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Movie review: Jahnu Barua's Ajeyo gives man's indefatigable spirit a new meaning

Assamese filmmaker Jahnu Barua's film is not about war or peace. Neither is it strictly a revolutionary film. At its heart, Ajeyo is one of those sane voices we yearn to hear when confronted with the society's ills.

movie reviews Updated: Sep 24, 2014 19:00 IST
Deekshita Baruah
Deekshita Baruah
Hindustan Times
ajeyo,ajeyo movie review,ajeyo movie

Cast: Rupam Chetia, Jupitora Bhuyan, Bishnu Khargoria, Rimpi Das, Kopil Bora, Pratibha
Director: Jahnu Barua
Rating: 3/5

At a time when communalism has started rearing its ugly fangs with alarming regularity all over India, Assamese storyteller Jahnu Barua's Ajeyo (InvincibIe) is just the kind of film we needed to restore sanity, and to believe in the cardinal truth: that nothing can ever defeat the spirit of the human mind.

On the face of it, the 117 minute-long film follows Gojen Keot (Rupam Chetia), a high school dropout waging a war against the religious/social disparities and stigmas of the society in the pre-independence era. But look deeper and you'd realise that Ajeyo is also about exposing the delicate issues of caste discrimination, child marriage, and Hindus and Muslims living pigeonholed by religion in a small village in Assam.

Keot is an honest man with unshakable conviction and ideals, and has dedicated his life to fight the bourgeoisies. The revolutionary youth, who lives alone with his grandmother, struggles to make both-ends-meet and takes up tutoring a young Muslim girl Hasina (Jupitora Bhuyan). In the end, he ends up marrying her to save her life.

However, this is not the end to his character's repertoire. Gojen, who dreams of an independent and promising India, gets caught up in the freedom movement as a rookie volunteer and fails to live up to his assigned role. This leads to the death of two freedom fighters. Unable to come to terms with it, Gojen suffers a painful, guilt-ridden life.

Most part of the film focuses on Gojen, only concentrating on his granddaughter (Rimpi Das) towards the end, who continues his legacy of fighting against societal evils as a police officer. Discrimination towards women is what she rallies against.

Brilliant performances and an engaging plot aside, Ajeyo is let down by quite a few loopholes. The screenplay, for one, fails to give us a sense of the pre-independence era it's set in. Even the background score doesn't do the trick. The flashback scenes, which Barua has used in good measure, only breaks the narrative and does nothing much other than creating confusions.

Still, the drama is heightened in the second half and the film ends on a hopeful note. It's superlative dialogues only add to the drama recreated on the scene. An excerpt: "We thought with Independence all our miseries would come to an end. Never imagined the result of freedom could be so terrifying!"

The film, based on an adaptation by Arun Sharma's Sahitya Akademi Award-winning novel Ashirbador Rong (The Hues of Blessings), received the National Award for Best Feature film in Assamese, earlier this year in May.

This socio-political drama, which releases Friday across Delhi, Pune, Mumbai and Bangalore, is worth a watch.

First Published: Sep 20, 2014 18:33 IST