Ajana Batas is a slow, lifeless film that fails to get its rhythm right, a story that fails to connect with the audience, a poem that fails to evoke emotions.
Deepa (Paoli) — a small-town girl who works as a copywriter in a Kolkata-based ad agency — starts having problems communicating with those around her. Whenever she wants to say something crucial, a mysterious breeze blows her words away. She sinks deeper into a shell as time passes, struggling to make her 'lost' thoughts clear to others. The film revolves around this struggle and how Deepa overcomes it
is a poetic film; in fact, a bit too poetic. But sadly, the narrative flow lacks rhythm. It can at best be compared to a child's attempt at rhyming disjointed words: The reason is missing. That's the exact question on your mind for most part of the film — why? And there's no answer. It's either fantasy with a touch of reality or reality too far-fetched to be believable. After all, Deepa's mysterious forest and its whispering breeze are only possible in a poem or a fairy-tale. If we associate it with the real world, her character seems schizophrenic.
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But then, reality is an integral part of the film. Deepa is a small-town girl who lives alone in Kolkata and works in an ad agency. She travels home every weekend to be with her family and her 'different' uncle, who believes in the same whispering breeze and is considered mentally unstable by family and society. She has a love life, lives in a house too upmarket for her professional standing, eats out at expensive eateries and shows absolutely no chemistry whatsoever with any other character in the film. Then why is her character so hazy, so borderline schizophrenic
That's also where we come to the actors. Paoli for one. Push away all the other characters, and her acting seems excellent. But put her into the frame with the others, and she still seems to be acting alone! Her family doesn't feel like a family, her office is dull and lacks vibrancy, her love life is cold and unexciting. Why? In fact, the same lack of chemistry is visible among all the characters. Even Shankar Chakraborty seems very restrained while portraying Deepa's depressed mejo kaku. The only character that seems real is that of a famous poet (Kaushik Sen), who befriends Deepa with seduction in mind. His is one character that goes about life with the right emotions. The rest is a muddle.
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But perhaps the most disconcerting aspect of the film is its lack of energy. Everyone goes about life without any urgency, emotions are hard to come by and hardly anyone smiles. The protagonist oscillates between reality and fantasy, and the other characters seem like well-oiled machines busy weaving a life around her dreamy existence. But no one seems connected at any level.
Ajana Batas is a slow, lifeless film that fails to get its rhythm right, a story that fails to connect with the audience, a poem that fails to evoke emotions. It's an experiment. The question is, do you want to be the guinea pig?