Directed by Neeraj Ghaywan
Music by Indian Ocean
Director Neeraj Ghaywan
80% Rotten Tomatoes
Written by Varun Grover
Cinematography Avinash Arun Dhaware
|Produced by Drishyam FilmsPhantom FilmsMacassar ProductionsSikhya Entertainment|
Starring Richa ChaddaVicky KaushalSanjay MishraShweta Tripathi
Awards Filmfare Award for Best Debut Director
Screenplay Neeraj Ghaywan, Varun Grover
Cast Richa Chadda, Vicky Kaushal, Shweta Tripathi, Sanjay Misra, Pankaj Tripathi
Similar Mardaani, The Dirty Picture, Talaash: The Answer Lies Within
Masaan (Crematorium) is a 2015 Indian Hindi-language drama film directed by Neeraj Ghaywan. The directorial debut film is an Indo-French co-production produced by Drishyam Films, Macassar Productions, Phantom Films, Sikhya Entertainment, Arte France Cinema and Pathé Productions. It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival winning two awards. Ghaywan previously assisted Anurag Kashyap on Gangs Of Wasseypur.
Set in present-day Varanasi, the plot of Masaan follows two seemingly separate stories that converge eventually.
The first of these tells the story of Devi. The film opens with her and her fellow student, Piyush, checking into a hotel room. They are interrupted during sex when the police bursts in, after being tipped off youngsters indulging in “indecent behaviour”. As the inspector records the barely clad Devi on his mobile phone, the boy Piyush, who also is barely clothed locks himself in the bathroom and commits suicide. Devi and her family are subjected to blackmail by the police, particularly by Inspector Mishra, who demands a hefty bribe of three lakhs from Vidyadhar Pathak, Devi’s father to hush up the matter. While he struggles to fulfill the demand, she switches jobs due to the 'stigma' associated. She eventually gets a government job in the railways in Varanasi. News regarding her pre-marital sexual indulgence reaches there, marred by the supposedly parochial mindset of people, she leaves Varanasi and joins a course in Allahabad.
The second narrative concerns Deepak, a boy (also from Varanasi) from the Dom community (a low-caste of corpse burners) whose family works in cremation ghat by burning funeral pyres. Deepak wants to transcend the restrictions of his caste. He studies Civil Engineering at a polytechnic college where he meets and falls in love with Shaalu, an upper-caste girl. They start meeting each other and during a trip to Allahabad at the banks of Ganga, Shaalu falls for Deepak and accepts his proposal. Back in Varanasi, Deepak tells her about his caste and the work he does of burning corpses. Shaalu remains firm and tells him that she will be with him even if her parents refuse. She asks him to focus on his placements and get a job, while she reaffirms her commitment to him.
However, unfortunately, during a pilgrimage trip along with her family, she dies in a ghastly bus accident. Her body with some other victims ends up at the same cremation ground. Deepak is shattered on seeing her dead body and loses all purpose in his life for a while. But eventually comes to cope with the support of his friends. He also gets an engineer's job in railways landing up in Allahabad.
The film reaches its climax as Devi comes to the bank of Ganga to immerse the gift Piyush had given to her on the fateful day in the hotel. Deepak notices her crying and offers her water to drink. A boatman beckons offering them a ride towards Sangam. They board the boat striking a conversation. Devi tells Deepak that this is her first time she is going towards Sangam. Deepak tells her he has been there earlier once and adds that there is a belief one should visit the Sangam at least twice, once alone and once in someone's company. With that, the film ends.
The songs were composed by Indian Ocean. The album received positive response from critics.
One of the songs ("Tu Kisi Rail Si") is based on the work of the poet Dushyant Kumar.
Masaan received overwhelming critical acclaim from the mainstream media. Calling it "a very engaging debut" by Neeraj Ghaywan, Allan Hunter in Screen Daily wrote, "Vicky Kaushal brings a gauche charm to Deepak and Richa Chadda invests the long suffering Devi with a weary, unwavering determination to move forward. Cinematographer Avinash Arun Dhaware captures some fantastic images of Banares that convey the bustling spirit of the city from the brightly lit street markets to the flurry of sparks that dot the night sky from the funeral pyres." Deborah Young writing in The Hollywood Reporter described the film as "a classically poignant drama of star-crossed love" and "part of the new generation of indie films whose clear intent is to set ablaze a hidebound society’s constrictions on personal liberty." Jay Weissberg in his review for the Variety magazine, however, found it "a heartfelt yet overambitious tale of class and gender inequality" with the director failing to find "ways to overcome script and editing weaknesses, resulting in a disappointing drama."
Senior journalist Shekhar Gupta wrote in his National Interest column that Masaan left a deep impression on him, "get[ting] the pulse of small-town India as no other I have seen." The director has woven Ganga intimately into Varun Grover’s tight screenplay, Gayatri Gauri wrote in First Post adding "Several crucial moments swirl around the Ganga, beautifully shot without succumbing to visual exotica, and after you leave the cinema, they linger in your memory, like the flames dying slowly in the cremation grounds where so much of Masaan unfurls."
Shubra Gupta wrote in The Indian Express, "Masaan is imbued with a sense of place and time, poetry and lyricism, and it captures the essence of Banaras, constant-yet-changeable, with felicity and feeling. It also announces the arrival of new talents in its writer and director: Grover’s story is eminently worth telling, and Ghaywan tells it beautifully." "Ghaywan, in his very first film, creates a deeply affecting world that devastates and uplifts at the same time, and that becomes a part of your world long after the film is over," wrote Nikhil Taneja reviewing the film for The Huffington Post.
At the Cannes Film Festival the film won the FIPRESCI Prize in the Un Certain Regard section and a 'Promising Future' prize (Prix de l'avenir) for debut films. And at All Lights India International Film Festival Kochi, the film won Golden Frame Award for Best Feature Film.
1Tu Kisi Rail SiSwanand Kirkire3:51
2Man KasturiAmit Kilam7:18
3BhorAmit Kilam - Rahul Ram and Himanshu Joshi7:05