Amar Akbar & Tony

Amar Akbar & Tony [2015]

Amar Akbar & Tony [2015] follows three friends respectively named Amar, Akbar and Tony. All three of them live together in England, coming from different backgrounds, cultures, and employment. Amar finds himself engaged to his childhood sweetheart while simultaneously seeking a job at a local law firm. Akbar prepares to inherit a banking business from his father while Tony pines after a local woman while simultaneously fearing her brother turned overprotective bodyguard. After an attempt at defending Tony from the bodyguard ends with Amar severely injuring a man, things change for the three friends as new struggles and opportunities appear in their lives.

This is an unusual mix of comedy and drama. Fundamentally, this film is trying to deal with immigration and assimilation in England from the perspective of these outsiders. We might bounce from one scene featuring one of Tony trying to hook up with a woman way out of his league that would not seem out of place in any typical romantic comedy to another scene where someone tries to murder a character in a rather brutal fashion that wouldn’t seem out of place in any crime drama. This continues throughout the film, bouncing from comedic scenarios to subjects such as homophobia and suicide in a somewhat unpredictable way, and perhaps not even foreshadowed in the film at all. This isn’t to say that it doesn’t the film doesn’t work, as it the constant shifts do keep the movie interesting. Amar Akbar & Tony may not be the most cohesive film in the world, though most audiences will probably find something to enjoy here.

An optimistic, perhaps naive film with a subdued cinematic style. Malhotra’s style involving snappy edits, Indian music, and understated tracking shots show that this man is not talentless with his craft. This, combined with the way he jumps often from comedy to drama makes this one of the more unique films I’ve seen in 2015 though not one of the best. While I do like its ultimately optimistic message about finding strength in diversity, I can’t help but feel that some of these heavier subjects that are played for drama are perhaps a bit naïve. The somewhat quick resolution to the previously mentioned suicide subplot, for instance, may be seen by some as a bit of a questionable decision by the filmmaker, perhaps not giving it the proper dramatic attention such a subject deserves.

Amar Akbar & Tony’s style may be off-putting to some, but others may find an entertaining watch in this offbeat comedy/drama.