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AJJI - A brutally realistic, shocking stunner, that sadly falls short of becoming a masterpiece. (Review By Bobby Sing)
26 Nov, 2017 | Movie Reviews / 2017 Releases

Though based on a similar premise as recently seen in MAATR, MOM and BHOOMI, AJJI still stands far ahead of these films in terms of vision and execution. But at the same time, it also falls way short of becoming a rare masterpiece too, finding an easy way out as the only (clichéd) solution or culmination.
 
Revolving around a grandmother (addressed as Ajji in Marathi), the film yet again focuses on the rape of a minor and her poor family living in the slums facing the ugly trauma. A revenge saga (as a dark take on the folk tale “Little Red Riding Hood”), its title AJJI (meaning Grandmother), should clearly give you an indication about its basic story plot as seen in the three films mentioned above.
 
But then why AJJI is quite different and far ahead of them all?

The answer to the question lies in the way director Devashish Makhija presents his film as a brutal realistic stunner, especially in its first half. It right away begins with a shocking sequence and then keeps giving you shivers, introducing the poor family’s unbearable living conditions, a corrupt police officer's heartless interrogation, a perverted-maniac son of a local politician, a sympathetic prostitute and Ajji – the distressed grandmother suffering from severe arthritis.
 
However where the first half excels as a worth-appreciating realistic shocker, well-equipped with stylized lighting, camerawork, scary locations and relatable real characters, the second half soon goes back to the same old revenge plot, dealt in a more ruthless, gory manner reminding you of the Korean cinema. And this is exactly where Makhija ruins his entire fabulous work of the initial hour taking a predictable, convenient route ending it all in a highly filmy manner.

Coming back to the merits, AJJI stands out because of its outstanding performances by the entire cast led by Sushma Deshpande as the grandmother unable to bear the pain felt by her grand-daughter. Though the finale sadly fails to generate any desired impact, the lady never fails in her powerful, spirited act performed with some amazing guts. Sadiya Siddiqui supports her brilliantly as a close friend, but she unfortunately doesn’t get many scenes to prove her talent post the initial moments. Sharvani Suryavanshi as the victim kid conveys her severe pain without saying a word and Smita Tambe as the mother expresses her indecisive position too with many incomplete sentences. In the supporting cast both Sudhir Pandey and Vikas Kumar remain completely natural in their respective roles, along with Abhishek Banerjee who keeps trying to rise above the typical filmy villain.
 
As a serious song-less nightmare without any abrupt cuts or beeps inserted by the Censor board, I really wish the writer-director had thought of a different culmination continuing with his excellence displayed in the first half resulting in a cult film. But at the same time I would personally like to praise the thought-provoking effort too, rightly raises a pertinent question that, if the people in power can so easily go on committing such heinous crimes around us getting visible support from the system, then are we also not contributing in the process by remaining silent considering it’s the destiny of the poor?
 
Just think for a while and do try to watch the film, especially for its brilliance displayed in the first hour and all the fabulous acts.
 
Rating : 3.5 / 5
 
(Note : This article was also featured in UC-News mobile app in Nov. 2017)
 
(Beyond The Review)

AJJI is yet another well-made film that sadly falls short of becoming a masterpiece due to its predictable, clichéd climax that possibly was written eyeing at the general audience in particular thinking about the commercial success. With a different culmination, this easily could have been a well-conceived, worth watching gem raising some relevant questions.
 
However in the present format it still does that successfully in its outstanding first half where we witness the spineless questioning and handling of a 10 years old girl by the cold-hearted police officer making you feel the shame and disgust against the pathetic biased system. The film shocks the viewer with a brutally disturbing sequence of an obsessed inhuman villain loving a mannequin as something highly offensive. 

And then it also scores some brownie points for the well-conceived sequences like the conversations between the old butcher and the grandmother and the talks between Ajji and her grand-daugther lying on the floor unable to even move due to the fear of bleeding. In one of their scenes together, the confused and terrified girl so innocently asks, “Is this is how it starts for every girl?”

The film makes you think about the suppressed life lived by millions in the slums having kids at home and the politically connected committing heinous crimes in these area without any fear or guilt.
 
AJJI makes us stop for a while and think that are we not contributing in every such crime against the poor by remaining unmoved and silent?

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Tags : Ajji Review by Bobby sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, New Hindi Films Reviews by Bobby Sing, New Bollywood Movies Reviews by Bobby Sing, New Offbeat Hindi Filsm Reviews by Bobby Sing
26 Nov 2017 / Comment ( 0 )
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