'Masaan' finds its place in Benaras- both the literal and figurative. Benaras is a shelter to many people who come to creamate the remains of their dead dear ones. It is said that one who dies in Benaras finds salvation.
And the families of Dom Raja help people finding the salvation. One of the minor characters in the film says, "There are only two kings in Kashi. The Kashi King and the Dom Raja." He was true. Dom Raja is truly the king of Benaras's crematoriums, assisting people in burning the bodies by the flowing water current.
And Deepak is the son of Dom Raja. He chooses to pursue education rather than continue himself in the family profession, much to the dislike of his elder brother. He also loves Shaalu, the friend of a friend's crush. Shaalu, a 10+2 student, loves him too. There's is airy romance. They don't sing and dance, they exchange everyday conversations on their phones on the terrace, they smile at each other's gaze by a boat in the Ganga river.
By these banks also lives Vidhyadhar Pathak, a Hindu priest, an ex-professor of Sanskrit studies in BHU. His daughter Devi is a vocational IT teacher in a cyber center. She chooses to indulge in sexual relations with one of the students Piyush. Police hears. Smashes and thrashes. Piyush commits suicide on the spot, and due to this, the simple life of the educated father and daughter are torn asunder.
'Masaan' tells these two stories, the rhythmic flow of waters coinciding with deaths and emotions. If happiness doesn't seem coming, the sorrow doesn't want to stop. Everything is permanent, but sometimes, you just can't detach. With relatable scenes, the film captures the figure of the illusive lives- of Deepak, of Devi, of Shaalu, of Vidhyadhar.
And these performances truly ring to the audience's heart: Richa Chaddha mesmerizes as Devi, and so does Sanjay Mishra, as Vidhyadhar. Shwta Tripathi is a crisp find as Shaalu. But it is Vicky Kaushal who truly steals the scene as Deepak. He is a true debut, with amazing consistency and depth. He has exactly the same emotions as the film wants him to have.
Neeraj Ghaywan has a young heart which keenly observes metaphors. Even if Varun Grover's deep writing lacks somewhere, he completes it with his own ideas. He gives the true blue love stories- loss in love, or meeting together in the Durga Puja fair.
But the film does come with its downs. The film is satisfying, but Avinash Arun, the cinematographer, captures just the scenes of Benaras and the dazzles don't move you.
Let me report, the film does move you. It shakes you. It makes you weep over the loss. But it, absurdly, makes you smile over the grief. 'Masaan' is the original we want. I'm going with four stars for 'Masaan'. Please watch it.
I Love The Vicky Shweta Part More Than The Richa One.While Richa One Gets Lame At Times, And Even At Start, Vicky Shweta Hits The Chord And Make The Movie Beautiful + Heart Breaking.Neeraj Directed It Very Wisely.It Could Hv Been Better Though
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