Netflix Original Film Review: AMAR, AKBAR & TONY (UK 2015) ***

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Amar, Akbar & Tony follows the lives and loves of three childhood friends through twists and turns as the characters face sudden and unforeseen changes to their idealistic and trouble-free lives.

Director: Atul Malhotra
Writers: Atul Malhotra
Stars: Rez Kempton, Sam Vincenti, Martin Delaney

Review by Gilbert Seah
AMAR, AKBAR & TONY is a comedy/drama about three friends, a Sikh, a Muslin and an Irish Catholic. Their story takes place in London. Where else but the cosmopolitan capital of the world where anything can and does happen in writer/director Atul Malhotora coming-of age story times 3. The film boasts to be the first western film to feature a turbaned Sikh in the lead. Well, at least only for the first part of the film anyway, as the Sikh does end up going to prison and having his head shaved.

Are these three The Three Stooges or The Three Musketeers? The film starts off as the former and leading into even what the three might be deemed The Three Kings.

The film is a crowd pleaser and deals with sufficient adult offish material to make it not really suitable for commercial theatre audiences. That is not to say the film is not enjoyable – but one that might scare typical cinemagoers away. It is therefore the perfect Netflix vehicle, something like the recent WAR MACHINE by Brad Pitt where the material on Netflix can be more edgy. AMAR, AKNBAR & TONY is also the perfect light enough film, that home watchers can take a break and go grab a bite while not missing the film’s flow.

The plot involves the antics of three best friends, first shown in the film as three kids going to school and playing in the same neighbourhood. The film fast forwards to the three, now grown up, looking for girls and good jobs. Amar is the pride of his Sikh family who owns an Indian restaurant, his father being a gourmet chef, Indian style. Amar lands a top job in a law film as a solicitor because he convinces his interviewer that he can bring more business to the firm knowing many criminals. But while saving his two friends at a dance club from begin beaten up, he accidentally kills a hood and goes to prison. He loses everything including his fiancé.

Three years later, Amar is released from the scrubs, after serving his sentence. The film’s story starts off from here. This is where the drama begins and the film gets more serious, without any of the comedy diminishing. The film has an excellent blend of comedy and drama making it totally watchable and entertaining.

Director Malhotora should be credited of a faithful homage to a 70’s Bollywood classic, while setting the tone for a unique film marrying the storytelling styles of British Independent cinema. The film includes Bollywood style dances as well the typical Indian marriage jokes like wealthy older males marrying off young brides. The best jokes are the sexual ones, the two best involving Tony. One has Tony on a God-awful blind dinner date and the other has him seeking an Indian marriage councillor in search of an Indian bride. The script pokes more fun at the white Londoner, making him a biggest buffoon of the three while Amar is treated as the self sacrificing hero who goes to prison and risk his life for his two best friends.

Director Atul Malhotra is recognized in the UK for Directing award winning documentary and TV productions. His talent shows. This is one of the best Indian/British comedies sine EAST IS EAST. The film opens on Netflix on June the 20th.


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