Listen Amaya' was rated a 'U' by the censor board, headed by Ms Pankaja Thakur (who was the presiding officer during the censor screening of Listen Amaya), which itself is supposed to be a great rarity in today's scenario. It makes for an impressive piece of great family viewing! Very strong performances from the lead actors as well as some really good music. There is also a re-rendition of the song, Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si, sung by Kunal Ganjawalla and choreographed by Longinus Fernandes.
It was the closing film and also won the Best Director and Best Feature Film at the NJISACF (New Jersey), was the centrepiece film at CSAFF (Chicago), the opening film at IIFF (Tampa - Florida) and now also the opening film at the prestigious London Asian Film Festival on the 7th of March.
It is indeed wonderful then that Farooque Sheikh and Deepti Naval are acting in this film after 27 years. They have been a part of 7 memorable films in the 80s like Chasme Baddoor, Katha, Kisi Se Na Kehna and were quite popular. The couple play an elderly couple who fall in love when circumstances bring them together.
‘Book a coffee’, is an offbeat library cum coffee shop. It is owned and run by Leela Krishnamoorthy, a middle aged widow. She herself is as interesting and free spirited as the café she runs! Amaya, Leela’s only child is a fire-brand 22 year-old writer; quick witted, confident and open-minded. They adore each other as only mother daughter can. In to this mix, is thrown Jayant Sinha, a 60 year old retired photographer, who continues his chosen profession as a hobby today. He is passionate about people and the memories they create; he is also a great friend to Amaya Krishnamoorthy, with whom he decides to co-author a coffee table book, titled Memories…of The Busy Bazaar. The Busy Bazaar as a title has it’s own story and adds a subtle but intriguing undercurrent to the narrative woven around it.
And along the way, Leela falls in love again. Given that Amaya is open minded and modern in the way she reacts to various things around her, gives Leela reason to believe that this will in no way be a hindrance or a problem with her daughter. And this is also the crux of the whole story. At a dinner, Jayant begins to narrate the incident in which his family was tragically killed to Leela. Talking late into the night, Jayant spends the night in Leela’s home, which is also when Amaya walks in on them the next morning, just as Leela is consoling a broken Jayant who’s just finished his heart rending story. As relationships that were once rock solid, fracture and crumble, the film explores multiple relationships in their own unique ways. It also traces Amaya’s journey of anger, betrayal and disbelief to one where she understands the reasons behind everything that has happened between mother and daughter. Once her head clears, Amaya is the one that makes the effort to rebuild lives, piece together shattered relationships and bring the missing sunshine back into everybody’s lives. Other characters beautifully woven into the film also add to the layering and texture, that character driven films demand. Finally, there is also a sub plot that runs alongside the main narrative, which becomes the sublime finale to a sensitive, subtly humorous and extremely touching story. Listen Amaya is a modern, young, contemporary film about relationships, family dynamics, about pre-conceptions and about priorities.
The film is an offbeat film and since the audiences are opening up and are receptive to all genres of films provided they are made well, the film is impressive thanks to the chemistry of the lead pair who again create magic after years. It is the warmth, chemistry and their interactions which makes the film special along with Swara Bhaskar’s role as the daughter who is caught in two minds, but finally gives in to the mother’s happiness . First time director Avinash Singh impresses.