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B.A. PASS - Another bold step forward by Indian film-makers which might get seen & remembered only for its erotic content. (Review by Bobby Sing)

02 Aug, 2013 | Movie Reviews / 2013 Releases

BA Pass

Keeping in mind the way, erotic & sexual content is both served and seen in a very restricted or careful manner in our Indian Cinema, B.A. PASS certainly needs to be rated as another bold step forward by our Indian film-makers as well as the Censors, without any arguments. Yet, contrary to the above statement, here the best thing about the movie is that its makers and director Ajay Bahl have not made this project just to en-cash all its sensual scenes at the box office like a B-C grade venture. But defying the set parameters of the trade, they do have a thoughtful meaning put into its entire erotic content and also have a fine story to convey to their mature audiences in a truly appreciable manner.
Based on a story “The Railway Aunty” by Mohan Sikka from the book ‘Delhi Noir’, B.A. PASS firstly continues with the passion of showing the city of Delhi in a bad light (as repeatedly done by some recent films) and then uses the plot of an unemployed youth and his dilemmas with a novel insight. It revolves around the story of a young boy, who has to stay in Delhi with his aunt (after his parents die) and has also got two young sisters to take care of (staying at a hostel away from the city). Now during this stay, along with continuing his studies, he meets a middle aged, good looking lady who teaches him some new lessons of life which bring in sex, lust, greed and crime into his innocent persona turning him into an entirely different person heading towards a tragic end.
The film begins calmly and then goes on to deliver some of the boldest scenes ever seen in a mainstream (A Grade) Hindi film promoted decently. However, the fact remains that despite of being much bolder and adventurous in its execution (than what the promos suggested), the erotic scenes in the film are exceptionally shot with a sensitive approach without getting into some extreme skin show or cheap vulgarity. Plus its these sensual scenes only which very insightfully depict the lonely, empty & scary life lived inside all those high-rise buildings & mansions owned by the richer sections of the society. So till interval it does turn out to be an explosive film with a realistic subject which probably stresses more on serving the hidden instincts of the viewers quite skillfully.
Post intermission, as the focus shifts towards the other problems of life faced by the young man (not boy), the pace drops and it more becomes an intense film moving towards a shocking climax which might be depressing for many. But all stories do not have a happy ending and here we have the one which daringly talks about those dark and ugly, avoidable phases of life which do not give many choices to a person caught in their unbreakable trap.
The second half gives more attention to its story progression and less to its erotic scenes which might disappoint the viewers coming in just for them. But that’s exactly where B.A. PASS excels and gains a fine distinction of being a sensitive film made on an engrossing tale. Its concluding moments make you feel sorry for its main protagonist and then you also have that anger towards everyone who betrayed him along the path, posing as true friends.
With a less than 2 hours duration, it has a taut screenplay with no interfering sub-plots of love angles thrown in just for the sake of it. The characterization is brilliant with a special mention of Deepti Naval featuring in only two scenes, who rightly portrays the state of a depressed, lonely but loyal lady, superbly. Also was extremely relaxed to see the dialogues in Punjabi written & spoken as they should have been, without molding the words, giving them a forceful Hindi feel (which at times really looks silly).
Regarding the performances, it really needs guts to accept and then also live this kind of negative as well as lustful character on screen with such conviction. And for this Shilpa Shukla surely deserves an applause from one & all. She simply can be called the backbone of the film getting complete support from Shadab who also perfectly plays the part of an innocent boy with conviction. Dibyendu Bhattacharya acts fine as the chess playing friend and the actress playing Shadab’s bua (aunt) is equally good.
The musical department delivers a soothing track “Shab” and an adequate background score to enhance its various sequences. Cinematography (by the director himself) captures all those erotic scenes with a subtle elegance and adds to its dark feel throughout. Yet on the story part, I couldn’t digest the angle of sisters continuously calling for help and the boy regularly ignoring them in a strange manner. For me it was really a kind of inhuman and over the top act frankly. Because in reality, whatever might be the circumstances, a brother cannot respond to such calls in this way at all. Perhaps that is one of the reasons why the film is not able to connect with the viewer emotionally as desired.
Secondly, I strongly oppose to this wrong presentation of DELHI, in many of the recent Hindi films, probably beginning from DEV-D. By just showing the neon-lit lanes of Paharganj area, you cannot represent Delhi as the city of lust, crime and dubious activities like this. Perhaps the Bollywood film-makers are done with the city of Mumbai and now on to use Delhi as the new focus of crime inspired by some recent shameful activities happening in real life. Admitting the fact, every city has its dark corners, but its not just right to use the same corners as the sole representatives of the entire city for your cinematic requirements.
So ending on that note, B.A. PASS is a dark, shocking and brutal tale of an unemployed youth caught in the trap of a sexy lady. Though marketed as an erotic film, it’s an honest attempt with a soul partially reminding you of many worth watching classics of World Cinema. Its few shortcomings don’t allow me to rate it as a perfect film but this is indeed the next brave step taken by Hindi Cinema in the recent years undoubtedly. Having said that, one does need to have the vision to look beyond its sensuous stuff and reach the real essence of its story as told by the writer. Because in absence of that this might remain just another stimulating morning show B-C grade film with many erotic scenes for most of the viewers.
Rating : 3.5 / 5 (including an additional 0.5 just for the 2 delightful scenes of Deepti Naval)

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02 Aug 2013 / Comment ( 0 )
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