Starring – Rez Kempton, Sam Vincenti, Martin Delaney, Karen David, Laura Aikman, Tanveer Ghani
Directed by Atul Malhotra
“Fuck society. My son and my family’s happiness is more important than any society.” -Amar’s dad
I second that motion. Why do we all go around worrying about society? When has society ever worried about us?
Amar Akbar & Tony is a film about 3 guys in England who are looking for love, and I admit that even though this is the main story for the movie and it was quite good, I just wasn’t interested in seeing these 3 straight men looking for love, because long ago, I found myself uninterested in straight stories of love. I wish I hadn’t lost that loving feeling of straight people and their trials and tribulations of love gone wrong or not at all. Maybe I lost that loving feeling because I’ve been surrounded by these stories my whole life and they have been told a million times in a million different ways on my TV. Only recently have our stories (as in us LGBT folks) become more common, and I have discovered that the more I am exposed on my TV to our love stories, the more I don’t want or care to see stories about love with straight people.
And so I found myself sitting through a film that was quite good, but I just wasn’t interested in the movie, because it was mostly about these 3 men and looking for love with the ladies. But then my interest perked right up when it is finally revealed in the film why one of the supporting characters is drunk all the time and rude to his new, much younger, hot wife; because he has been living a lie his whole life. And that lie is that he is not heterosexual, but in fact gay. When his nephew tells him that he can’t live his life pretending to be someone he is not, the uncle replies, “Why not? I’ve been like this for 40 years. Lying, hiding, pretending.” This is a man who has been forced to live in a closet because, as he says to his nephew, “My father would have killed me with his own bare hands if he found out.”
That damn society. Making people hate their own loved ones because society would NOT have approved of this man being gay, and so he spent 40 years in unimaginable agony and pain just so society and his father would accept him. And while I was watching this part of Amar Akbar & Tony, I couldn’t help wondering if society will ever get past this? Will society ever just see us as a part of everyday life, instead of outside it? Will parents no longer hate their gay children? Will we ever see a time where no one has to come out because there are too many of us out now for anyone to care or just assume we are all straight?
I saw someone recently who I hadn’t seen in 10 years. The last time I saw him, he was 10 years old and I knew then that this cute little boy was gay. And all those years, I wondered if he was okay and if he had figured it out. Or that maybe I was wrong and he wasn’t gay at all. In fact, I was kind of hoping for that because I didn’t see him being able to be gay in this place, because I had lived in the same place and I couldn’t be gay there either. But the moment I saw him again, I knew immediately that I had been right and that he was gay, and honestly, it broke my heart, because he was so unhappy, because either he still hasn’t figured it out and so was doing the dance of denial that I did until I was 26 years old, or he has figured it out and chosen, like the uncle in this film, the life of the closet instead.
So here I was watching a movie that was not peaking my interest because my interest has developed a negative attitude about straight love stories, but luckily I stuck with this movie because it proved to have a huge impact on me by bluntly reminding me in quite real and heartbreaking terms what we have been fighting so hard for all these years; so there are no more 40-year-old uncles in the world marrying women they can never love and drinking themselves into oblivion just so society will accept them. Because I still fear for that little boy who is now a grown man, who is now living a lie just to please society. I want his generation to be the last to have to live like this. So society, will you do that, just for him and all the 40-year-old closeted uncles in the world? The world sure would be a much happier place if you did.
Amar Akbar & Tony is streaming on Netflix internationally as of 6/27/2017. And don’t be like me and have an attitude about straight love stories, because a second viewing of the movie proved to me that straight love stories are still worth watching too. 🙂
Fun Fact: You can also catch Rez Kempton in the wonderful lesbian romantic comedy, I Can’t Think Straight.