Review: AAHUTI – CAN BE.SACRIFICED
Aahuti means sacrifice. Who is sacrificing whom, for what, how, when and where? These questions are neither raised nor answered in Aahuti, written and directed by Kingshuk De. Based on a screenplay jointly created by Kingshuk De and Premangshu Roy, the film opens with a romance between a pretty young girl from a well-to-do family and a young boy who does nothing for a living. The girl is forced to marry the man her parents have chosen, a police officer who heads an anti-terrorist squad. She forgets about her lover. The sad boy gets on to a bus. The bus explodes, killing everyone, soon after he gets down with another young man who left his small walkman in the bus. He befriends this young man and is taken as an intern. They believe in armed revolution to break the system, guided by a khadi-clad, jhola carrying, bespectacled elderly mentor. Raj does not believe in armed revolution defined by violence and the killing of innocents. The Muslim friend tells him that his kid brother was captured by the police as a terrorist though he was not one. His would-be wife and father were tortured too and this forced him to avenge his brother’s death.
Each member of the group has his own story. One confesses that he used his wife, then in advanced pregnancy, as a human bomb to get his message across. What ‘message’? At whose cost? Raja’s ex-girlfriend’s husband takes a posting near this terrorist camp, promising to wipe out the last terrorist. His wife, now pregnant, spots Raj among them and persuades him to give up arms. The husband spots them together and begins to suspect his wife’s involvement with the group and also the paternity of his unborn child. She promises him that she will persuade them to lay down their arms and surrender. She tells them that the police will not kill them once they do so. But the girl’s husband and his troop shoot them down. Betrayed thus, the girl leaves her husband and decides to write an article about the ‘aahuti’ of these young men. The film introduces her as a journalist and she is said to remain one throughout. But one never sees her writing even one story during the entire film. One sees her writing a diary and this becomes the ‘article’ for her editor we see just for a few seconds on screen.
Of the four newcomers Raj, Premanghu and Abishkar, one can mention Premangshu, who leaves a bomb in the bus as a boy of some promise. The others, including the new girl who plays the so-called journalist whose stomach remains flat through the film, cannot even move a muscle in her pretty face. Raj is terrible. Abishkaar can only glower at Raj because he does not trust him. Paran Bandopadhyay as Premangshu’s father and Samata Das as his wife are wasted in inane roles. Anubhab’s music is like the rest of the film. Biswajit Chakraborty as the Home Minister does a good cameo while Tanima Sen’s one-scene take off on Mamata Didi is a scream!
Aahuti is well-deserved sacrifice of two hours of time, energy and leisure for the few who came to watch the film and went out failing to understand what it was all about or why the film was made at all!
By: Shoma A. Chatterji