‘Masaan:’ Limited appeal

MUMBAI: Now this one is a film truly reflecting the real India. The Manikarnika Ghat at the Banaras is said to be so sacrosanct for the cremation of a deceased Hindu that it is said to guarantee eternal Nirvana, a short cut to heaven notwithstanding how one lived the life or the sins committed!

The characters, at least the main male protagonist’s life revolves around this holy crematorium site and hence the title. Otherwise, the film is about two love stories, one nipped in the bud and the other one just when it has ripened. The stories of two star-crossed lovers traverse parallel on the banks of River Ganges in Banaras also to find their culmination on the banks of Ganges, but in another town, Allahabad on this river flowing over 2500 km plus across India and Bangladesh.

Richa Chadda is at an age when she is easily attracted to a fellow student at her academy, grows fond of him and agrees to give herself to him. They check into a shady lodge to give vent to their pent up sexual urges when the cops barge in. There is no bar on consensual sex between two adults but not knowing the basic law, carries a high price. Also, there is the fear of losing face. The couple is caught in the act. The boy in this case fears shame and family reprisal, locks himself in the washroom and kills himself. The cop on the spot threatens Richa with abetment to suicide case despite the cause of suicide being the police.

On Richa’s part, it was a natural calling of a girl in her upper teens but the top cop takes to blackmailing her father, Sanjai Mishra: the price tag is Rs 3 lakh. Manikarnika Ghat is known for its Hindu last rites as cremation here sets the soul free of the deceased. Mishra makes a living out of selling accessories needed for the ritual, making about Rs 10,000 a month. The income of the household shrinks further as Richa is forced to leave her job thanks to taunts and jibes from her fellow workers about her deed. Another job and still the same problem. Her reputation precedes her. The whole world runs her down and her father, Mishra, leads the bunch.

Then there is Vicky Kaushal. He belongs to a family, which makes a living out of burning dead bodies on the ghat. It is a family business. Vicky is studying engineering but in his spare time, also helps his folk cremate dead bodies. The work is rather gory and heartless as the ritual says a burning body’s skull needs to be hit hard seven times with a pole to crack it so that the dead person’s soul attains heaven.

Then Kaushal falls in love. The girl, Shweta Tripathi, is an upper cast Gupta, from the Agrawal trader’s family. The love blossoms notwithstanding social taboos despite both sides knowing the barriers. But, finally, before social taboos can interfere, fate does. Kaushal and Shweta are parted.

Richa has accepted an ad hoc job with the railways and soon as her father’s Rs 3 lakh obligation is over, decides to move to Allahabad where she doesn’t expect her taint to follow. Meanwhile, Kaushal gets a job with the railways on probation. He too gets a posting at Allahabad. With empty hearts and heavy minds, both end up, symbolically, at the Allahabad Sangam, accept the mallha’s (boatman) pitch to take a boat ride and get talking. Two of a kind, sort of.

The film has dark sides as well as some bright moments with a satisfactory end. The story is interesting and very earthy depicting a side of India, which is as ancient as it always has been and not likely to change soon so what if they are well versed with laptops and cell phones.

First time director, Neeraj Ghaywan, who is also the writer with Varun Grover, makes sure everything about the scenario is realistic. The musical score is thematic and blends well with the proceedings. Cinematography is excellent.

Such a film needs able performers and, to that end, the casting is perfect. Richa is totally in to her character. Mishra, as usual, lives up to his reputation given a good role. Shweta is perfect playing the pampered girl in love for the first time. Kaushal is a natural. The young boy, playing the help to Mishra, Nikhil Sahni, is promising. Rest are equally good.

Masaan, having made its mark at the Cannes Film Festival with two awards: International Jury of Film Critics prize and Promising Future prize in the Un-Certain Regard section, will appeal to connoisseurs of cinema and its box office prospects will be limited to a few multiplexes and, to some extent, in UP.

Producers: Vikas Bahl, Anurag Kashyap, Guneet Monga, Vikramaditya Motwane, Shaan Vyas, Manish Mundra, Marie-Jeanne Pascal, Mélita Toscan du Plantier

Director: Neeraj Ghaywan

Cast: Richa Chaddha, Vicky Kaushal, Shweta Tripathi, Sanjai Mishra, Nikhil Sahni

Latest Reads
Zee Studio to premiere the post-apocalyptic horror drama - MAGGIE!

Zee Studio, the hollywood movie destination, brings the Indian television premiere of Maggie. Starring multi-award winner Arnold Schwarzenegger and Academy Award-nominee, Abigail Breslin, this post-apocalyptic drama premieres on 10 December 2017, Sunday at 12 noon and 9 pm.

Movies Hollywood
Demonetisation, decline in govt ads impact UFO Q2 numbers

BENGALURU: Indian digital cinema distribution network and in-cinema advertising platform UFO Moviez Ltd (UFO) reported a 12.8 percent year-on-year (y-o-y) decline in consolidated operating revenue for the quarter ended 30 September 2017 (Q2 FY 2017-18) as compared with the corresponding year ago...

Movies Movies On Mutiple Platforms
The modern day economics of film financing

Only 2 per cent of the total movies released in 2016 in the US were computer graphic (CG) animation, yet they grossed more than 21 per cent of the US box office collection. Strong animation brands have longer shelf-life and generate revenue for years.

Movies International
Bengali film Posto to premiere on Hoichoi before satellite TV

NEW DELHI: Digital Bengali entertainment content platform Hoichoi has acquired exclusive digital rights of this year’s most successful Bengali feature film Posto, ensuring it a world digital premiere today before a satellite TV premiere. This will provide Bengali moviemakers a robust additional...

Movies Regional
PVR acquires minority stake in US luxury theatre chain

PVR Ltd (PVR) will acquire a minority stake in US-based luxury restaurant and theatre iPic-Gold Class Entertainment (iPic).

Movies Hindi
Eros reports higher profit margin despite fewer releases

BENGALURU: Sunil Lulla-led Eros International Media Limited (Eros) reported 21 per cent margin (on operating income) for consolidated profit after tax (PAT) for the quarter ended 30 September 2017 (Q2 FY 2017-18) as compared with 12.8 per cent margin for the corresponding quarter a last ago. The...

Movies Hindi
Inox reports increase in revenue, profits for second quarter

BENGALURU: Indian cinema chain Inox Leisure Limited (Inox) has reported improved revenue and net profit after tax (PAT) for the quarter ended 30 September 2017 (Q2-18, current quarter) as compared to the corresponding quarter of the previous year (Q2-17, year ago quarter). Inox revenue from...

Movies Hindi
1700 films received on ending violence against women film contest

NEW DELHI: Around 1700 entries from over 600 colleges have come in response to a campaign launchged earlier this year for two-minute films on generating debate and promote positive change in cultural and social norms around the value of women in India. The campaign ‘#BasAbBahutHogaya – Enough is...

Movies Hindi
Reduce GST on film industry, IMPPA pleads to FM Jaitley

NEW DELHI: The Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association (IMPPA) has urged the government to fix 5 per cent as the maximum GST rate that should be charged on all goods and services connected with the entertainment industry including entertainment tax.

Movies Hindi

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories