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Konkona Sensharma: Kaju(female protagonist)
Konkona is the rising young star of new Indian cinema. Her acclaimed performance in Mr. and Mrs. Iyer won her the National Award for Best Actress in India in 2003. As a teenager she made a mark in Bengali cinema with Titli and Ek je achey Kanya
Her performances in Page 3 and 15 Park Avenue have been greatly appreciated. She has also shown a flair for comedy in Chai paani etc and Mixed Doubles. Her most recent role in Vishal Bhardwaj’s Omkara - a mainstream Hindi musical adaptation of Othello has shown her versatility as an actor and her ability to hold her own with the top super stars.

Konkona, “I was very nervous when I went for the audition for Amu as I was dying to do the role. I had read and loved the script.”
Shonali, “I had auditioned close to 50 Indian American actors in the US for Kaju as her authenticity as an Indian American was very important to me. Koko was by far the most superior actor of any Indian I knew or had come across of her age. She had to be Kaju. I took her to LA where she lived with us for a few weeks and trained in the American accent and got immersed in “Kaju’s life” in Los Angeles.”

Ankur Khanna: Kabir (male protagonist)
Ankur is an actor and filmmaker. Amu is his feature film debut although he has done various short films and has a theater background from St. Stephens, Delhi University. His short film on football “Bare” was selected for the Berlinale Talent Campus at the 2005 Berlin Film Festival.
After Amu, Ankur will be seen in Naseeruddin Shah’s directing debut film – Yun Hota To Kya Hota.

Ankur, "When I read the script I found it incisive and the commentary layered but what really convinced me was Shonali herself. Her conviction and sheer sense of enterprise for, what at that time, seemed fairly daunting, almost impossible to do....."
Shonali, “Ankur is the first and last person I auditioned for Kabir. Because as soon as I saw him I realized he was everything I had written and more. So when he got hepatitis during pre production and I was urged to recast I refused to. Instead we completely reworked our schedule and put all his scenes at the end. It was very brave of him to do it when he was so weak.”

Brinda Karat: Keya (mother)
Amu is the first film Brinda has ever acted in. Her last contact with acting was in theater in the 1960’s as a college student. Brinda has been a leading women and workers activist for the last 3 decades. She is a central committee member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist). She worked in the relief camps in 1984. Brinda is also Shonali’s aunt and has been like her adoptive mother.

Brinda, “I agreed to play Keya because the script is so powerful and so rooted in reality. Furthermore it is not just dealing with an issue that I feel strongly about but is a beautiful mother daughter relationship. I relate to the character of Keya, to a mother who will do anything for a child even when she is not biologically her own.”
Shonali, “I had heard from my mother that her sister was a very talented actor but had eschewed an acting career for politics. She also had the vulnerability and pain and depth in her eyes, in her face that I wanted for Keya. We did various screen tests before we both felt confident that she could pull it off. But I was terrified about how the flip of authority situation would go down! I needn’t have worried. She took direction very well.”

Yashpal Sharma – Gobind (the café owner)
Yashpal Sharma, a leading name in Hindi films today is a graduate of the National School of Drama and has worked in over 20 films. Notable among them are – Lagaan, Apaharan, Gangajal, Bawandar, Hazaar Chaurasi Ki Ma, Ab Tak Chhapan, Hazaaron Khwaishein Aisi.
He has worked in nearly 55 plays with both nationally and internationally renowned theater directors.

Yashpal, “I was highly impressed by the script of Amu and by Shonali’s passion. The fact that the story was about the Delhi Riots inspired me to be part of this film. I was in Delhi in 1984 and saw a man burnt a live – an image that has been indelible in my mind. The character of Gobind was also something which drew me. I have mostly been typecast as a villain in Hindi films. This was a complex multifaceted role.
Shonali, “I auditioned some excellent actors for the role of Gobind. Although not a main lead I feltl that Gobind had a key role to play in the script as his life and character captured the poignancy of the long term impact of 1984. I needed an actor who could make us laugh and who could also make us cry and who also would have a rough raw edge to him. Yaspal blew me away in the audition. He is a brilliant actor and under utilized in the film industry. He is the only actor in Amu who is from the mainstream film industry.

Lovleen Mishra – Leelavati (the café owner’s talkative wife)
Lovleen sashayed to fame with her superb portrayal as Chutki in India’s first soap opera – Hum Log which ran on national television from 1984 – 1987 and was widely watched and loved. She has a rich background in theater and has been a brilliant character actor in many acclaimed films such as Mani Ratnam’s Yuva, Anurag Kashyap’s Black Friday, Roland Joffe’s City of Joy, Govind Nihalani’s Thakshak – to name a few.

Lovleen, “I did AMU primarily for 2 reasons. First since Shonali and I go back a long way, courtesy her sister. So I knew she's make a good sensible film (and she more than proved us right!!). Secondly, I saw the havoc the 1984 'engineered' riots played in Delhi, being a Delhi-ite myself. Perhaps some where at the back of my mind, it was my way of doing a bit for all those thousands who were killed, dispalced and abused. Last but not the least, the role was interesting.”
Shonali “I knew that Lovleen would be sublime as Leelavati and didn’t even ask anyone else. She is truly India’s first woman comedienne. I also knew that she would bring a gravitas to the character and not simply be a cliché village woman. I gave her the freedom to improv her dialogues and particularly in one scene when she is at the tubewell she had the entire slum (who were standing all around watching the shooting) and set in splits. I couldn’t call “cut” I was laughing so much.

Choiti Ghosh: Tuki (Kaju’s cousin)
Choiti has been a performer on stage since the age of 3 as an actor, singer, storyteller, puppeteer, writer. She works as a freelance artist with various performing groups around the country and outside as - a member of her home theare group "Anant", a regular actor with renowned director Habib Tanvir, a puppeteer with "Katkatha puppet art foundation", a member of the "Asian youth artsmall", amongst various others. She also has training in hindustani classical music. Amu is her first film.

Choiti, “Amu-the script- immediately attracted me for its powerful and intimate narrative of the individual stories and also the collective trauma. That is Shonali's forte i think. As a Director also I don’t know how she managed to be so professional and strike such a personal chord at the same time. This remained through all the common hurdles of filming and the more difficult ones because of the nature of her story. Inspite or because of those, i think Amu -the film has emerged as an even better story-teller than the script.
Shonali, “I loved Choiti as Tuki right from the audition and did not even see anyone else after her. She is a completely natural actor and has strong cinematic presence. Given the fact that she came from a theater background she was subtle in her performance without being told. She managed to bring alive a character that was not that well etched in the script and created a wonderful dimension to Amu in her persona of Tuki.

Ganeve Rajkotia: Shanno Kaur (Amu’s mother)
Ganeve made her feature film debut in Amu. She was an actor in college in Delhi University after which she did her Masters in Mass Communication at Jamia Millia. She owns and runs an adventure tour company – Himalayan River Runners. Since Amu her interest in acting and particularly for film has resurged. She received great recognition for Shanno wherever Amu played.

Ganeve, “I was drawn to Amu because of the script and also the issue which I feel strongly about. I related strongly to the character of a mother losing her young child in a communal carnage. Being a mother of young children myself, and a Sikh married to a Muslim – we live with fear constantly. Thus Amu was very real for me. When we shot Amu I did not conceive or expect what it turned out to be – a truly brilliant and powerful film. I am so happy and proud to have been part of it.”
Shonali, “Ganeve and I were in Miranda House together. As soon as the riots started we wrote and performed a street play called Patan which we took all over the city. We also acted in a play directed by Fesial Alkazi. When I was racking my brains for a strong actor to play Amu I remembered her. She was brilliant.”