Qalandar Reviews MASAAN (Hindi; 2015)


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By the end, Masaan (“Cremation Ground”) was very different from the film I thought I was watching after the first fifteen minutes: the opening sequence, involving a sexual encounter violated and sullied by policemen intent on cruelty and extortion, is one of the most riveting, and nauseating, representations of the police in years (only the sequence in Anurag Kashyap’s Ugly (2014), where the father of a missing girl tries to register a missing person-complaint, comes close). I was filled with loathing, and wanted to hurt someone. That feeling stayed with me – Bhagwan Tiwari as Inspector Mishra has an important and continuing role over the course of the film – but Masaan turned out to be about something other than misogyny or the workings of a corrupt and oppressive state machine. What that something is I’m not quite sure, but in its moodiness, its air of mystery, its poetry, I am confident Masaan heralds the arrival of an exciting, reflective new directorial talent in Neeraj Ghaywan. To the extent Vikramaditya Motwane’s Udaan (2010) may be said to have spawned successors, Masaan is among the worthies.

[SPOILER WARNING!]

At one level, the film is a coming-of-age story, a genre that relies on assumptions that the protagonists will be typical in some way (the Lover; the Student; the Prince; even with Portrait of The Artist as a Young Man, a category – the Artist – is immediately and explicitly invoked). But Masaan, like Udaan, wraps the bildungsroman into a narrative of exception: Deepak (Vicky Kaushal) seems like a typical Polytechnic student in Varanasi, until you appreciate that he is from the Dom caste, traditionally associated with cremating dead bodies on the Varanasi ghats – as caste hierarchies go, it’s hard to think of anyone lower down the totem pole. But Deepak’s father has ensured an education for him, one that estranges him from the family’s traditional profession (the estrangement personified by his sullen brother Sikandar, who hasn’t been able to do what Deepak has done) – it’s not an impossible story, merely a remarkable one. Devi Pathak (Richa Chadda), the young Brahmin woman who, along with her father, is ensnared by the police in a manufactured sex scandal and resulting extortion, is remarkable for her inner strength and poise: her conviction that she has done nothing wrong seems unshakeable, not only in the face of sexual predators who want to sleep with her because, well, she’s done it once before with someone else, but also in private, before her father.

A story about the coming of age of two people who are self-consciously atypical is not a problem per se (Ghaywan and writer Varun Grover are surely entitled to tell any tale of their choosing), but does raise wider questions of meaning. That the stakes are higher than those involved in the story of two remarkable young people is not in doubt, given the metaphysics of death and re-birth self-consciously deployed by the film. And there is Varanasi itself, loaded with meaning (and its ghats wonderfully shot by cinematographer Avinash Arun), sought by both the pilgrims and tourists who visit (the former are obligated to go in some sense, out of religious duty, but even the latter – of whom I was one for five memorable days in 2009 at a small guesthouse near the Kashi Vishwanath temple – are convinced that they are visiting a special place, one like no other: the city’s proximity to death has by now become a cliché, although no less true for it).

Perhaps that is the place to begin: is the cremation ground of the film’s title Harishchandra Ghat, where Deepak’s family lives and where it plies its trade? It might be the city itself, where dying can sometimes seem easier than living (recall the opening sequence, at the end of which Piyush kills himself; Devi is stronger, and it’s clear that option has never occurred to her). The parallels between the two leads might offer some clues: the fathers of both, albeit at opposite ends of the caste spectrum, make their living from death and the rituals associated with it, on the banks of the Ganges (Devi’s father is a pandit and former professor of Sanskrit who now advises people on post-death rituals; Deepak’s family cremates corpses); both Devi and Deepak have had lovers from Bania backgrounds (Aggarwal for her; Gupta for him); both work for Indian Railways at some point (indeed the rail as metaphor for arrivals and departures is a recurring motif in the film); both are born into families at the end of a long tradition, but one that doesn’t sustain them any longer, and is instead something to get away from, its weight felt like that of a carcass. On this reading the Masaan of the film’s title might be the milieu itself: life, if it is to be, must be elsewhere.

Away from the two leads, Masaan gets plenty other things right: a host of other characters populate the film, and just about every one – ranging from Deepak’s friends to the man who baldly and offensively propositions Devi to Deepak’s lover Shaalu to the foul-mouthed boy Jhonta who works with Devi’s father, to Piyush’s mother, and the two leads’ fathers– is well-etched and aptly cast. They seem like people who might be real, and are very far from types. Deepak’s friends are a case in point: in most other films (especially multiplex films, where middle-class men have increasingly been stereotyped as little better than swine – the charming Queen offers a great example in Raj Kumar Rao’s character, who is not just awful but awful in a way that suggests he is meant to stand in for a whole class of Indian male) they might be stereotypical louts or lechers; here they are awkward but well-meaning, and surprise us with their sensitivity. (Don’t get me wrong, Masaan isn’t short of assholes, it’s just that the film represents many more hues than one.) Nor is the caste angle one-dimensional, with privileged upper-castes on the one hand and the Doms on the other: the latter’s lot is grim, but in Devi’s father and his pathetic feebleness before Inspector Mishra, we also encounter how wretched upper-caste poverty can be as well (indeed at one point Vidyadhar Pathak naively mumbles that he thought he could rely on the Inspector’s sympathy – “Mishra” is also a Brahmin last name – only to be met with derision). No position atop the Hindu caste hierarchy will save the Pathaks: only money will.

Vicky Kaushal makes the role of Deepak his own, in a winning performance that brought more than one smile to my face: his shyness is irresistible, and his wooing of Shaalu more disarmingly natural than any number of representations of boys from the “Hindi heartland” over the last decade (compare this to Vivek Oberoi crooning Lionel Richie songs in Omkara and you’ll appreciate what a condescending representation is all about). But the most arresting acting in the film comes from Richa Chadda, who uses inscrutability as both woman’s shield and weapon in this film: her tightly impassive face conveys in precisely the proportion that it conceals (indeed, one might even criticize the film for making too much of this: Devi’s motivations are all but opaque, not only to her father but also to us, and perhaps even to the director), and compels attention. Not to mention that she is insanely hot; the combination means great screen presence (oddly enough not showcased as well in Gangs of Wasseypur as it is here, or in her superb turn in Fukrey or even in a blink-and-miss role in the Indian TV version of 24) that anchors Masaan. Someone get the lady more roles!

Masaan only features three tracks, but each is memorable: Indian Ocean’s soulful music works very well here, not least because each song serves primarily as vehicle for very fresh lyrics. Varun Grover’s adaptation of Dushyant Kumar’s poem is unforgettable and jarring – I don’t think I’ve gotten over these most odd of romantic lyrics, in “Tu kisi rail si guzartee hai / Mein kisi pul sa thartharaata hoon”; Grover does even better with the simple “Mann kasturi re / Jag dastoori re / Baat hui na pooree re”, and Sanjeev Sharma’s lyrics in “Bhor” are also very good. Perhaps what I enjoyed was also the feeling that here were writers who like the rhythms of spoken Hindi in Eastern U.P., who are able to make poetry from a very popular and unpretentious idiom (another quality that links Masaan to Udaan).

In Masaan, leaving is no clean break (and not just because, as Devi’s Railways colleague Sadhya (Pankaj Tripathi) tells her, 26 trains stop at Benares, but 64 don’t, showing that it is easy to get to the city, but hard to leave): the Ganges is the site not just of death but of rebirth, and the films closing sequences make that explicit: Devi and Deepak achieve some kind of closure by casting the last physical objects tying them to their dead lovers into the water, and then meet each other and embark on a journey that signifies a beginning on the same river. (The connection has already been foreshadowed: the ring Deepak casts away, then tries to find but cannot, ends up, unknown to Devi, playing a crucial role in her liberation.) Kashi must be fled, but only with what Kashi gave you, with traces of what Kashi took away.

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77 Responses to “Qalandar Reviews MASAAN (Hindi; 2015)”

  1. Q: I haven’t seen the film yet, but what an outstanding piece this is. Might be the single best piece I have read of yours. And the last line is so haunting. Thank you.

