Avinash Kumar Singh's "Listen Amaya" (2013) Hindi Movie: First Look Preview of Farooque Shaikh, Deepti Naval Starrer

A scene from Listen Amaya

Mumbai, Dec 11, 2012 (Washington Bangla Radio) 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.

Into 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.

After having lost her husband 12 years ago, Leela refuses to become a stereotypical wallflower, who wallows in the unfairness of life. It translates into the sort of person she becomes, the way her daughter is brought up and the people who are attracted to her.

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.

A scene from Listen Amaya

The director Avinash Kumar Singh says, "Listen Amaya began as a little germ of an idea in Geeta’s mind many years ago, as a short film of under 5 minutes in length with two principal characters sitting and having a conversation on a sofa. Then we put it away, locked up on a computer hard drive somewhere and forgot about it for 7 years!

I’ve asked myself the question many times as to why I wanted to tell this story. Why should anyone invest even an hour and forty minutes of their lives to so much as go watch Listen Amaya; leave alone the countless hours scores of people have invested in it, to get it made in the first place?

I’ve really never ever managed to come up with an intellectual enough sounding answer, which would make either Geeta or me look (or sound), ‘evolved’ or ‘forward thinking’ or even ‘new age’ enough!

Pity. What an opportunity lost!

I suppose at it’s crux, is because we are all suckers for emotion. Basic emotions such as anger, love, pain, loneliness and happiness are very powerful to watch or observe. These emotions also fascinate both Geeta and myself as filmmakers and human beings. Instinctively, we base a lot of our decisions and reactions on how we feel about something or someone, and very rarely has that instinct let us down.

Yeah, being able to feel.

That’s the real hook.

Also, having written and directed this story, what jumps out is that as directors, we articulate stories that we connect with. We visualize characters from interactions we may have had with hundreds of people in our lives and we write dialogues the way we speak everyday. It is paramount for us to tell stories that are believable and relatable.

There is no huge social message buried in the story of Listen Amaya. There is no agenda that is to be achieved and there is absolutely no malice or cheating in the narrative of these character’s lives. It is just a simple story where the characters connect with you, because they could be your neighbors, your parents or even friends of yours.This film stands dedicated to the many Jayant’s and Leela’s who deserve the chance to be unshackled from the chains of their memories, so that they may live the rest of their lives, surrounded by love,happiness and companionship.

Listen Amaya would never have seen the light of day, had our friends and families not rallied around us when we set out to tell this story. The hugely talented cast that devoured and then became their characters; the technicians and crew who smiled through twenty hour days and worked with a passion and enthusiasm that both Geeta and I have been privileged to witness. But most importantly, we are indebted to Geeta’s father Mr. Ashok Sawhny and friends of ours in Sarah, Vinod and Shalini, Rajiv who proverbially, “put their money where their mouth was” and financially backed the production of this film.

Art imitates life?"

"I sure hope so", adds Singh.

A scene from Listen Amaya

Says producer Ashok Sawhny, "When the script for "Listen Amaya" was brought to me by my children, Geeta and Avinash Kumar Singh, I was fascinated by the story and the easy flow of the dialogue, both of which were their creation.

Listen Amaya is, in today’s context with the changed mores and social norms, very relevant to the times. I thought it would also put in perspective the issues involved, and so beautifully depicted in the film, from the standpoints of both Farouque Sheikh and Deepti Naval, living single lives, and the impact of circumstances on the lives of the younger generation."

The film brings out, very subtly, the fact, that never mind where we are at any point of time in our views about our social and moral values and our responsibilities or otherwise, we are all for
ever tied to the basic human emotions of love, empathy, compassion and a fellow feeling and those will never change.

I am very happy to be involved with Listen Amaya. It has been a great experience to me watching the film being made and then the end result of a great effort."

"In two words - Simply Beautiful", adds Sawhny.

Key Cast:

Farooque Shaikh
Deepti Naval
Swara Bhaskar
Amala Akkineni
Siddhant Karnick
Oroon Das
Kriti Maria Pant
Vidya Bhushan
Viren Basoya

Key Crew:

Director: Avinash Kumar Singh
Original story and screenplay: Geeta & Avinash K. Singh
Producer: Ashok Sawhny
Co-producer(s): Sarah & Kurian Thomas, Shalini & Rajiv Malhotra
DOP: Ramshreyas Rao
Editor: Geeta Singh
Music: Indraneel Hariharan
Playback Singer(s): Kunal Ganjawalla, Vidhi Sharma
Sound Designer: Sohel Sanwari
Production Designer: Rakesh Yadav
Line Producer: Girish Patel
DI Colorist: JD (Pixion)
PR: Parull Gossain
Marketing & Publicity: Rajendram Akula
Publicity Designer: Sachin Suresh Gurav
Project Consultant: Ranjan Singh
Choregrapher(s): Longinus Fernandes, Charu Shankar
Original story and screenplay: Geeta & Avinash K. Singh
Lyrics: Punam Hariharan

Partners:

Music on: Saregama
Online partner: Glamsham.com

Technical Specifications:

Shot on: Arri Alexa (4:4:4)
Language: Hindi
Duration: 108 mins
Sound: Sync Sound
Shoot location: New Delhi & Mumbai
Post House (Vfx and DI): Pixion
5.1 Dolby mixed at: Audeus
Digital mastering (2K and Mpeg2): Real Image - QUBE