Director: Atul Malhotra
Stars: Rez Kempton, Sam Vincent, Martin Delaney, Laura Aikman, Karen David, Nina Wadia, Meera Syal
The British comedy circuit certainly brings about its fair share of diverse, relevant and level-headed outings through the years and often these emanate from those lesser mainstream releases.
For every Keith Lemon and Harry Hill Movie that ultimately draws huge sighs of disappointment in British cinematic release choices, there are films such as Amar Akbar & Tony – the real comedies that not only garner laughs, but also bring about a huge sense of relevance and relation to us as an audience.
Directed by Atul Malhotra, the comedy focuses on a group of three friends growing up together to share a bond in friendship like few others. The trio, each from very different cultural backgrounds, soon find that with growing up there come certain obstacles that provide the stumbling blocks in life.
Whether it be in love, career choices or life choices in general, Amar, Akbar and Tony soon discover that despite the many humps in the road, their unique bond will help them every step of the way.
Very much representative of the modern day world, Malhotra’s film is a stark reminder that the world we live in today is one of multiple cultures and a willingness to embrace such things. In presenting a Sikh, Muslim and Irish Catholic as his main protagonists, the director immediately ushers in an air of familiarity to which audiences can instantly relate to his pictures. Set in London, the film’s backdrop is superbly poised for its representation of culture and the various lifestyles in which the people of today have to adapt and live within.
While Amar Akbar & Tony is essentially a comedy film, its willingness to explore much more serious issues works perfectly in its favour. It knows when to provoke laughter, but also serves as a stark reminder that there are also serious issues that arise in life that shock and question those vital decisions we must face each day.
What helps to drive this film forward is a simply scintillating cast, spearheaded by three men clearly well versed with each other in terms of characteristics their individual personas possess, as well as their interactions with one another. While Martin Delaney’s Tony is very much the butt of all jokes, Rez Kempton’s Amar is the glue of the group with his professional manner, while Sam Vincent’s Akbar offers the slick and ambitious part of the trio.
They are all so very different but merge together to create a great central trio that are instantly likeable and worth investing in. Much of the same can be said about the extended cast too. The likes of comedy stalwarts Nina Wadia and Meera Syal bring some great moments of comic timing, the beautiful Laura Aikman adds the extra spice to the cultural mix within the film, and both Karen David and Goldy Notay increase the glamour and beauty of the film.
This is a film that very much breaks through the boundaries of the typical focus on Asian culture. Very much bringing things up-to-date and wholly relevant, AAT is a film that is in touch with the present and brilliantly avoids cheap imitation of past properties and their cliched quips.
There are no arranged marriages, over-exaggerated accents or flamboyant Bollywood-esque set pieces. This is essentially an everyday film representing the mixture of cultures and adding that feel-good factor within some truly grounded scenarios.
With a stellar cast, Victoria Wood on production duties and a director who is clearly in touch with what people can relate to in this day and age, Amar Akbar & Tony is another British success story and one not to miss.