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  2. I am also very glad that you have highlighted Varun Grover’s lyrics (the lyrics of Man Kasturi Re are one for the ages). My favourite bit is “Bikhre bikhre chhand sa tehle, Dohon mein ye bandh na paave. Naache hoke firki lattu, Khoje apni dhuri re.” And I am not sure when was the last time the word “phituri” was heard in a song. Incidentally Grover also wrote another beautiful song in Dum Laga Ke Haisha- “Yeh Moh-Moh Ke Dhaage”.

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  3. Wow, you’re on a roll. I will read this piece later but I hope you will complete this current run with a blockbuster on Bahubali!

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    • Thanks — that is the plan, although the fact that the work week is beginning complicates this 🙂 but it would be a crime not to write on Baahubali…

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    • My wife and I saw three films this weekend — and honestly, every one of those should be seen at least a second time on the big screen!

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    • @ Satyam And i wish if you can take some time out to savour the grandness of Bahubali on big screen and then return here to give your insights, it would be icing on the cake along with these very profound pieces written by Qalandar. Hoping against the hope!!

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  4. Have just seen the promo–for all the acclaim, is a quality product
    But when u see the central premise based on a university woman’s ‘curiosity’ about porn films and her unrepentant urge for sexual adventurism, there’s something about the milieu that’s
    Disjointed

    By forging an indo-french coproduction, access to Cannes can be facilitated. But assistants of real indie film makers (like kashyap) need to do more than show promise & random occasional brilliance …

    “Devi and Deepak achieve some kind of closure by casting the last physical objects tying them to their dead lovers into the water”

    Seems this film is about overcoming loss & guilt
    But to underline the Benares connection, the protagonists canNOT BURY (even the past)
    It has to be BURNT (& then cast into the Ganges)…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Re: “But when u see the central premise based on a university woman’s ‘curiosity’ about porn films and her unrepentant urge for sexual adventurism, there’s something about the milieu that’s
      Disjointed”

      Dude, that isn’t what the film is about at all!

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    • omrocky786 Says:

      Well said Apex !!
      These writers – Rojee Rotee bhee “ussee” kee khayengey aure “useee” kee Bajayengey bhee !! This is also what sells abroad too.
      That is what FTIII and similar setups does to these people !!
      “Useee”- Ganga, Sanskriti, Tehzeeb, Banaras, Haridwar !!
      P.S.- Not seen the filum and no intention of watching it— It is one more addition to my Do NOT watch list !! LOL

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      • omrocky786 Says:

        Also the writer of this film, attacked Gajendra Chauhan not on merits but that his face looks like a Pakora – Really ??
        Aap toh shutUp hee ho jaiyey !! sab miley hue hain !!

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        • Really?! That’s quite outrageous — do you have a link for this?

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          • Yhea…I also read that “pakora” and was thinking what-the-

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          • omrocky786 Says:

            वरुण ‎@varungrover

            Ganjendra Chauhan (Yudhishthir) not only has no cred to head FTII, he was also the WORST in a cast of more than 500. Aaloo-bonda look-alike.

            11:37 PM – 9 Jun 2015

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          • Man that’s a low blow…

            Liked by 1 person

          • omrocky786 Says:

            Also at a time when India is fighting against the Pak terror in Gurdaspur- this is what Grover’s boss tweets-

            CilemaSnob is now ‏@NotSoSnob · 2h2 hours ago
            So 56 inch didn’t scare anyone? And that big mission that India had recently that also didn’t scare anyone? Baatein hain sab bus.

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          • It’s hardly the time for anyone to be playing partisan politics…Barkha Dutt did a good job calling out that youth congress chap as well…

            Liked by 1 person

      • Omy, bahubali is sanghi(rss) per pseudos and Masaan is aap (kejri endorsed it). My-my…politicisation of movies 😉

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        • omrocky786 Says:

          Read this too-
          Next up was Varun Grover. I follow Varun Grover on Twitter and I am aware of his Political Stance. And as expected, he devoted 50% of his time to jokes on Narendra Modi. Of course there were no jokes on Rahul Gandhi or Kejriwal. To be fair, his jokes were on very valid topics, like Modi’s monogrammed suit and how it was a fashion disaster and how ridiculous the stories in the Bal Narendra comics were. But what irked me were the blatant lies he put through his jokes.
          http://www.opindia.com/2015/03/stand-up-comedy-and-the-art-of-political-propaganda-a-true-story/

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        • Oh man, Bahubali is classic masala-meets-Rajamouli’s cinema, nothing Sanghi about this! It’s just a captivating experience…

          Liked by 1 person

          • omrocky786 Says:

            I kind of liked ( and agreed with ) Shobha De’s review of bahubali….

