Bollywood's latest release "B.A. Pass" starring Shilpa Shukla of "Chak De!" fame has hit the screens with average ratings from critics.
Directed and produced by Ajay Bahl, the film also features Shadab Kamal, Rajesh Sharma, Dibyendu Bhattacharya in important roles.
The film is about a young small town boy named Mukesh (played by Kamal) who struggles for survival and has an illicit relationship with a married woman known to him as Sarika 'Aunty' (played by Shilpa).
In 2012, the film won the Best Film award at the Osian's Cinefan Festival of Asian and Arab Cinema. Several filmmakers including Mahesh Bhatt, Vishal Bhardwaj, Buddhadeb Dasgupta and Abhishek Chaubey among others praised the film.
Check out the critics' reviews here:
Madhureeta Mukherjee of The Times of India said: "Unbutton, unbuckle and unstrap the senses. It's going to be one erotic escapade - kinky, caustic, brutal and brave. With ample 'O's and 'Ahhs!' Some painfully fake, others carnally climaxed. Adapted from Mohan Sikka's short story, 'Railway Aunty', it's about the doom and desperation of an impoverished life and the extremes one can go to redeem them of an ignominious existence.
"The moods of passion and 'positions' change with shades of her lingerie and Mukesh sinks deeper into this promiscuous 'sinfest'. The erotic ecstasy is dramatically disrupted when he's betrayed by both fate and friendship.
"Shilpa brazenly wears the sex-hungry look and performs steamy acts. From being hot in bed, to crassly cold out-of-bed - (Quote: "Sikhaya maine, mazey sab lenge") - the ease with which she enacts her part is shocking, but impactful.
"Debutant Ajay Bahl's film is dark and deeply disturbing. The subject boldly pulls off the cover on what happens behind closed (bedroom) doors of a society that thrives on pseudo morals and values.
"If you want a change from the colourful canvas of Bollywood, and you like it dark, very dark - test this one out."
Saibal Chatterjee of NDTV said: "The film opens with a funereal scene of an extended family in mourning over a double tragedy. It closes with a shockingly distressing finale. And nothing that happens in between provides the minutest glimmer of hope. Yet BA Pass is never less than riveting.
"It is an unflinching, scalding tale that exposes the heart of darkness that lies under the serene, genteel veneer of middle class life in Delhi. The downbeat drama, which marks cinematographer Ajay Bahl's directorial debut, plays out in a benighted world of dangerous liaisons and false moves where the privileged and powerful prey relentlessly and mercilessly on those that are weak and vulnerable.
"This sharply written, smartly edited and evocatively shot film lands all its blows well-nigh perfectly, without having to overplay its hand.
"Adapted from Mohan Sikka's The Railway Aunty, a short story that was part of the Delhi Noir anthology published in 2009, the film is neither manipulatively 'bold' nor exploitatively 'erotic'. If anything, it is a deeply melancholic take on innocence sullied and brutalized.
"The acting lends coiled power to the story, with both Shilpa Shukla and Shadab Kamal holding their own all the way through this obviously difficult-to-navigate material.
"BA Pass combines the bone-dry quality of a chiselled short story and the stark directness of a minimalist tragedy to deliver a taut, gripping film about the hell that a big city can be behind the bright neon lights and the living room glass cabinets stacked with flashy dolls."
Rohit Vats of IBNLive said: "Erotic dramas are not new to Bollywood. And, director Ajay Bahl also takes on the subject of desire and lust in his latest film 'BA Pass'. Based on a short story 'The Railway Aunty', 'BA Pass' is a story looking at the fatal promise of a new life where a young man becomes the victim of his own uncontrolled desires.
"With the bold trailer and theme doing the rounds, 'BA Pass' is bound to attract audiences to the theatre. But will the film be just another erotic drama? Or 'BA Pass' will be an engaging and gripping story?"
Subhra Gupta of Indian Express said: "There is so little attention paid, in a thought-through manner, to the questions arising from marital emptiness and genteel, soul-sucking poverty, and urban decay that when a film like B.A.Pass comes along, you are willing it to be about all of this and more. Ajay Bahl's directorial debut lays out a plot with promise, but then belies it, by not giving us as much as it could, and should have.
"The creation of Sarika (Shukla) should have been a triumph for Bollywood. Very rarely is a woman with strong sexual needs placed at the centre of a mainstream film, and Sarika is unapologetic about being a cougar: she grabs, and she gets.
"Mohan Sikka's short story 'The Railway Aunty', on which the film is based, uses its atmosphere of defeat and rancidness much better. In the film, Bahl creates claustrophobia well, and then loses the story and the characters in it. We want to see underneath, and what we get, instead, is neon glaze."