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Four lives intersect along the Ganges: a low caste boy hopelessly in love, a daughter ridden with guilt of a sexual encounter ending in a tragedy, a hapless father with fading morality, and a spirited child yearning for a family, long to escape the moral constructs of a small-town.
Neeraj Ghaywan was assistant director of Anurag Kashyap in Gangs of Wasseypur. He planned the story of Masaan in 2012 and wanted Anurag to produce it. But due to tight schedule, Anurag couldn't but promised Neeraj to produce the film in future. He kept his promise. You could see Phantom film as the co-producer when the film starts. See more »
The Indian Railway appointment letter that Devi supposedly reads is actually a copy of The Indian Railway Servant's Pass Rules (1986) a free and concessional travel privilege for railway employees. See more »
Now we know how long it took for Bollywood to come up with 2015's first best film: 7 months.
One should be prepared to give multiple chills to their spine as he/she goes on about watching and completing this compelling drama consisting of two parallel stories talking about life, love, and death. A young careless daughter (Chadda) of an aging professor (Mishra) from the highly conservative city of Varanasi finds herself committing a mistake while bridging the gap between love and lust, after having fallen for one of her coaching class students, which pushes the father-daughter duo into a horrible mess involving a corrupt policeman and his greedy, two-holed belly. The first five minutes of this story is enough to entice a normal person, and if you are a film fanatic, you'll throw away the popcorn for you want to concentrate.
The second tale, about adolescent love, is as charming as its two main characters. The most valid setting for an interior village in the holy city is perhaps what best describes one of the protagonists here: an Engineering student (Kaushal) who is the hope of a family whose generation-old work background has everything to do with the celebrated, open crematorium (translating to masaan in Hindi) that happens in the banks of the Ganges river in Varanasi. His transition from a sincere student into a bereaving mass of wreck is triggered when a girl (Tripathi) innocently enters his life. They fall in love, and watching this love unfold is a real treat. Sweet pleasure treat.
And if one feels unfinished with these stories, then there is great doses of poignancy to it. It is absolutely heartbreaking to watch the fate of these characters as they embrace dynamic equilibrium in their hopeless lives, just to move forward. The stories as a single entity reek of realism to the fact that such things still happen in this modern world where on one side of the globe people are talking about shifting to Moon or Mars. The whole idea is haunting and let us not go down the anachronism road, not that it is prevalent in the film.
Cast performance is brilliant. The way they act out the well-written characters shows how the makers have paid attention to details and have done good homework about the theme. Mishra, as original as ever in his typecast character, rules the frame whenever he appears. The newcomers also add panache (wrong word, I know) to the screen, especially Tripathi. Music and lyrics are supportive, too.
BOTTOM LINE: With a fantastic conclusion, Masaan is a heart- wrenching tale of people trapped in a conundrum we all call life.
VERDICT: 8 stars out of 10. Highly recommended!
Can be watched with a typical Indian family? YES
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