Masaan: Impunity From The Shackles Of Society


“Sitaro ko aankhon mein mehfoos rakhna, badi der tak raat hi raat hogi! Musafir hai hum bhi, musafir ho tum bhi; kisi mod pe phir mulakaat hogi”

Masaan, directed by Neeraj Ghaywan, stars the talented Richa Chaddha and newbies Vicky Kaushal and Shweta Tripathi in prominent roles. Premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, Masaan was awarded FIPRESCI, International Jury of Film Critics prize and Promising Future prize in the Un Certain Regard section. However, most people have been busy discussing what actress A wore and compared her look to that of actress B. Cannes, I believe, has been reduced to a fashion runway where what you wear matters much more than what you do. Amidst such bogus and superficial happenings, Masaan getting 2 awards is an indication of its sheer brilliance.

Set in Kashi, on the banks of river Ganga- Masaan (a local colloquial word for shamsaan or crematorium) brings to the audience two different stories that arc together as the movie develops- stories of love, despair, differences, rebellion, freedom, exploration, curiosity.
The first is the story of Devi (Richa Chaddha) who is caught making love with her fellow student Piyush in a hotel room. As the story unfolds, Devi and her family members are blackmailed by Mr. Mishra, the local policeman. He demands a hefty bribe from Vidyadhar Pathak, Devi’s father to not release the video he made of the couple on YouTube. The movie depicts how life changes, and how with every life event an individual changes. Devi’s father, in the course of saving her daughter’s honour, is forced to shed his morals and take to unfair means in life.

The second narrative is a love story of Deepak (Vicky Kaushal) and Shaalu (Shweta Tripathi), who belong to different castes. While Shaalu is an upper-class Gupta girl, Deepak belongs to the untouchable Dom caste. Their love transpires multiple societal and familial conflicts, and the movie traces through all these and more.

All in all, Masaan is a narration of a distinct personnel caught in the frenzy of life. With the backdrop of burning pyres and cremation scenes, Ghaywan has beautifully captured the antiques of human life through his lens. There exists authenticity and creativity in every scene. From “Main hoon paani ke bulbule jaisa; Tujhe sochun to photo jaata hoon” to “Tu kisi rail si guzarti hai; Main pull sa thartharata hoon”; there is a rawness and newness which is not something we see these days. All characters have played their role to the T and the movie is a complete package of good script, great direction, beautiful acting, serene locations, sublime lyrics and a wonderful truth of life!


Bhavna Mehrotra

Image Source: The Viewspaper