Masaan left me sitting for a good while in my seat after the closing credits, pondering over what I had seen. And that is what drove me to write, albeit after a considerable delay.
So, its a fairly good, concise and hard hitting feature film with performers who definitely seem to know the nuances of acting and theatrics. The film opens with two adults hiring a ‘by the hour’ hotel to experience sex out of curiosity. Quite naive, I say, in our country. There is a police raid at the hotel and the moral lecture begins with the ironical photography and videography of the ‘consenting‘ adults as an enabler to blackmail them later. Long story short, the boy commits suicide for the fear of humiliation and the girl is brought to the police station where her father is summoned so as to elaborate in details the consequences of her action and possible case of abetment of suicide. Needless to say, the father is suitably terrified, coerced and threatened into paying a hefty sum of money to buy the investigating officer’s silence.
Richa Chaddha and Sanjay Mishra have beautifully portrayed the characters and it is difficult to put their character sketch in words. As a curious, small town educated, employed and independent girl, Richa has emoted so beautifully that it is difficult to believe she is merely acting. Sanjay Mishra as the Sanskrit professor who retired from the job for her daughter’s sake and took up part time translation and performing last rites of deceased in return of meagre income, successfully highlights the internal struggle going on between a dutiful and doting father on one side and a society rule bound pandit on the other. His relationship with the small boy Jhonta (Nikhil Sahni) who helps him at his makeshift shop and dives in Ganges to collect coins as a gambling sport is another wonderful human relationship at its best.
Vicky Kaushal, as a lower caste civil engineering student with hopes of a good job sans discrimination, is shown to be unhinged when trying to come to terms with the reality of his budding relationship with a high class girl. Wooing the girl through Facebook chats and trinkets at festival fair, the confusion and small successes and happiness, the growing intimacy and apprehensions, lead the viewer to be one of those rooting for him. And then, when all is good, suddenly life strikes, with death. The fact that he ends up being the one who burns her corpse while helping out his folks in their daily job at the ghat adds to the poignancy of the tragic death of his girlfriend.
The losses suffered by various characters in the movie in their daily course of life shown with the kind of emotions they are actually dealt with, and not as some melodrama, makes the film real and so much more impactful. Adding to the beauty are the poetic lines – “Tu kisi rail si gujarti hai, main kisi pul sa thartharata hun” and the fact that their is some hope at the end, at sangam, in life.