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          • Yes I think it was spot on. The complaint about sexism is so hypocritical: not that it is NOT sexist but multiplex sexism kisee ko nahin dikhta! The relevant scene in Baahubali was no worse than an analogous one in Kuch Kuch Hota Hai or the sorts of nonsense we saw in YJHD and ZNMD — oh and by the way, Baahubali ALSO featured very strong portrayals of women (Ramya; Tamannah herself turns the tables in her intro scene by showing Prabhas she needs no rescuing) whereas in those other films there was no countervailing portrayal of feminine strength…

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          • omrocky786 Says:

            LOL Great comment about YJHD and KKHH.
            I did not like Tamanna at all in Himmatwala, but in this movie she was just Hot irrespective of what she was wearing.
            She reminded me of Divya Bharti ..

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          • Tamannah made me eat my words: I still don’t like her when she is all dolled up (I think she looks very unattractive even in her intro song) but looked so good as the guerrilla warrior

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          • All this discussion on Tamannah and hotness is begging for Baahubali review!

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          • In progress bhaiya… Magar weekend aur weekdays mein kuch to faraq hoga in terms of my ability to churn these out 🙂

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          • ” nothing Sanghi about this! It’s just a captivating experience…”
            Phew. Glad for that Q. Batman was far more politcal movie or even Bajrangi for that matter (though haven’t seen Bajrang but with Pakistan in frame, it must be, at least backdrop wise). Anyhow I loved the women characters in Bahubali.
            Even though everything was ‘normal’ or as expected (stereotype), the treatment felt new (e.g. mother with arrow in the back in the opening scene and than swimming with baby sticking out from her hand and pointing towards the mountain before dying or all the romance scenes bet. tamanna and shivudu, where tattoes match and all). I for one couldn’t take my eyes of Sivagami. Why can’t our cinema take on ‘real’ indian looking female leads (O why Oh why do they have to be gori or light eyed ones while the male character can be 100% south indian with mouche and all that body hair). While I agree with Dey’s review (especially I also felt same about Katthapa) but her review is pedestrian.

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          • The movie is not simple as it seems..It has bunch of Mahabharat references (I read some of it elsewhere)….Starting with crossing river and brought up by low caste (Yashoda, Krishna birth)…Or Kattappa(Bhism Pitamah..both great fighter but on wrong side) or Bijjaladeva(Dhritarashtra ..with disability)..

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          • the urgent and constant need of the hour in the present is to separate this entire rich, extremely complex heritage and which (keeping the present context in mind) received such rich expression in an older masala cinema and still often does in the South (only rarely in Hindi today) from the right-wing usurpation of the same to portray a completely chauvinistic, claustrophobic, exclusive, militant and for all these reasons ultimately dangerous sense of the very same. To argue otherwise is not san ‘opinion’, it’s a political ideology. Unfortunately an all too common one that has rather successfully usurped the debate in many religious and national contexts. Sadly this virus is now fully entrenched in India as well. In any case the reason I respond forcefully to your comment is that these were the sorts of references that were quite often available in Hindi cinema once. Today they’ve acquired a certain color precisely because they are being read ‘stupidly’ (towards the same political ends). Once again that ‘normative’ sense has to be rescued. And the amusing thing is that those who politicize things at the drop of a hat pretend that it is only the other side doing this.

