When you walk into a theatre to watch a Bollywood movie, you would have either watched the promos or loved the music. In other words, you have a relative idea as to what to expect out of a film. However, Neeraj Ghaywan’s Masaan is one film that most would be absolutely clueless about. But as the closing credits roll, it’s a film that will not just entertain you, but leave you awestruck.
Story: ‘Masaan’ traces the story of two parallel people set in present day Benaras (Varanasi), Devi Pathak (Richa Chadha) and Deepak (Vicky Kaushal).
The film opens with a sexual encounter gone wrong between Devi (Richa Chadda) and her student, Piyush, in a dingy hotel room. Minutes later, the police barge in, and forcefully take her confession on tape. Piyush commits suicide out of fear and Devi and her father Vidyadhar Pathak (Sanjay Mishra) are subjected to bow down to the police, and cough up a heavy sum as settlement money.
The second story is about Vicky Kaushal as Deepak Choudhary, who belongs to the Dom community which cremates the dead. ‘Masaan’ the film derives its title from here as ‘Masaan’ means Crematorium. In a random encounter, he meets an upper-cast-girl Shaalu Gupta (Shweta Tripathi), and dreams of the day when he can have his lived-happily-ever-after story. Their romance is cute, filmy and heroic. Their difference in castes bothers them, but they vow to fight it as soon as Vicky will bag an engineering job.
Review: The love story between Vicky and Shaalu is filled with shades of Facebook romance, ghazals, shayaris and bike rides. Here balloons are used to depict love and acceptance. The scene where the young boy (Jhonta) dives into the river to search for coins is one of the best scenes of the film. The climax is unpredictable, it makes you leave the theatre with a smile on face and a ray of hope. Masaan is a film that has captured the beauty of Benaras. Credit to the director of photography Avinash Arun, as his cinematography adds life into the film and the much-needed soul into the storytelling.
The music by Indian Ocean is apt and all the songs go well with the narrative. The best song of the lot is ‘Mann Kasturi’. Special mention to Varun Grower for his dialogues.
Acting: On debut, Vicky Kaushal delivers a performance that will live-on even after the film is over. He stays true to the character of Deepak Choudhary and it becomes almost impossible to imagine that he is actually a Mumbaiite. Watch him in the scene when he breaks down after losing what he loved the most. He is definitely a talent to watch out for in the future.
Shweta Tripathy is loveable and adds the required quirk and freshness to her character. She and Vicky make a great pair and share excellent on-screen chemistry.
Sanjay Mishra impresses and proves yet again that he is one of the finest actors in the industry today. His scenes with the young boy (Jhonta) is truly enjoyable. Richa Chadda is the most recognisable face in the film, but when it comes to performance she is side-lined by the newer actors.
Overall, there are some films that stay with you long after you leave the cinema hall and ‘Masaan’ is one such film. One of India’s greatest directors, Rajkumar Hirani, said “There are films that do well at the box office, but are forgotten the next day. But this film (Masaan) will stay inside us for many years as a good film”
If it’s playing at a theatre nearby, ‘Masaan’ is a film that shouldn’t be missed.Rating: