Adapted from Mohan Sikka's 'Railway Aunty', B.A. Pass at first glance seems a sleaze fest that follows the week after the more high-profile Nasha. But upon viewing, you realise that the film does not go down that territory. B. A. Pass is the story of Mukesh, played by Shadab Kamal, who is sucked into the degenerative abyss of a world he cannot leave.
Orphaned at a young age with two sisters to fend for, the lonely boy finds solace in his friendship with the cemetary caretaker, played by Dibyendu Bhattacharya.
Shilpa Shukla plays the seductive housewife who lassos and trusses up the naïve Mukesh in a world of endless sin. The protagonist spirals headlong into a world of lust and vices.
You already know as you sit down to watch the bleak film, that a pleasant end is not up and coming. Debutant director Ajay Bahl leaves a powerful mark in his first attempt. Cast performances by Shadab Kamal, Shilpa Shukla, Dibyendu Bhattacharya and others are wonderful.
The moments in the film are shocking, the silence is piercing and overall approach is minimalist. Ajay is also doing the cinematography. It keeps the brooding, nihilistic atmosphere of the film intact. You watch in despair as the film hurtles from grim to grimmer. The screenplay by Ritesh Shah leaves no room for an extra scene to break the momentum.
This is not the kind of cinema you can watch with your family. This is also not a date movie. B. A. Pass is possibly only best seen if watched alone. There will, no doubt, be a greater impact. It makes you introspect on some moments, like the dreary opening, the shower scene with the sobbing, brutalized hero and the sex scenes which have not an air of tenderness but one of functionality.
A contrast from the vibrant Bollywood fare, this film takes you through a grey world of amoral characters that aren't necessarily likeable but keep you involved.
Films of India gives B. A. Pass three stars. We commend the efforts of the director, cast and crew for making this film as it is a story that needs to be told.