Naseeruddin Shah adds heart to Amal.
AMAL (Richie Mehta) Rating: NNN
Based on a short story by Shaun Mehta (the director's brother), Amal tells of rich eccentric G.K. Jayaram (Naseeruddin Shah), who wants to leave his fortune to Amal Kumar (Rupinder Nagra), the only honest rickshaw driver in New Delhi, instead of to his undeserving kids. Right there you've got archetypes instead of characters, and I guessed two major plot twists before they were revealed, so this film ought to be an eye-roller. But it isn't.
Richie Mehta captures the colour and bustle of New Delhi so well, you can almost smell the spices in the air. Working with a character who doesn't say much, Nagra conveys his decency through his large, expressive eyes, and Shah, a huge star in India, betrays nothing of Jayaram's true life while in disguise as a poor man. The relationships between Amal and the women in his life are sweet without being saccharine, and although Amal could do with a few more layers to his character, you still end up caring about what happens to him.