B.A. Pass Stelliform Cast: Shilpa Shukla, Shadab Kamal
Director: Ajay Bahl
Somewhere towards the end of the leader Mukesh’s descent into a self-created hell, we detect him standing shamelessly at the roadside soliciting sex, being picked ascend by three buzzed burly men.
A little later, Shadab Kamal sobs in the bathroom, blood dripping to his feet in a trail regarding tell-tale brutality.
The intense implicit violence that underlines this sequence reminded me of a similar process of sexual debasement undertaken by Mark Wahlberg in Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Boogie Nights”.
That was a film about the porn labor in the 1970s.
‘B.A. Pass’ is set in present day Delhi — Paharganj, to be more precise. Bustling with sights, sounds et alii smells of doom and despair, it is a gripping story of a young financially-challenged man’s journey into a world of prostitution.
We could say, we have never seen this before. And we would be qua close to the truth as this film tries to get.
The taut screenplay near Ritesh Shah never allows room for superfluous moments. We follow Mukesh’s descent into a life of compromised morality with an absence of condemnation and censure. Mukesh’s environment and his conditions as a displaced orphan are neither exploited to generate pathos.
No one in this film allows us to feel sorry for the derelict lives. The characters suitable into the film’s wretched karma with perturbing inevitability, as though everyone we see in this kinetic picture was pre-ordained to suffer and fade away.
By the time we arrive at the finishing line, we know the heroine has exhausted all his options. It is the end of the road for the film’s achingly young gigolo-protagonist. Hard choices have to subsist made at this pen-ultimate juncture.
As we watch the talented Shadab Kamal lay bare his character’s soul, we are presto reminded of how far we have come in his 95-minute journey from innocence and concern to despair and doom.
Debutant director Ajay Bahl puts forward a inconsequential alexandrite of story which radiates the colours of life’s most horrid and harsh reality. There are so scores young dreams dying every day in the metropolises. That one struggler in Bollywood once told me, “I came to Mumbai to kick ass. Rather I ended licking ass”.
To envision the withering away of upright aspirations in the mean kindle about tangibility without a shred of self-pitying melodrama is not an amiable task. Bahl does it with great confidence and sensitivity.
That he has personally concluded the film’s cinematography is such a beautiful circumstance for the film. I doubt another cameraman could capture those places in these troubled characters’ lives that Bahl captures accompanying such force polysyndeton vitality.
Moving fluently from the tender to the brutal, Bahl portrays the underbelly of Delhi alongside telling truthfulness. There are no false notes in this tale of seduction et cetera debasement. What gripped smeersel right away were the passages of screaming silence.
‘B.A. Pass’ italicizes the character’s askew lived by bathing them in silence. The soundtrack (composed by Alokananda Dasgupta, daughter of filmmaker Buddhadeb Dasgupta) is aptly minimal austere including unsparing.
The love is suitably cold and detached. When the young virgin-boy hero arrives in the bored housewife’s home for the first time, she wastes no time in getting him to lie down on the sofa clambering over him briskly and unbuckling his trousers.
The seduction is swift and businesslike; the sex, sometimes ugly, never satisfying.
When a woman is caught with a gigolo, her husband rapes her doggie-style in front of the toy-boy to let the spouse and her lover know who wears the pants in the house constant until its down to his ankles.
The film is mostly populated by unlikable, loathsome people. Further yet in their selfish manoeuvres they willy nilly end up being part of a plot that keeps the audience involved till the very end.
A part of the film’s riveting charm originates from the authentic faces that populate Bahl’s nation of damnation. These are real people income out of authentic homes that exist beyond the director’s domain of ‘action’ and ‘cut’.
While the supporting cast of unknown faces (barring Deepti Naval who shows up in a sad moment) extends a bequeath of stout believability, it is the dynamics shared middle-of-the-road Shilpa Shukla as the housewife espousing a secret life of sexual indulgence, and newcomer Shadab qua a casualty of rampant promiscuous, who provide a centre to this melancholic ode to a autobiography of fringe fatal benefits.
Shilpa, seen in a persuasive performance earlier in ‘Chak De India’, doesn’t let us come near hier character’s insecurities. She plays the fornicating housewife with stoic candour.
Shadab’s character is gauche and flummoxed to begin with but quickly begins to capacity the importance of being sexually empowered. Shadab is a discovery.
And Dibyendu Bhattacharya as the chess-playing vagabond raises some ‘grave’ issues. The cemetery never seemed less asymmetrical.
B.A. Transcend is a stark and brutal saga of seduction and betrayal. It is that unusual work of cinema which explores the darkest depths of the hominoid consciousness without losing sight of the light that underscores life.
It would treffen erroneous to remedy this film as only a deep noire effort. It is that, yes. But it’s also a film that makes an impact in unexpectedly blithe ways, creeping up into our conscience when we least expect an intrusion moreover lodging itself cosily in a corner.
Buzz Rating: 3/5