like Manoj Pahwa and Vikram Kapadia (Rakhi's father) played their role. I enjoyed the role of Rakhi's father as the owner of a Punjabi restaurant, which was funny, but without overboard usual Sardar cliches.
The songs are ok. The opening track "Chote Chote Pairon ke tale" by Kailash Kher stands out. Sambhali Hai Kitne Dino Se by Shweta Pandit is also a sweet song.
As I said, Aamras is a film done in modest budget and it shows in the finished product. It's not your usual glossy flick. But, one has to appreciate the courage and conviction in the film maker to make a film like this in today's times. Rakhi and Pari deliver the sweet and sour taste of Aamras in this tale of friendship. Jiya and Aanchal provide good support. The film may not make a big impact in the box-offfice, but it's a clean good film to go with your friends, if you are young...or, take the whole family to the theaters. Thats actually saying a lot, these days. :-)