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It talks about the sleazy underbelly of Delhi: Ajay Bahl

Not many independent films get a Friday release. However, Ajay Bahl’s upcoming film BA Pass seems like a healthy exception. The Delhi-based filmmaker prefers to call himself a ‘pathetically slow writer’. Nonetheless, Ajay tackles a rather unorthodox subject of a young guy having an amorous relationship with an older woman in his debut feature. 

Ajay Bahl and Shilpa Shukla
Ajay Bahl and Shilpa Shukla in the film

Any particular reason why you opted for such a bold topic?
Since this film has been produced independently by me, it gave me the freedom to choose the subject as well. Even though it sounded risky from the word go, I knew we’d pull it off. After all, I belong to the generation that has grown up on Anurag Kashyap, Vishal Bhardwaj and Dibakar Banerjee. As a filmmaker, if you can’t do something different, then why do it?

So that’s why you decided to make a noir film?
Forget movies, it’s difficult to come across a noir novel in India nowadays. The inspiration for BA Pass came from this book called Delhi Noir and one of the stories in it titled The Railway Aunty (written by Mohan Sikka) fascinated me. Besides, it was set in Delhi and threw light on the dark, sleazy underbelly of a city I’m familiar with.

And why did you choose to cast Shilpa Shukla?
I first noticed Shilpa Shukla in Khamosh Pani. And then I was supposed to cast her in a film to be directed by me and produced by Tigmanshu (Dhulia) but that never happened. Later, when the idea of BA Pass came up, I shortlisted two names: Richa Chadda and Shilpa Shukla. In fact, I was keen on casting Richa as we both hail from Delhi and are fellow Stephanians. But then, she went on to work in Gangs of Wasseypur and I went back to Shilpa. She was initially apprehensive about the role but she eventually agreed

Not many films from the festival circuit get a proper release in our country...
That’s true. Even I was confused what to do with my film once I had completed it! However, after going through the usual picture-banao-aur-duniya-ghumo festival circuit, I thought it was essential to get the film certified by the Censor Board. I was also lucky to have names like Bharat Shah and Buddhadeb Dasgupta extending their support.

BA Pass releases on July 12. 

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