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New Release Review - AMAR AKBAR & TONY

The exploits of three friends from differing cultural backgrounds.


Review by Ren Zelen (@renzelen)

Directed by: Atul Malhotra

Starring: Rez Kempton, Sam Vincenti, Martin Delaney, Dev Sagoo, Karen David, Laura Aikman, Tanveer Ghani, Goldy Notay, Meera Syal, Nina Wadia


"Amar, Akbar & Tony knows its market, and should have a certain appeal in the UK, potentially around the profitable Bollywood circuit where it might edge its way in at a time when, hopefully, society is ready to listen to its message."



An independent British movie made on a shoestring budget, Amar, Akbar & Tony is inspired by the 1970s Bollywood film Amar Akbar Anthony, and is a comedy\drama set in a multi-ethnic London suburb of Hounslow. With Sikh, Muslim and Irish Catholic characters as the leads, first-time director Atul Malhotra makes a cozy plea for a multi-racial Britain, co-existing in mutual understanding and harmony.
Malhotra’s movie centres around the lives and loves of three childhood friends as they stumble through life’s unexpected trials. Amar (Rez Kempton), whose father owns the fourteenth Indian restaurant on Hounslow’s High Street, is an up-and-coming, young lawyer. Akbar (Sam Vincenti) is a Muslim wide-boy making his way in property speculation and Tony (Martin Delaney) is the feckless, Catholic boy constantly falling in love with unattainable, Indian women – with unfortunate consequences. The family values and friendships of the trio are tested as they face unexpected challenges, including near fatal accidents, scandals, interracial marriage, confessions, family secrets, violence and imprisonment.
Amar, Akbar & Tony is clearly short on funds, (most evident in bare-bones production values and a rather abrasive sound cut) and Malhotra ambles along for 93 minutes without much heed to the concept of dramatic thrust. There are a few scenes which, though amusing, seem to have no particular purpose, and the movie occasionally suffers from some jarring tonal shifts.
It remains, however, a relentlessly good-natured comedy, not too taxing on the brain or on the emotions. Malhotra enjoys poking fun at traditions while giving an amiable message about first-generation immigrants having the courage to live their own lives - a lesson which is particularly evident through the wise words and actions of the movie’s most endearing character, Amar’s father, Mr Singh (Dev Sagoo).
It sometimes plays rather like a Richard Curtis take on The In-Betweeners and features well-known British comics Meera Syal and Nina Wadia in two amusing cameos. It has a feel-good Curtisesque ending, providing colour and weddings aplenty.
Amar, Akbar & Tony knows its market, and should have a certain appeal in the UK, potentially around the profitable Bollywood circuit where it might edge its way in at a time when, hopefully, society is ready to listen to its message.
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