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Amal ( ), 2007, is a Canadianmarker drama film directed and written by Richie Mehta. Set in modern-day New Delhimarker, Indiamarker, it tells the story of a poor autorickshaw driver, Amal Kumar.

The film was originally released as a short film in 2004, with the same lead actor but a mostly different cast, before it was readapted and expanded into a feature film three years later [710608].

Synopsis

Amal Kumar (Rupinder Nagra) is a hardworking sweet-natured autorickshaw driver. Driven by senses of honesty and responsibility, he charges the metre rate and is never late to pick up his regular fares: store merchant Pooja (Koel Purie) and a schoolboy, son of exacting lawyer Sapna Agarwal (Seema Biswas).

While riding in Amal's autorickshaw on one occasion, Pooja has her handbag snatched out of her hands by a beggar girl (Tanisha Chatterjee). Amal immediately starts pursuing the girl despite Pooja telling him to let it go, as the purse does not contain anything of value, and the chase ends when the beggar girl is hit by a car and falls unconscious on the ground. Horrified with what they have witnessed, Amal and Pooja take the girl to hospital. From then on, Amal regularly pays visits to the girl, speaks to her doctor and makes sure to remind the nurses to take good care of her.

One day Amal offers his services to an old man who has just been denied a ride by a different autorickshaw for the sake of another fare, a female tourist. Throughout the drive the old man who does not reveal his identity, that he is in fact local billionaire G.K. Jayaram (Naseeruddin Shah) and has been wandering the streets of New Delhi searching for an honest man. After asking Amal some questions about his life, making insulting comments about his driving skills, and going back on his words with regard to his destination, G.K. pays his fare, and surprised that Amal does not accept a three rupee tip, leaves.

After a short while, G.K. Jayaram dies and leaves his entire estate to the one honest and decent man he believes to have encountered – Amal. His will is not to be read out until Amal reports to the Jayarams' lawyer Sapna, who has no idea that Amal is her son's longtime autorickshaw driver. If Amal is not found within a month, G.K.'s estate will be inherited by his family members. Sapna deploys Suresh (Roshan Seth), G.K.'s old companion (who has his own eye on G.K.'s fortune), to find out Amal's whereabouts. Convinced that it is unfair for the estate to be inherited by a stranger autorickshaw driver while the Jayarams get nothing, Suresh and G.K.'s son Vivek (Vik Sahay) secretly develop a plan where Suresh will not look for Amal, so that after a month the Jayarams inherit what belonged to their father, with Suresh also being allocated a share. Vivek is desperate to get his hands on that fortune, as he is sinking in poker debts to a loan shark.

In the meantime the condition of Priya, the beggar girl who was run over by a car, improves; she befriends Amal and enjoys talking to him during his visits. However, it is revealed that she is in need of a difficult surgery that would cost 50,000 rupees, or she will probably die. It is then that Amal decides to sell his autorickshaw, which was passed on to him by his father, to the loan shark in order to pay for the girl's surgery. The operation is not successful; Priya dies on the operating table, which terribly saddens Amal. He then takes up the longtime offered janitor position at a local post office. Touched by Amal's kindness and self-sacrifice, Pooja digs into the money she has been saving for her dowry and buys a carburettor that she knew was needed to fix an abandoned autorickshaw lying by his house (which Amal's neighbour has been trying to fix desperately but to no effect). She then brings it to Amal, so he could install it and return to his usual business again.

Meanwhile, Suresh starts questioning his actions after sneaking in Sapna's office at night (by bribing her maid) and reading G.K.'s letter addressed to Amal. He later does find Amal and witnesses his true honesty and sweet nature first-hand. He is reluctant to notify Sapna he has found G.K.'s heir but eventually does so the night before the deadline. On the same night he has a talk with Vivek and informs him that he is abandoning their original plan and is taking Amal to Sapna's the next day. Unable to convince him otherwise, Vivek attacks Suresh and chokes him to death.

The morning after, Sapna cannot get a hold of Suresh. Using some of Suresh's notes, to her great surprise, she finds out that Amal Kumar picks up their son from school all this time. She manages to get home before Amal drops the son off at home, and tries to explain the situation to Amal and get him to come inside so he can sign some paperwork. Amal comes along despite needing to pick up a fare. In her office, Sapna hands Amal, who is still unaware of the inheritance and does not understand the situation, G.K.'s letter in which he wrote that as the honest man he had been looking for all these years, Amal deserves to inherit the Jayaram estate. Amal opens the letter and takes a long look at it, but before Sapna provides any additional information, she receives a phone call in which she is informed that Suresh has died. Shocked and drawn into the conversation, she does not notice Amal leave with the letter in his hands. On his way out, he is approached by a homeless girl who asks him for a piece of paper to draw on. Amal hands her the letter and gets into his autorickshaw. Sapna rushes outside only to find out that Amal has already driven away. Meanwhile the homeless girl approaches Sapna's son who has just arrived home from school and tells him that the paper Amal has given her to draw on has got writing on it and may be of some importance. To that Sapna's son replies that it would make no difference, as Amal cannot read. The movie ends with Amal picking up Pooja, the two smiling at each other, and a voice over by G.K. of text from the letter saying that he could not imagine what the man who did not want three rupees would do with three-hundred million.

Credits

Cast



Crew



Awards



Release dates

Region Release date Festival or Distributor
Canadamarker September 13 2007 Toronto Film Festivalmarker
Czech Rep.marker July 5 2007 Karlovy Vary Film Festival
Canadamarker August 8 2008 Seville Pictures
U.S.A.marker September 20 2008 New Jersey Independent South Asian Cine Fest
U.S.A.marker November 16 2008 St. Louis International Film Festival


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