CAST & CREW
Under the guise of a rather unpretentious name like “B.A. Pass”, the film deals with the reality of things that get covered under the cosmetic sheen of a city like Delhi. Although all that happens behind the curtains is commonly known, it is talked mostly in hushed tones. However, the debutant director Ajay Bahl, graduating from being a cinematographer, has tackled a bold theme about the behind the back sexual pursuits of the city folk. He has handled the theme without injecting undue titillation or pretending to be overly “bold”.
Plot: It is the life story of Mukesh ( Shadab Kamal), unlucky to have lost his parents through an accident and having to put up with an uncomfortable aunt in an unfamiliar Delhi. His sisters are even more unfortunate, having been put in a home for girls. Woefully short of even pocket money, Mukesh gets lured by one Sarika “aunty”( Shilpa Shukla) and establishes himself as a gigolo. Money flows in easily, and the going is good as long as it lasts. Side by side he also develops a healthy friendship with one Johnny, ( Dibyendu Bhattacharya) through their common interest for chess. Johnny is basically an undertaker and dreams about earning enough money to go to his brother in Mauritius. Mukesh lands in trouble once Sarita’s husband finds out about his activities and complains to Mukesh’s aunt, who promptly throws him out. He is now forced to move in with Johnny, having even been unable to collect his dues from Sarita, and thus sends Johnny to get him back his earlier dues from Sarika.
But on his return, Johnny tells him that she refused to budge. With his earnings gone, Mukesh now starts serving male clients too, but with disastrous results- getting badly bashed up. Desperate now, he barges into Sarita’s place and demands his dues, only to be told that she has already paid Johnny. Returning to Johnny’s place, he finds it deserted, with Johnny obviously having fled with the money to Mauritius. Things turn even worse, when during an altercation with Sarika and her husband; Mukesh ends up stabbing and killing Sarika. The proverbial last straw comes when his sisters start giving him distress calls after running away from the orphanage they were in. But instead of being able to reach his sisters; he has to flee from the police, chasing him for Sarika’s murder. The story ends with a bitter and gory end when Mukesh jumps from a building being chased by the police and meets the end of short life.
Review: While director Bahl tries to follow the short story of Mohan Sikka faithfully, he manages to make the characters and events look starkly real through a smart screenplay and editing process that makes an instant impression on the minds of the audience. There is enough drama built into the incidents, in spite of some of the built-in predictability. The defining scenes are neither overdone, nor watered down but presented with due naturalness, and builds up the mood of the film admirably. In the lead roles, Both Shilpa Shukla as Sarika and Shadab Kamal as the hapless Mukesh live out the roles as though they were born to them, with the former displaying a no holds barred frothiness to a character that requires it in full measure. Even the others, like Dibyendu Bhattacharya as the multi-nuanced grave digger cum chess fanatic cum ultimate deceiver; Geeta Sharma as the intolerant aunt of Mukesh and Deepti Naval the veteran actress deliver punch packed roles.
Verdict: A starkly realistic film and one that is surely for adult audiences - not only for the subject matter - but also for the physical exposition of the same, it should appeal to all mature audiences.
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