Review: Deepti Naval as Leela is truly living the dream in her newest venture. She runs a quaint little cafe, Book A Coffee, and is expectantly a darling among its patrons. Helping her run this cafe is her headstrong and vivacious daughter, Amaya played by Swara Bhaskar. Despite being opposites, both mother and daughter are extremely close and the bond they share will make you long to pick up the phone and affectionately tease your Ma!
Amaya is the kind of girl who slapped her boss because he wanted to sleep with her, while Leela is uninhibited and a people person. To the rest of the world, they’re the enviable little family everyone yearns to have (gear yourself for a lot of cheesiness). However, there’s one more person missing from this happy family and that’s Jayant played by the Farooq Sheikh. Also known as Jazz, Jayant is a photographer who regularly visits Leela’s cafe and the inevitable happened three years ago. Both of them being widowed have found solace in each other and have learnt to love again. However, this secret is between the two of them. Listen Amaya portrays how Amaya comes to terms with the new man in her mother’s life.
We all like to pride ourselves on being open minded and happily play agony aunt to others but what happens when we’re in a dilemma that requires us to put our loved one’s happiness first. One would expect a 22-year-old Amaya to come to terms with her mother’s new found love but how easy is it for her to see her mother with a man other than her late father? Besides, she has nothing apart from memories of her father so it’s natural that she’ll hold onto them. The point the film tries to make is that growing up and being selfless aren’t as effortless as they seem. Since time immemorial, people have been geared to believe in happy endings but life is anything but idyllic. Amaya is too afraid to grab the second chance life is giving her, the past was far rosier and fit with her idea of what relationships should be like.
The beauty about Listen Amaya is how it’s handled a bold topic like remarriage so subtly. There are no histrionics and the film’s cinematography certainly helps. Book A Coffee has a cozy and homely feel to it. Despite this being one of the few sets used in the film, one doesn’t tire of it as it has been captured gorgeously. The film is filled with well lit shots of sunlight streaming into the cafe which are refreshing in comparison to the increasing number of films that use a lot of dim lighting presently.
Another reason why you must watch this movie is for the performances. Last seen in Chashme Buddoor, the spark between this onscreen pair is still there. Be it their incessant chattering or the emotional scenes between the couple, they’ve been directed very skillfully and manage to draw the viewer to their world. Swara Bhaskar has acted fairly well as Amaya but needs to emote more. The rest of the ensemble cast are memorable and the camaraderie they share is endearing.
All is certainly not well in paradise and the film moves at snail’s pace. Listen Amaya could have definitely been edited better. There are times you feel like you’re watching one of those Maggi advertisements that feature a happy family eating supper. At moments like that, there is bound to be a lot of indigestion. But alas, don’t lose patience, the climax reveals another subplot and there’s a lot you can take home from this film. Despite it’s loop holes, Listen Amaya is one of the better family films that has hit theatres in recent times.
Verdict: Drag your folks for this heartwarming, hopeful family film.
Release Date: Feb 1, 2013
Director: Avinash Kumar Singh, Geeta Singh
Run time: 1 hr 50 mins
Writer: Avinash Kumar Singh, Geeta Singh
Cast & Crew: Deepti Naval, Farooque Shaikh, Swara Bhaskar, Amala Akkineni, Siddhant Karnick, Vidya Bhushan, Viren Basoya