"But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander." ~ 1 Peter 3:15-16

Review: Amal (Movie)

“Sometimes the poorest of men are the richest.”

AMAL is an excellent movie filmed in New Delhi, provoking thoughts on wealth, greed and contentment. The lead character was an auto-rickshaw driver whose name was Amal Kumar. Amal was a satisfied and honest fellow who went by the metre rates, despite his poor family background. At one point in the movie, Amal sold his rickshaw to a local gangster, in order to pay for the operations of a beggar girl who was knocked down by car. The girl died on the operating table, despite Amal’s care and concerns.

The movie began to flow when a disguised rich man boarded Amal’s auto-rickshaw one day. The rich man took noticed of Amal’s good character during the ride and was surprised that Amal would reject the insignificant fare change as tips. The rich man was impressed with Amal and subsequently willed his estate to Amal, on the condition that Amal be found within one month. Otherwise, the estate would be distributed to the rich man’s two sons who were good-for-nothing. As the story developed, one of the sons murdered the rich man’s business partner when the business partner decided to withdraw from their earlier agreement not to locate and identify Amal as the preferred successor to the rich man’s estate. The movie progressed between the struggle of the rich man’s two sons, business partner and lawyer, and the love story of Amal and Pooja who did not spared her dowry to help Amal fixed an abandoned auto-rickshaw so he could continue his trade.

Towards the end of the movie, the lawyer managed to find Amal and passed him the rich man’s letter to read. However, the lawyer was distracted by a phone call regarding the death of the business partner, and did not notice Amal’s leaving. Amal’s mind was pre-occupied with his date with Pooja, which was about to start soon. When returning to his auto-rickshaw, Amal gave that letter to a homeless girl on the street when she asked for some paper to draw on. The homeless girl noticed the writing on the paper and thought it might be an important document. And then it was revealed that Amal could not read and would not have known what he had missed. The movie ended with Amal and Pooja both smiling in the auto-rickshaw, and the rich man wondering what the man who did not want the meagre tip would do with three billions.

The biggest strength of this movie, lies in the superb performance of the cast and especially Amal. Given the script, the lead character tend to appear as idealistic and unreal, and it will be difficult to portray the lead character as convincing as possible. But Amal was simply natural and reflective of the image demanded by the script. Amal’s acting make it believable, that such a person could exist! And this actually allows the viewer to ponder more deeply on the issue of wealth and a person’s contentment. Twists of events at key points of the movie, also made the movie unpredictable and more enjoyable. The movie is suited for family viewing as there is no sexual scene or extreme violence in the movie (even the murder scene was filmed indirectly and without blood).

As I watched Amal’s misfortune, most of which he willingly burdened upon himself, I confess that I took pleasure dreaming on what I would do if I inherited the three billions. But I am also reminded of the Beatitudes (Matt 5:1-12). Is it possible for a person like Amal, to have such great humility to the extent that insults from client were not taken to heart, and still provide excellent customer service from the heart? Is it possible for a person to accept a reduction in agreed fair fare and then to reject a small tip? Is it possible for a person to care for a stranger to such an extent that huge debts were shouldered and mortgaged with the trade tool depended on for a living, in order to cover for the stranger’s expenses? Is it possible that such a person exists altogether? It is beyond a reasonable person, but perhaps, maybe, a Christ follower should be like this down the Indian road? I am reminded of the book, “The Christ of the Indian Road” by E. Stanley Jones.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

Overall, AMAL is among my top must-recommend favourites.