Nov 222017

A: Drama
Director: Devashish Makhija
Cast: Sushama Deshpande, Smita Tambe

Devashish Makhija’s eye for detail is evident as he traces his 10-year-old actor’s steps late into the night, through the narrow paths of the slum she lives in, in Ajji’s opening scene. Having spent two years residing in the slums of the city, the director aptly, and unabashedly showcases the gruesome truth of living in the vicinity of rodents, wild dogs, and layers of rotting litter. As the camera navigates these streets with the aged protagonist searching for her granddaughter – the fear of the girl being unconscious or injured evident as Ajji flashes her torch on the rubble instead of the path ahead – you only hope that Manda isn’t buried under the pile of decay.

A still from the film Ajji
A still from the film Ajji

Makhija’s revenge-drama revolves around an aged woman’s desire to avenge her granddaughter’s rape. Yet, what makes this film stand out from its kind is that the one looking to make the kill lacks even the physical ability to stand before the perpetrator. With an aching knee, Ajji – beautifully played by Sushma Deshpande – quietly plots her revenge – limping her way to the distant market to learn the art of chopping flesh from an aged lover (Sudhir Pandey), also the owner of a meat shop.

The monotony and sedated pace of the film will have you turning in your seat. But, you soon begin to wonder if the pain inflicted via these long hours of injustice would be noticeable without it. It’s almost bothersome to notice how we’ve made our peace with injustice when the miscreant is a man of power, with lines like – Dhande wali ka kya rape hota hai, Ajji? – being forgotten as soon as they are spoken. Makhija pitches his film as a dark-twisted take on The Little Red Riding Hood. We’re certain you won’t revisit the fairytale with enthusiasm after this.

Watch ‘AJJI’ Trailer[embedded content]

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