First Class First.

A dark drama.  As an audience you would leave with a grimace on your as if someone had kicked your balls. Ajay Bahl does not leave anything to imagination; he is blunt and never waits for a second invitation to showcase his raw take on cinematography and direction. Shadab Kamal(as  Mukesh) delivers a masterpiece, Shilpa Shukla(as Sarika) epitomises promiscuity like never before, Rajesh Sharma’s(Sarika’s husband, as Khanna) portrayal of a cuckold is fabulous. Bahl’s cinematography is par excellence and direction too is gripping. He saves the best for the climax and post-climax stage of the film which leaves one bolt-struck and in a deluge of melancholy.

Kamal is shown as an undergraduate studying B.A and much to his displeasure detests studying. His parents’ untimely demise leaves him with an immense burden of shouldering himself and his two teenaged sisters. His stay in his kin’s hearth is suffocating and pathetic. His despicable aunt has almost made him a household maid. A dependent life, with burden of two young sisters makes him gasp for a fresh lease of life. An apparent such thing happens when Shukla enters. She is the wife of his uncle’s boss(Sharma) and a chief of a women’s committee. Known in the social parlance as a wanton, but no one dares to express, forget speak , about her nature as nothing has been proved till date. Secondly, hailing from a well off background has its own share of benifits which she thoroughly enjoys and exploits. Shulka’s entrance into the Kamal’s life happens as per her plan. Kamal is asked to do some chore for her, which his aunty readily accepts due to obsequious reasons and sends him to Shukla’s place. Bahl could have employed  some foreplay before canning the intimate sequence, but as mentioned earlier, a second invitation is never required. Shukla literally pounces on Kamal and for a few minutes uninhibited  carnal passion takes over.

Wanton Shukla invites Kamal over and over again and much to his unwillingness the illicit relationship continues. Amidst such screen scorching displays Bahl excellently weaves in another episode where Kamal becomes friend with a coffin maker(Dibyendu Bhattacharya, as Johnny) when he plays chess in a cemetery bunking college classes. The coffin maker comes as a samaritan and gradually they become thick friends with chess as their common and primary interest.

On a fateful day, Kamal loses his grandfather and his kin decides to move the sisters to a girls’ home as they can’t feed them. Reluctant but hopeless Kamal agrees to part his sisters but promises to bring them back when he has settled. Later Kamal realises that the girls’ home is a prostitution den and tries desperately to bring them to back. Cash-strapped, dependent, hopeless Kamal becomes an easy target for Shukla. She suggests him to become a gigolo and offers her women’s society members as his customers. Kamal out rightly rejects the offer but is later forced to do the same because of cash. Bucks starts flowing in and his apparent hey days begin. But fate had other plans, one fine day, Sharma, decides to play a hunch and catches his wife red-handed with Kamal. He tries to flee but is thrashed and forced to see a husband-wife sodomy. Eventually he manages to flee only to be thrown out of his kin’s house as Sharma had already levelled false allegations to his kin about his drunken attempt to kiss Shukla and accosts them to shut their door for him for good if she wanted her husband’s job security and pending promotion.

Abandoned, destitute Kamal finds a shelter in his coffin maker friend’s house but is left with very little money as he had kept all that he had earned in Shukla’s custody as no bank had accepted to keep the same. Meanwhile frantic calls from his plighted sisters continue to bother him. He makes promises to visit them, rescue them but delivers none. As the pecuniary pangs dig deeper, he decides to make desperate contacts with Shukla so that she can return him his money. Shukla evades all such attempts which leaves Kamal no other option but to break into her house. Things turn murkier when Shulka enters her room to find him searching for the money. This is followed by incessant banging on the door by Sharma who pays a sudden visit to re-checks on his wife’s transgressions. Cunning Shukla devises a plan which portrays Kamal as the culprit and herself as the victim. The plan works and she extols Kamal by saying “First class first.” Realising there is no reproach; Kamal stabs her in front of her husband, who had managed to break into the eventful room, leaving him stunned.

The post-climax events are strangulating as Kamal escapes to Bhattacharya’s house only to discover that he had fled and with the money which he has asked him to collect from his kin’s house. Shattered and gutted, Kamal fails to make an escape as the police eventually corners him to a building’s balcony. His phone rings, it’s his sister’s call, they had fled that shit-hole to be with him and were waiting for him at the railway station. Hopeless and distraught Kamal takes a final leap. He jumps from the balcony and ends his life, leaving his sisters homeless and destitute.

The dark, ghastly, traumatising story ends and you are left with a numb sensation with one plaintiff: can fate be so ruthless? Recipient of umpteen awards, Ajay Bahl stands out as a unique tragic drama director. Dark drama has a new name: B.A. Pass.



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