Amar, flanked by Vijayam Kartha and Andrew Hinton, in Jamshedpur on Friday evening. Picture by Bhola Prasad
There’s one amazing similarity between a Jamshedpur boy and a film made on him by a UK-based director.
Amar the teen is a topper in class after working as a newspaper boy and electrical apprentice. Amar the film is a topper at the London-India Film Festival and Jeevika Film Festival in New Delhi.
Documentary filmmaker Andrew Hinton came back to Amar’s city to fulfil his promise to the boy whose life on reel earned raves everywhere — in the UK, the US, France, Germany and India.
Hinton had promised to share half the prize money of the London India Film Festival with the teenager if the short biopic did win. So, when it did — it won a 1,000GBP booty last July — Hinton started planning a visit to Jamshedpur to give the boy his share.
On Friday evening, Hinton handed a cheque worth Rs 40,000 to Amar at the latter’s cradle, Kerala Samajam Project School, amidst family members, teachers and Kerala Public Trust director Vijayam Kartha.
As Amar, now 15, spontaneously bent to touch Hinton’s feet, the bond between the filmmaker and subject was palpable.
“While filming Amar in December 2010, I had promised God that if my biopic bagged any prize, half the amount would go to the boy. Today I kept my promise. I feel great. Amar doesn't even know what he has given me,” said Hinton.
In 9 minutes 45 seconds, the film captures 24 hours of Amar’s life, where he is awake and on the go for 20 hours. The sequences show how he gets up at 4am, delivers newspapers, goes to an electrical shop to work, reaches school in the afternoon, and then again goes to the shop and works till night, after which he grabs a quick bite at home and starts his homework, for he has his reputation as class topper to live up to.
Hinton said he wanted to show the difference between the haves and have-nots.
“My nephew Javia is of Amar’s age, but he has such a privileged life. I wanted to show Javia that there are people like Amar who make their way in the world even in such adverse situations without fuss or tears. People have seen it across the globe and understood that they are blessed to have the privileges they take for granted,” added Hinton.
As for Amar, in Class X now, life continues to be very much the same. The boy from a large and needy family earns Rs 1,500. For him, Rs 40,000 is a windfall. But more than that, he seemed happy that “Andrew Sir” kept his word.
“Main English padhoonga aur London jaakar Andrew sir ka sapna pura karunga (I’ll learn English and go to London to fulfil Andrew sir’s dream),” he beamed.
And how would he do it? “I’ll become a teacher, a very good teacher,” he stressed. “I have learnt everything from my teachers here. And the values learnt from them give me strength.”
The school has wisely decided to keep Hinton’s gift in the bank as a fixed deposit for five years. It will come of use to Amar when he is 20.
“Ye sab bhagwan ki kripa hai ki humein aisa beta mila (It’s god’s kindness that we have a son like Amar),” said his grandmother Jamuna Devi, hugging him.