Atul Malhotra’s feature directorial debut ‘Amar Akbar & Tony’ has much going for it – it’s touching and poignant; there are plenty of ‘I totally get that!’ moments (especially if you’re British Asian or you’re from London); it’s frequently and genuinely funny and, above all, it has Goodness Gracious Me stalwarts Meera Syal and Nina Wadia in unforgettable cameos – the former as a lusty cougar and the latter an Indian Bhabi with a leather fetish.
So he’s good behind the camera.
However, the same cannot be said about his ability with a roll of cello-tape. I’m helping him put up posters of his new film at a lovely old pub somewhere in West London and he just seems incapable of unfurling the tape properly.
I don’t offer to help. It doesn’t seem appropriate.
Director Atul Malhotra…contemplating cello-tape
His lack of dexterity with the tape is slightly worrying, given that the man who wrote and directed ‘Amar, Akbar & Tony’ is going walkabout putting up posters himself – instead of a group of studio elves.
It is the familiar and rather depressing lot of the “independent” filmmaker – to imagine, create and peddle with an eventual pay-off rarer than, well, a “successful” independent film. Malhotra’s lot is made exponentially worse by the fact that he’s an Indian who’s just made what is, ostensibly, a ‘British Asian’ film (although Malhotra insists there’s no such genre).
It’s not all doom and gloom though.
The film’s stellar cast – which also includes Rez Kempton, Martin Delaney, Karen David and Goldy Notay, among others – is testament to Malhotra’s excellent script and eclectic body of work.
‘Amar Akbar & Tony’ has clearly impressed exhibitors as well and the film will open across the UK on 17 April.
So he might not need to sign up for that cello tape workshop just yet.