Ajji Movie Review: Grandma’s Recipe For Revenge
Over the past couple of years, Bollywood has seen a rise in the trend of revenge stories revolving around rape (Maatr, Mom, Kaabil, Bhoomi et al) and while the films appealed to the masses because of its star cast or the dramatic way in which the protagonist avenges the rape of a loved one, I can confidently say that none of them comes even close to Devashish Makhija’s Ajji (‘Grandmother’ in Marathi). Set in the dingy slums of Mumbai, ‘Aajji’ revolves around a grandmother (Sushma Deshpande), who discovers the unconscious body of her granddaughter Manda (Sharvani Suryavanshi) near an open gutter in her slum. Manda has been raped by local politician-builder-goon Dhawle (Abhishek Banerjee) and when the local cop (Vikas Kumar) coerces the family into forgetting the outrage because Dhawle is too big a fish to be caught in a net, Ajji decides to take matters in her own hand and how she manages to do this, forms the rest of the plot. Without exception, every actor in the film has performed superbly-from the stoic Ajji to the deceptively sympathetic cop to the supremely menacing Dhawle (one of the most spine-chilling villains I have ever come across on the silver screen) and it is pure pleasure to watch these actors give full justice to the roles they are allotted. As for the film, unlike the Bollywood revenge flicks mentioned earlier, Ajji is like a vicious punch to the solar plexus. Right from the first frame, where Ajji is seen searching for Manda in the narrow and dirty lanes of the slum they live in to the way the local cop interrogates the family after the rape to the way Ajji goes about preparing herself for vengeance, the film makes you wince uncomfortably. There is a sense of despair and hopelessness in every frame that seeps into your mind as the plot progresses. Special mention must be mentioned of the scene wherein Dhawle justifies the rape to the local cop when the latter pesters him for details- the scene will make you grind your teeth in helpless rage and this is where the film triumphs. Ajji is dark, brutal, cynical and traumatic. The cinematographer deserves a pat on the back for highlighting the dark and dingy underbelly of Mumbai- the claustrophobic slums, the open gutters, the sinister construction site with a flickering tubelight will make you want to step out in the open and breathe in some fresh air-such is the impact of the camerawork. If you watch films for entertainment, I would suggest that you stay away from ‘Ajji’ because the film will make you uncomfortable. Revenge dramas are designed to make you root for the good guy and relish the vengeance exacted by the protagonist on the antagonist, but ‘Ajji’ does nothing of the sort. By the time the film ends, you feel bad for the grandma- for the way the need for vengeance turns her into something else entirely.
Release Date : 24 November 2017
Director : Devashish Makhija
Genre : Drama