Ajoba is one of the few movies to choose such a bold and compelling imagination to depict and create awareness regarding wildlife conservation such that no Indian director has ever tried to project. Director Sujay S. Dahake, whose debut Shala had impressed the audience with its poignant and ravishing features, hits the silver screen once again with an enthralling and mesmerizing reel Ajoba. Based on true events, it kicks off with a leopard found in a well in Takli Dokeshwar, Junnar village, Maharashtra. Purva Rao, a wildlife biologist, played by Urmila Matondkar, helps rescue the leopard and reintroduces him to Malshej Ghat. This process is carried through by fitting an electronic chip in its tail and naming him as Ajoba. The title – Ajoba, has a significant symbolization to it which is explained in the second-half of the movie. It’s an alluringly ambitious and adventurous story of this leopard who traces his way back to Mumbai – Sanjay Gandhi National Park from Malshej Ghat through the Sahyadris.
This is Urmila Matondkar’s Marathi debut, whose performance satisfactorily tries to convey the deeper meaning of man-animal conflict which grips the greater part of Mumbai suburbs. An intense-yet-soulful establishment of the relation between the wildlife conservationists and the animals has been perfectly-showcased. Some amount of comic relief is provided by introducing a character named Dyanoba, played by the versatile and adorable Hrishikesh Joshi (of Yellow fame), who is a farmer by occupation but later gets dragged into this trek by forest officials. The dynamics and point of views of each and every character has been well-developed giving a realistic effect to the movie.Other than the thrilling plot of the movie, Diego Romero’s cinematography is top draw. Diego Romero adds an eerie rural feel that layers the movie with an edgy and thematic effect. One constant appealing and upbeat factor that draws you more into the drama is the folk music. The background scores are extremely fitting adding to the sombre mood of the film, sometimes even making your heart do a little flip in those tense sequences.
Why should you watch the movie?
The movie leaves you with thought-provoking questions about nature and wildlife asking us to reconsider our actions with which we label the wild with negativity. Also, the unprecedented shots of the locations build up a strong innate desire to rave about. The movie offers a spectacular cinematic treat that waits to be experienced by the audience.
By Yojet Sharma