Masaan (2015)

India Reliance Entertainment Blu-ray

Text below written 2016-04-14

A India-France (Pathé) production and a much hailed drama about love and the hardships of life shown at the
Cannes Festival and prize awarded. The Story with 2 parallell lines plays out against a visually VERY dramatic
background with some unforgettable visuals - the burning Ghats, the funeral pyres in Varanasi (Benares) at the
river Ganges. The stories do connect at the end though in a maybe a bit forced feel good ending.
Besides the SENSATIONAL visuals from cinematographer Avinash Arun, with Varanasi images i will never
forget, the actress Richa Chadha is haunting in her low key and enigmatic performance. I just loved her father
played by Sanjay Mishra too, worried about her daughters future, about his small business at the river and
about being left alone in his old age. They are both gripping and dignified in their performances.

Story 1 is about the young woman, 25 something, Devi Pathak (Richa Chadha/Chadda) she's working at a
computer center when disaster strikes. She's having an erotic encounter with a colleague in a love hotel and
the police raids them .... maybe this is forbidden in India ?? You can't have sex before being married or some-
thing ?? This is unclear, but anyway she has to leave her job due to the shame (a healthy young couple having
healthy glorious sex ... forbidden, why?) and she and her father has to pay bribes to the corrupt policeman
handling her case - abetment to suicide (her love partner committed suicide in the raid), and if not he will put
the pictures from the hotel arrest on the Youtube.

Her father, Vidhyadhar Pathak (Sanjay Mishra) has a small funeral business down at the Ganges and they
both have to struggle to pay the bribes. Devi however refuses to see that she has done something wrong,
which she hasn't naturally, and refuses to bend down and take any blame. She continues seeking jobs and
make it through the daily hardships, and the actress Richa Chadha does it with dignity and in a enigmatic way.
I loved the acting and interaction from and between these 2 actors.

Story 2 is about the student Deepak Chaudhary (Vicky Kaushal) and his love story with fellow student
Shaalu Gupta (Shweta Tripathi). She's from a upper middle class brahmin family and he's from a low caste
Gath attenders at the Ganges in Varanasi, the makers of the funeral pyres, whose work include the crushing
of skulls and bones. After telling her about his family, will their love story succeed ?

I remember travelling by night train as a kid, through the German Ruhr industrial district, seeing the fires from
the melting iron ore in the steelworks flaming through the darkness against the background of an endless maze
of factories, an industrial hell.
Here, we get to see the funeral pyres flaming at the ganges in the Varanasi night. Not at all any hellfires but
strangely beautiful and a remembrancer of the Vanitas of Life, memento Mori etc.

The 2 stories connect at the end, maybe a bit forced ... ? The long ending scene with the boat leaving for
Sangam maybe to set up the end credits rolling against a visually stunning sunset ? The French producers
surely wanted that as it feels slightly un-Bollywood. Is there night tourist boats going to Sangam ?
anamorphic widescreen, DTS HD or DD hindi audio with english subtitles, Making of 35 min without subs

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