B.A. PASS is not just another erotic film, which encashes and emphasises on sex unnecessarily or showcases sensuality to titillate, as is the norm in conventional films. Despite its dark subject & being an erotic drama at heart, B.A. PASS showcases erotica in its truest sense, without accentuating bosom thrusts and pelvic...more
B.A. PASS is not just another erotic film, which encashes and emphasises on sex unnecessarily or showcases sensuality to titillate, as is the norm in conventional films. Despite its dark subject & being an erotic drama at heart, B.A. PASS showcases erotica in its truest sense, without accentuating bosom thrusts and pelvic moves into the camera right onto the viewer's face. BA PASS raises the bar of showcasing love-making scenes like nobody has done before in the milieu of Indian Cinema. less
“B.A. Pass is a gripping erotic drama with supremely raw lead performances. If you have an appetite for realistic and dark films, go for it.”
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“Murdon pe chal rahi hai apni zindagi. Ek aadmi mara toh ek waqt ka khaana milta hai,” remarks Johny, who happens to work at a cemetery. It is surely a grim world the film is set in, full of lonely characters with unfulfilled dreams and blindingly gaudy atmosphere used to punctuate the gloominess of it all. The central character Mukesh’s parents have died when he’s too young, his guardian aunt treats him like a servant, he strikes a prolonged sexual relationship with Sarika Aunty and finds a friend in the easy-going Johny.
Sarika is sort of an anti-Antonionian character, a victim of urban alienation but completely stripped of her guilt and sense of loyalty - the film suggests she’s a lonely housewife replete with material needs who uses Mukesh to satisfy her sexual desires and also helps him get paid “jobs” elsewhere, thus helping other women such as hers. By the end of the film, Sarika was the only character I thought I felt had an emotional core (I don't mean to imply that not having one is necessarily a shortcoming, but with such bleakness and emptiness defining the characters, the ending doesn't quite hit the right note.) When they make out, she seems to be the one passionately into it, as if those are the only moments in her otherwise lugubrious daily schedule when she's living it up. Mukesh, a newcomer to this world of callousness, is detached and curiously observes the process. We’re never really told what makes Mukesh such a cold seller of his body for money - literally, yes, we are duly informed that he must assume responsibility of his sisters, but with such little knowledge about his past and about himself as a person, the subplot about him turning to men for the job in an adverse time or the implied tragic climax about a little love story lost under the densely dreary realms of the opportunistic city comes across as somewhat fake.
Director Ajay Bahl borrows much of his cinematic style from Anurag Kashyap - a name now synonymous with the aforementioned category of films but himself very derivative - from frenzied use of neon-lights and shaky camera movements to create a “trippy” effect and obscure framing right down to its themes. Only that B.A. Pass is formally sincere without letting the impudence take over for most part and even with themes still considered bold for Indian cinema, Bahl doesn’t go all hammer-and-tongs rebellious on the viewer (remember the explicitly emphasized symbolism in the scene from Dev.D where Dev uses his credit card and a currency note to line up and snort coke?) There’s quite some clarity of thought here, and Bahl for most part does succeed in striking a harmony between content and form. The film particularly wonderfully uses montage, suggesting plot advancements economically yet seamlessly while creating a peculiarly languid, lifeless mood as Mukesh descends into the world of nothingness. Even when a "twist" comes by towards the end, the film proficiently underplays it and focusses on what's truly at the film's focal point. The film does falls prey to its own audacity by the last act, as the experiments with neon lights takes over the coherence of the drama. But considering how maturely B.A. Pass handles its themes that enclose sex as a way of overcoming one’s distress and an opportunistic world full of desolation; it’s safe to say that we’ve come a long way from the polemical “dark”, “gritty” films to have come out in the last few years.