wogma rating: Watch, but no rush (?)
Amen is a short film that has been withheld by the censor board because it uninhibitedly explains and shows homosexuality. It is more an awareness film than a story that certainly deserves a release.Read more
Disclaimer: Amen is based on the true life story of Harish Iyer. Harish is a friend and an inspiration. Amen is currently stuck at the censor board which has refused the 'A' (Adult certificate) because of explicit sexual content. Also, this review is for adults only.
Update: The DVD is now available here. Go get your copy.
Amen is a beginner's lesson in homosexuality, Homosexuality 101 so to speak. And thus it also teaches us about our homophobia. Not so much the semantics of how it's done, but Amen unveils the various myths associated with homosexuality. Given our immaturity as a society on the subject, it is a much-needed lesson.
Amen's focus is clearly on showing the human side to gay people. The frustration that it comes from is apparent. Gay people are misunderstood as different and thus 'heartless' and Amen tries to show you what the misunderstanding is all about.
Andy and Harry meet through an online community and Andy hasn't come to terms with his sexuality. He represents us, as a society. From his attitude towards his own sexual orientation to the sexual abuse that Harry faced as a child. The latter, though only one of the elements in Amen, is a genuine concern for us as a society and specifically young parents.
Actors, Karan Mehra and Jitin Gulati bring the insecurities and resignation faced by gay people with brilliant sensitivity. In times when homosexuals are used in Indian films mainly as comic relief, or rather to be ridiculed, Karan and Jitin's bravery is beyond applause. It's not only bold, what they portrayed, but it also takes pluck and a strong spine to take the risk, as far their careers are concerned too.
The characters are simple and the relationship issues are normal, if you take out the homosexual angle. And that is the main point that Amen tries to make. It is simple, it is normal. There should be no necessity to emphasize it.
The opening sequence of the film is extremely uncomfortable. In a culture where two flowers coming together symbolizes sexual attraction and at many a time intercourse itself; straightforward and to-the-point sexual intimacy between two men is naturally going to make one awkward. But, the uneasiness is in us. And it's high time we deal with it. Just for the dearth of films based on the subject, Amen is a must-watch.
Sure, there are bits that come across as preachy because of the point that the film is trying to make. It also felt like a documentary, an awareness film made palatable by use of a human story wrapped around relatable characters.
Amen is a quick watch at less than 25 minutes. And compared to the innumerable violent and sexually explicit 'item' numbers that make their entry into Bollywood Friday-after-Friday, Amen is a film that needs to see a release. One of cinema's job description is to educate, isn't it the duty of the censor board as the education ministry then to allow what needs to be publicly acceptable knowledge?
P.S. Fact file:
- meeta, a part of the audience
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This page has additional observations, other than the ones noted in the main review.
Not for children.