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Masaan (2015)

4.1 of 5 from 46 ratings
1h 49min
Not released
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Four lives intersect along the Ganges: a low caste boy hopelessly in love, a daughter ridden with guilt of a tragic encounter, a father’s fading morality over a ransom, and a spirited child yearning for a family, long to escape the moral constructs of a small town, A story of modern contemporary India where these characters are seeking a better future, whilst buffeted between modernity and an attachment to tradition
, , , , , , , Satya Kam Anand, Saurabh Chadhary, Mohit Abrol, , Harsh Agarwal, Manish Agrahari, Jamal Ahmad, Ana, Aalok Bhat, Amitabh Bhattacharya, , H.S. Dwivedi, Akash Gupta
Akbar Allahabadi, Bashir Badr
Neeraj Ghaywan
Fly Away Solo
India, Bollywood
Release Date:
Run Time:
109 minutes
Release Date:
Run Time:
109 minutes

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Reviews (1) of Masaan

Burning Traditions. - Masaan review by NC

Spoiler Alert

Two stories run in close parallel, like railway lines, gradually merging into a single track near the end. For the first story, Ghaywan's scathing attack on traditions and double-standards which continue to blight lives (specifically women's, of course) is fine and affecting. Less successful is the counterpart courtship of Deepak and Shaalu. Lower-caste boy meets upper-caste girl needs more than this to make it original and interesting. Deepak works as a cremator on the banks of the Ganges, and there is superb photography of the pyres to alleviate the seen-it-all-before element. Vicky Kushal and Shweta Tripathi as the young couple give performances of pure Hollywood/Bollywood gush.

Much, much better are Richa Chadha and Sanjay Mishra as daughter and father, caught in the net of police corruption and a way of life which lays the blame for anything and everything squarely on the female.

A minor theme of 'Masaan' is the railway, not only taking people away from a narrow-minded existence to the big city, but also demonstrating that some things are steadily modernising. Computers take the place of manual work. Narrow gauges in the hills are being updated. How long before progress can be seen on the caste system, on laws which make life easier for bent cops, and on officially sanctioned misogyny?

'Masaan' won the Cannes 'certain regard', and for half the film it's not hard to understand why. The ending hints at a message of hope that the next generation can burn those traditions and mindsets in pyres of their own. Let us hope so.

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