Verdict: A beautiful and thrilling execution of an appalling story.
This year alone, we have had three movies on mothers in multiple languages – Maatr, Mom, and Mother. Based on a similar theme, comes the (grand)mother of all these movies – Ajji (also called: Granny). Screened earlier at the Jio MAMI Mumbai Film Festival, Granny is a film by Devashish Makhija, starring Sushama Deshpande in the lead role, while Smita Tambe and Sadiya Siddiqui play important supporting characters. The story of Ajji is not very different from what you have seen in the aforementioned movies, but it certainly the best thriller of them all.
What's Ajji About:
The 8-year-old Manda seems to have gone missing. Her grandmother starts looking for her, along with her friend Leela, who happens to be a prostitute. Their financial condition is clearly poor, as they are shown living in the slums of Mumbai. Manda is found by the women, lying bleeding near the sewers. It is evident that she has been raped. While a crime of this magnitude would raise hell if it happened among the privileged classes, Manda’s case has been silenced, especially since the rapist – Vilasrao Dhavle – is the son of an important politician. The policeman on the case is also in league with Dhavle, ensuring the family keeps its mouth shut. Realizing that justice will not be given, Ajji has taken it upon herself to seek revenge for her granddaughter.
Revenge thrillers always make for a great watch. While we have had more than our fair share of them this year, what makes Ajji special is the portrayal of each character in depth. Several scenes in the movie have you shocked to your core as it is not something you’re used to watching on the big screen. Ajji’s determination to seek revenge despite her old age and failing limbs leave you impressed. The method she uses and the final outcome of her act of revenge had the audience cheering and clapping in the theatre, and if you watch the film, you will find yourself rooting for dear Ajji too.
The treatment of the film is very important in a thriller. The light and sound played a big role, especially since the intense scenes mostly happened in the dark. Both blended well to keep the audience on the edge of their seats, while not taking away from the focus of the scenes. With a cast of exceptional actors, the performances were solid. Smita Tambe delivered the best of them all. Granny is certainly not a movie to miss.
What Could Have Been Better:
Since the movie is a suspense thriller, the pace is very slow. Some of the scenes have just been added for the 'build-up' effect that can be slightly taxing through the course of the film. It is only towards the end that you feel a sense of satisfaction and revelry. The feeling does leave you sick to the stomach as it is not easy to digest justice being served in the worst ways possible.
Why You Should Watch This Movie:
In a country with shocking rape and child molestation statistics, Ajji is the movie to watch. It is not the same old rape revenge drama, but this Granny's determination to seek justice will leave you with many mixed feelings about the state of current affairs.