A poignant and beautifully woven tale sans the regular masala.

Anurag Kashyap and Vikramaditya Motwane are known to bring in cinema that is off the grid, hard hitting and realistic. Debutante director Neeraj Ghaywan's ‘'Masaan' adds to the list of such gems produced by Phantom. What impresses the most about the film that won accolades at the acclaimed Cannes film festival is the intricately woven screenplay by Varun Grover, the exceptional performances by not just the lead stars but the supporting cast as well and Ghaywan's portrayal of the Indian pilgrimage on the banks of the Ganges, Varanasi.

This film starts with a curious Devi Pathak (Richa Chadda) watching porn to practically apply it later in the evening, an event that turns awry as the cops catch her in a shady hotel and wrongly charge her of prostitution. They blackmail her father, a former Sanskrit professor Vidyadhar Pathak (Sanjay Mishra) who now sells cremation supplies for a living. His paltry income and poignant circumstances lead him to risk a boy's life to a gamble. A parallel track in the film has two lovers Deepak Kumar (Vicky Kaushal) and Shalu Mishra (Shweta Tripathi) facing the heat because of their different castes.

Released at Cannes with the name 'Fly Away Solo', 'Masaan' that means 'crematorium' reiterates the fact that life is nothing but a journey with many emotional ups and downs, that one has to ultimately tackle.

Ghaywan steers clear from typical Bollywood masala conventions and gives us a film that Hindi cinema can be proud of. Grover's literary talent takes is notches higher. Gems by Dushyant Kumar, Akbar Allahabadi and Brij Narayan Chakbast connect it to our roots. 

Talking about the performances, veteran Mishra delivers yet another spectacle with his prowesses. Chadda makes Devi her own and churns out a brilliant character. Vicky Kaushal and Shweta Tripathi know what they are doing and need to be seen in more such beautiful films. Pankaj Tripathi and Bhagwan Tirai too deliver memorable performances. As mentioned earlier, it's the supporting cast that shines equally as the lead protagonists.

Indian Ocean's music and Avinash Arun Dhaware's cinematography deserves a special mention here. They make their subjects as convoluted characters of the film taking it forward smoothly. A little over 120 minutes, this film should not be missed at any cost, a film that portrays life in rural India not loosing track with the hypocrisy of the society turning quickly modern. Do book your tickets now.         

kingfisher backstage