Released by the name 'Hotel Salvation' overseas, Mukti Bhawan is one ddelightful example of go with the flow filmmaking.
Director-writer Shubhashish Bhutiani, believe me, has crafted a miraculous story of wonder and excitement, but also with metaphorical ideas and universal messaging. The film captures a captivating father-son relationship. The father, Daya, thanks to a dream, knows that his time is up from the world and wants his son Rajiv to escort him to Benaras, where he will die and attain salvation.
But many, many days and this doesn't happen. The father has even found a companion called Vimla, a 75 year old woman! But he is still reluctant to return. And meanwhile, Rajiv is torn asunder, and confused, whether to be a good son and remain there, or be a good husband and father to return to his home and live as the family man.
This is a rare film which deconstructs marvelously and tells the story in broadest of strokes. The cinematographers Michael McSweeney and David Huwiler pay utmost attention to the film's most textured details. This film is an ultimate entertainer with strong, meaningful depth and a story told with conviction. Added to the glory are the performances of Lalit Behl as Daya and Adil Hussain as Rajiv, both adding their words to the characters. I am going with 3.5 out of 5 for 'Mukti Bhavan'. It's one of the best Hindi films this year.
Mukti Bhawan, as it is originally known, can be seen as a slow-paced look at a man and his attempt at redemption. Much like the film's pace, it takes some time for him to figure out what's up as he moves to near the Ganges with his son (brilliantly played by the talented Adil Hussain) and awaits his death. Shubhashish Bhutiani tries to answer few questions about death and salvation some of which were hard for me to comprehend. Nonetheless, Mukti Bhawan is a decent film that keeps you engaged with its subtle narrative and score but ends at an exclamation mark!