Movie review: 'BA Pass'
Director: Ajay Bahl
Starring: Shilpa Shukla, Shadab Kamal, Dibyendu Bhattacharya
Sexual awakening is one thing while it leading to extreme consequences is another. To director Ajay Bahl’s advantage, there haven’t been many Hindi films that could tackle both the points maturely. Making the most of the so-called neo-noir genre, the film at hand rises above the mundane and tries to stick its neck out into the darker side of life. Though the first half is quite predictable, the second half shakes you off your seat with its rawness.
Adapted from the short story 'The Railway Aunty', the plot is appropriately based in Delhi. It kickstarts directly to generous flashes of erotica leaving little time for seduction. Effectively faking these instances is a recently orphaned college boy and an elder lady hellbent on teaching him the art of lovemaking. Much against his meek appearance, he seems to be a quick learner. These lessons in sex — given his sad financial condition — prove useful to him too. But not for very long.
The S-word might still be a taboo in a lot of cinematic circles in the country but it makes itself visible as well as audible in this peculiar film. Ironically, the word itself is uttered just once in its 90-minute runtime. And that too in the second half where bold scenes are fewer. But that’s also when the story switches to fifth gear. With the tale reaching its climax, moaning of the past and groaning of the present slowly give way to silence of the future.
As a woman who knows what she wants and the ways to get it, Shilpa Shukla does well thanks to her intimidating voice. The find of this indie effort though is Shadab Kamal. Other than one scene where he goes awfully wrong with a scream of desperation, the newbie shines as a good-hearted-gone-wrong gigolo. Dibyendu Bhattacharya efficiently plays his drunken friend and much more.
There’s barely any moment that seems dragged as editing is supreme. Similarly, the background score clicks. However, the most admirable thing about the aforementioned affair is it doesn’t begin and end with just two of the protagonists. In fact, the young lad has several people attached to him. To the director’s credit, none of these characters are dumbed down. They might have shorter screen presence but are treated with space and respect.
All in all, 'BA Pass' is a crisp attempt at doing something new.