            Of course it’s also a question of personal responsibility. If one wants to engage with the Mahabharata (or something else in the same sense) one should actually do so. If one wants cartoon versions one is welcome to them but I’d suggest Tom and Jerry. It is precisely because our sense of tradition relies too much on the ‘folkloric’ that it can be co-opted by a different sort of ‘myth’. Put differently in less problematic times there’s no issue. But when things get tough people just succumb to this co-optation because they literally do not know better. And even the ones who don’t go along quite often don’t have the resources to argue one way or the other. And we are seeing evidence of this same weakness around the globe today in many contexts.

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          • Having seen the movie, I don’t think there is anything like you are suggesting. If you have to compare any movie of past, it is more like Dharamveer setup.

            “from the right-wing usurpation of the same to portray a completely chauvinistic, claustrophobic, exclusive, militant and for all these reasons ultimately dangerous sense of the very same.”
            Could you please some examples of movies? I think most of films in Bollywood are either neutral or left wing oriented.
            FTII protests is symptom (left wing entrenched in Indian cinema world) of that where right wing wants to impose but left wing is opposing it!

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          • I wasn’t saying Bahubali was like that but Di’s statement is revealing all the same. Leaving this aside I might have a larger issue with this genre (as I’ve elaborated in my longer comment where I used examples from Chinese cinema as well).

            On the rest I didn’t say Bollywood was right-wing though it’s certainly more to the right in all of its genres than it was say in the 70s. With some exceptions here and there. I’d of course agree with the point that generally it has been more to the left as a historical matter. But that’s not really the case today. It’s socially still liberal but not always in other matters (Singham for example was much more to the Right than the original ever was, all the ‘national security’ films also take place on the same terrain, other genres also quite often peddle a conservative view in many matters). But one must also avoid a false equivalence here. Hollywood for example is often attacked by the Right here for being on the Left and this is of course true. But let’s say I’d rather not have an industry where the Republican view of the world was represented more often! Exactly the same in India.

            It seems to me that we often make the mistake of assuming that all political biases are the same and it’s all in the eye of the beholder. First off the assumption here is that there can be some position of neutrality where none is possible. And as importantly one shouldn’t equate everything. This is like the stuff we see in the US media sometimes where Obama is placed in one corner of the ring and the Tea Party in the other (or even other crazy mainstream Republican elements). I would never be sympathetic to the Republicans anyway but it is possible to have that sort of debate. Just not with the present crowd. So you can’t have mainstream Left on the one hand and ‘crazy-Right’ on the other and say it’s a question of perspective. But this is the equation that often holds in many countries. You don’t really have crazy Lefties anymore the way you once did. Today the Right just paints the mainstream Left as crazy and people fall into this trap.

            the FTII example is a symptom of this, true, but in a different sense. You more or less have a joker who’s been put in charge. The BJP has every right to install people sympathetic to its ideology (the Congress of course did this too) but surely they can find someone more competent than the present gentleman! Who’d object if they nominated Anupam Kher or someone like him. In the past too they’ve had their nominations and no one objected. The problem precisely is appointing hacks or the worst kinds of mediocrities in these positions and then pretending people are going after them for no reason. it’s like the Left appointing a Harvard guy as chairperson of a national educational institution or historical forum or whatever and the Right calling up someone from Bob Jones University. Yes the Harvard guy might be a liberal but in what universe could there be an equivalence between those two academic credentials?

            finally I was commenting on the larger temper of the times and not referring only to cinema. If anything I was agreeing with you. That even though you see it as a kind of Dharam-Veer the Right is quite likely to give it a different gloss. Because these days it’s very hard to represent the past without not getting it co-opted by the Right in some form or fashion.

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          • ” this entire rich, extremely complex heritage and which ….. from the right-wing usurpation of the same to portray a completely chauvinistic,…”
            It is the fertile mind of media and pseudo intellectuals. At least , Kejriwal endorsed Massaan (called it a “must see”). The “right” wing did not such thing for BB.
            @munna: http://www.rajrathore.com/historical-references-behind-baahubali-the-beginning/

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          • “The “right” wing did not such thing for BB.”

            you give yourself away when you say that! This means you consider bahubali as minimally susceptible to that worldview! Put differently Kejrival would never have a shootout for BB and you would never have one for Masaan in the same ideological sense. I’m not suggesting that films should be reduced to these categories nor does my own statement above have anything to do with the pronouncements of politicians on one film or the other. It’s about addressing a larger cultural and educational illiteracy in various bourgeois classes which then makes them prey to certain stories about the past. Not only in India even if every such extremist feels things are completely ‘normal’ within his or her group but screams extremism when it’s about other nations or cultures.

