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Friday, 24 July 2015

Masaan

For the better part of the first half of 2015, a permanent fixture of weekly updates from most sites has been that of Masaan and its success across every available platform in the world.  Needless to say, I was mighty excited to get an opportunity to watch one of the most acclaimed movies in recent times, earlier this week.  Unfortunately, it is probably the hype around the movie that did it in – for me.


If there were any negative articles about Masaan then I have probably missed them.  While the movie didn’t have a shortage of high points – especially with respect to acting – the story and narration failed to impress.  It is therefore, with a tinge of disappointment, that I say – Masaan was an above average movie but I am not sure what the hullabaloo is all about.

Set in the on the Harishchandra Ghaat in Kaashi, Masaan is apparently a synonym of Shmashaan (Cremation Grounds).  It revolves around the stories of Devi Pathak (Richa Chadda) and Deepak Chaudhary (Vicky Kaushal).  The former is the daughter of a pujari at the ghat – Vidyadhar Pathak (Sanjay Mishra).  The latter is the son of a Cremation Ghat Worker and does his bit to help out in the family business.

Devi works at a local computer centre and is in love with one of the students - Piyush.  They decide to explore their sexuality in an hotel – one that charges by the hour.  But their “joy” is short lived as the police barge into their room.  They force Devi to confess on camera (cell phone).  Piyush, however, locks himself up in the bathroom and commits suicide.  The cop – Mishra (Bhagwan Tiwari) goes on to blackmail Devi and her father.

Deepak is a student of civil engineering. He sees Shaalu Gupta (Shweta Tripathi) purely by chance but falls head over heels in no time.  Couple of words are exchanged over further interactions.  Of course a facebook friend request follows and slowly but surely even Shaalu begins to reciprocate.  But Shaalu is an upper caste girl and Deepak cannot really go lower on the caste ladder.

The treatment of both relationships and the performances surrounding them are definitely amongst the best in recent times.  But there are a lot of loose ends left that I thought deserved some explanation.  Neeraj Ghaywan was lucky enough to have a cast that can act out of its skin.  Without them, I am not sure Masaan would have been anything but a movie that qualifies as “art for arts sake”.

Ghaywan also does well to throw in enough humour through especially in the story involving Deepak.  That goes a long way towards keeping the audience engaged for the 109 minute narration.  Not sure if what we saw was with cuts because there are too many loose ends for my comfort.  As such, worth watching for the performances but will take a lot of your patience overall – 7 on 10.

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