Old, haggard and limping Ajji (grandmother), everyday walks long upto her butcher friend shop to learn the art of slicing bodies. At night, she alters clothes for a living. Her sole objective in life is to take fitting revenge over the local politician’s cruel son who raped her ten year old grand daughter, Manda, to the point her vagina was torn and bleeding for a month, as the hapless child lay bedridden.
Ajji is not a movie for all. If you are awaiting Race 3 (despite its horrible trailers), love to dive into your smartphone in movie halls or lack basic sensitivity to life, then Ajji is not for you! This Devashish Makhija directed movie is excruciatingly slow, detailed, raw, hard hitting and moves mostly within the dark lanes of a Maharashtra village. You see rats, dirty drains, muddy roads, drug addicts, people walking over water pipes, barking stray dogs, cheap brothels and stinking garbage all over the movie.
A Bloody Revenge Story
It was in one such garbage pile, near a dilapidated bridge, that little Manda was found one night, thrown in, writhing in pain. The local insensitive police bully the parents, demand viewing the girl in detail (to check if its rape or not) and later get bullied themselves while trying to make money from the culprit. Manda’s Ajji (Sushama Deshpande) doesn’t shed a tear nor share a frown – sensing helplessness in front of a devil and a non existent system, she decides to plot revenge. Never mind a strict hindu vegetarian limping all the way to her muslim friend (Sudhir Pandey) beef shop to learn the art of cutting buffalo testicles or chopping a live chicken (how did the animal rights or censor board allow that?). The chopped meat would later be fed to stray dogs.
The painful India we have made
She really had little choice. Her shanty hut, her son’s broken arm and her pregnant prostitute friend (Sadiya Siddiqui) could barely stitch up any courage to attempt getting justice by the books. The only other earner in the family, Manda’s mother (Smita Tambe and her expressive eyes), cycles entire village to sell snacks. The odds were so low that it makes Ajji a tremendously inspirational movie. Never to cow down against a bully or tolerate injustice. Your life, your respect is in your hands.
You feel for Manda and Ajji the entire movie. When Ajji shows picture of the rapist and asks Manda ‘Was it him?’, the scared child pees down in fear. Not since Rajkumar Santoshi’s epic Damini, has Bollywood attempted to showcase the pain of a rape victim in detail. Every time Ajji’s old hands slice meat, you nod your head in agreement that the rapist Dhavle (Abhishek Banerjee) deserves that chop. Dhavle, meanwhile, drunk in power and alcohol all the time, knocks around doors in the village nights either seeking a beer bottle, victim or kicking North Indians earning their living in Maharashtra. He must die.
The movie also highlights another topic how traditional treatment (made of spider saliva) heal a torn vagina faster than modern chemically induced procedures and medicines. It perhaps works as a parallel that even Dhavle didn’t deserve modern justice procedures, when raw cold revenge was the best serving option. This movie bats for standing up for yourself. That every rapist (minor victim or not) deserve the bloodiest of deaths. Next time you read a bloody revenge story news, do be aware, it may have had a Manda victim too.
Before that, you must watch Ajji. It has been appreciated globally in many film festivals and now available on Netflix, Singapore.
My Rating: 4/5
IMDB Viewers Rating: 7.1/10