            And to repeat I’m not saying BB or Masaan should be read through those prisms. Just that your statement is every bit as revealing as Kejrival’s. And to be honest this has always been one of my concerns with Bahubali even if I accept Qalandar’s comment that this cannot be reduced to that sort of film. To add to that older comment I wasn’t necessarily doubting Rajamouli’s politics but his aesthetics perhaps have something in common with those other traditions that I’m also wary about.

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          • omrocky786 Says:

            Re. Munna’s this question to Satyam- Could you please some examples of movies? I think most of films in Bollywood are either neutral or left wing oriented.
            The answer provided is a classic pole dance by Satyam, Mujhey toh kuch samajh nahee aaya.
            Knowing Munna’s history , you can not challenge his credentials so change the goal post !! LOL!

            Aside – the following sums up the Libatards- ( Sagrika called him Bomb Dady, and someone called him Not Muslim enough )-

            Rahul Roushan ‏@rahulroushan · Jul 28
            They hate & insult even Kalam coz he didn’t fit in their ideological frame. And some people think the problem is “merit”. #GajendraChauhan

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  5. Plz read the above line on BURYING the past
    versus
    BURNING it
    (in Benares …)

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  6. Just discovered this blog via Saurabh and am amazed at the way you have read the film. Such a detailed piece on the motivations and motifs of the film! Overwhelmed.

    Like all great readings this one tells me things about the film I didn’t know existed or can be interpreted in this way (even after writing the film.) Like that motif of trains going so well with the life/death theme. Or the portrayal of friends being non-streotypical.

    And that last line sums it up better than i have been able to yet.

    Thanks.

    (P.S. – Are you on twitter?)

    Liked by 2 people

    • Yes my Twitter handle is @umuhajir (I’ve tweeted the review there as well)…

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    • Thanks — coming from the film’s writer this really means something! You are very kind… Congratulations are in order, both for the fact that you guys have made a really good film, and because it seems to be getting recognized and acknowledged as such too.

      I’m not that active on twitter — coincidentally, @MasaanTheFilm had invited me for the film’s special screening on 19th July at PVR Juhu, but I didn’t see the tweet until a week later 😦

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  7. “What that something is I’m not quite sure, but in its moodiness, its air of mystery”
    This sums up the movie for me. Like the writer of the movie, I got more insights into the movie reading your review than the director intended overtly.

    ps – Jhonta – is another word for hair. I think for messy hair.

    ps1 – You found Richa hot watching movie with better half!!!

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  8. This is not a disparagement of either Q’s or Saurabh’s take on this movie but the whole pre and post release of M drama feels like that of Ship Of Theseus. All over again, and so soon. And that movie got a lot more ++ than what it simply was.

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    • Arthi: I don’t necessarily disagree. However, and atleast in my view, Masaan is far more deserving of the praise that SoT, not the least because the film bagged an important award at Cannes. That’s hardly a small achievement. Only one Indian film before has achieved this feat I think (Neecha Nagar). The other thing is I think the hype surrounding SoT was far more than that of Masaan with people calling it “radical cinema” and that “it’s a new form of cinema” etc, etc.

      BTW I think you mentioned it sometime back here, but I quite enjoyed “A Hard Day”. Also liked “Confessions/Good Friends” quite a bit. But the Korean thriller which has impressed me the most from the last two years is “Haemoo”. Haven’t seen “Broken” yet.

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      • Frankly, I don’t hold a Cannes win as a valuable criterion. The movie gets more eyeballs in its domestic market, yes, but I’d be rather naive to follow up because it made a presence there. Cannes, has a particular want to see a film from , say, Asia, in a way which I may not necessarily subscribe to, which may not be accurate in certain ways.
        I’ll be watching Masaan. Just that, more glowering reports I come across, the more distant it gets 🙂

        Yes, A Hard Day. The thing is, Korean films get so creative with violence and vengeance that a little bit of mis-casting puts me off. Interest plummets. Isn’t Haemoo based on some incident that has happened before? Not keen for a fictionalized gory take. I liked Broken. Teens can be brutal and Broken quite smoothly works its way into that world.

