Starring: Farooque Sheikh, Deepti Naval, Swara Bhaskar
Directed by Avinash Kumar Singh
Nothing much happens in Listen Amaya. Some coffee gets brewed, some conversations take place over many a cuppa. And a girl named Amaya (Swara) feels insecure about her widowed mother Leela’s (Deepti) relationship with a widower, Jayant (Farooque). How she eventually comes to accept them forms the core of a rather limp, listless and protracted narrative.
There is a parallel track about memories, and their loss, which could have been a compelling subject but is sidelined entirely. The characters and their dilemmas feel distant. Not once are you able to relate or respond to them. Moreover, a film driven by many a tete-a-tete is full of the most banal and dreary lines. Awkward, synthetic chatter abounds. In fact, some of it feels directly translated from English. ‘How was your day?’ becomes ‘Din kaisa tha?’ not a common expression in Hindi small talk. The film is set in Delhi, but the modish Book Your Coffee cafe and its patrons feel more native to Bangalore.
Swara Bhaskar was delightfully natural in Tanu Weds Manu, but here she displays just a few fleeting expressions that impress. She is largely mannered and self-conscious. What lifts the film is the easy togetherness of Farooque Sheikh and Deepti Naval. When he calls her Miss Chamko, one is instantly transported back to Chashme Baddoor. Alas! Listen Amaya, doesn’t do justice to the nostalgia that it merrily plays on.
Thank you to all those who have taken the trouble to read the article and share their thoughts. Out of the arguments made here, there are two that perhaps need answering. So here they go.
1. The first part of the article compares outcomes (relative percentages of population of the religions concerned) irrespective of the process that led to those outcomes - whether immigration, relatively faster population growth or conversions. This was for two reasons. One, to put the figure of 2.3 per cent in "numerical perspective", as the article itself explained. The second reason was that outcomes are ultimately what the crux of debate is about. The rest of the article in any case dealt with process - or conversions in this case, from both a contemporary and historical perspective.
2. Some commenters have tried to cast doubts on the reliability of Census 2001. Those who do this should bear in mind that Census 2001 was conducted by a BJP government. Considering the extreme importance that BJP gives to this issue, it would be reasonable to expect that IF it had perceived a problem with the methodology that was distorting the numbers, it would have fixed it. As the article mentioned, BJP or BJP-supported governments have been in power for 10 of the last 40 years, or about a quarter of the time, and the only reasonable conclusion one can arrive at is that any misreporting of numbers, real or perceived, would be marginal and hence, not of importance.
To all other arguments made, my answer is the following: Please read the article again, with particular focus on the quotations of Vivekananda and Monier Williams, and the history of the missionary efforts in Bengal and their outcome.
Humans may be aware even fallaciously, if people feel so, that they don't need relationships, and they loved their families anyhow as children, not because they exhibited love to their families, first. It would then appear, that if everyone accepted this, it would make society peaceful. And, people should also wonder, that perhaps, having offspring, doesn't mean you are responsible to society, because you are responsible to your offspring. These might be separate issues.
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