Starring: Shadab Kamal, Shilpa Shukla, Rajesh Sharma, Dibyendu Bhattacharya
Directed by Ajay Bahl
BA Pass starts off rather well, as it takes you into the heart of a Sikh family. The parents have died, the grandfather is old. So where do the kids go from here? The extended family’s negotiations and decision-making about their future is portrayed believably. We have Mukesh, who is forced to move in with his aunt. A brief encounter with society diva Sarika draws him into a seamy world where his middle-class idealism bumps into sex, sleaze and deceptions. So far quite good. Based on Mohan Sikka’s story Railway Aunty, the attempt is to strip the middle class of its morality. But as the film progresses the treatment gets too ham-fisted. Yes, we are trying to get bolder with our cinema but there’s an unease and awkwardness, a self-consciousness about it which also shows up in the frames. The plaintive music, psychedelic, neon-lit Paharganj and characters living on the fringes: there’s a conscious stylisation, a touch of Almodovar. But all this doesn’t cut deep enough. The characters, their motives, predicaments don’t needle you after the film gets over. Shadab fits the bill with his innocent looks and sincerity, as does Shilpa with her acts of gruff seduction. But I came back with Deepti Naval and Rajesh Sharma who manage to reach out even in bit roles.