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  9. Good to see this comments from Farhan Akhtar!

    ******************************************************************
    Offbeat, dark and independent cinema has evolved and is gradually getting acceptance in the Hindi film industry, but for actor-filmmaker Farhan Akhtar, cinema is not “light or dark”, but is predominantly about a good story, fresh characters and new cultures.

    “I don’t think of cinema as dark or light. For me, the story should be good and that we should get something new to see, a new culture and fresh characters. Being based on reality as far as possible is always appreciated,” Farhan said.

    Stunned by “Masaan”, Farhan raved about the film and called it “a work of art”.

    “It’s an amazing film. Truly, it is a work of art. My congratulations to the director Neeraj (Ghaywan), to the entire cast, to everybody who has worked on this film from the bottom of my heart. Being a part of the fraternity of filmmakers, you feel really proud of a film like this. And whoever hasn’t watched the film till now, I recommend them to please go and watch the film.”

    “Welcoming a new breed of talent now with this wonderful person called Neeraj Ghaywan who is joining the ranks of some very talented filmmakers. I feel very proud to be a part of such a time of making movies,” he added.

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  10. Just back from the film and read the review only now. This review mirrors the film so accurately, capturing all its detrails and all its poetry, that I can say in all honesty that I love it as much as the film. Long back I saw a film called 27 Down by Avtar Kaul, and loved it so much that when I launhed a film portal called ‘ Just Films’ with a couple of friends, we codenamed it 27 Down before going public with the offcial name. That film had a lot in commmon with thisone – trains, small town India, love and loss, phiosophical epihanies anda great performance by the female protagonist ( Rakhee). And yes, I stringly belive that this film deserves all the pre-and post-release buzz it si getting, just as Ship of Theseus did. I loved that film, totally.

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  11. Btw how ‘realistic’ and common is it for young females in rustic /small town india consuming porn for ‘curiosity’ or other purposes?

    Violence in the hinterland aka GoW is not an anomaly
    Sardar khans and faisals DO exist

    But Richa chaddhas characters appetite for internet porn ?
    Is this common on the ground level
    Perhaps those with experience may opine

    Pr rather Varun Grover can enlighten us where (or from whom) the ‘inspiration’ for this came from (if not for titilation or sensationalising value?)

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    • Apex: there are a number of assumptions there; what is your basis for thinking that the Sardars are more “common” than the Devis? Only because they are in the papers more? Well, reactions like yours might be one reason the Devis like to keep to themselves! Second, it is OUR insistence to see her as a “small town girl”; in a sense she is only herself, and as such it doesn’t matter how many women do this, only that she does…

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  12. To be honest: I don’t care a damn about ‘Masaan’ in this aspect

    What’s the incidence and prevalence of porn consumption amongst girls ands women in general –internet or print versions…

    (Any anecdotal impressions or evidence will ALSO do…)

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    • Given the culture at large, it’s unlikely that women who did consume porn would go around shouting it from the rooftops — but my wife tells me that out of curiosity she knew a lot of girls who did this in her college…

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  13. “and his wooing of Shaalu more disarmingly natural than any number of representations of boys from the “Hindi heartland” over the last decade”-

    I think the other fine instance of small town romance and wooing is “Haasil”.

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  14. well written. The last line is like……. I don’t have words to express. Have lived in Varanasi for 10 years, You nail it with that last line. So, painfully and pleasantly true 🙂

    Like

  15. Saw Masan on Netflix .
    Q – your review is brilliant.Sanjay Mishra kee vedna is so real and touching !!

    Aside- The movie Mirzya is begging for your Masan like review !!
    Likh hee do ab !!!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I believe Rangoon will also be in the same category as Sawaryia, Mirzya, Hazaron Khawshiyen aisee, Kalyug, Junoon etc.

    Liked by 1 person

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