MASAAN: Varanasi finally getting its due

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It is arguably the oldest city in the world, but Varanasi as a city is so much multi-layered, culturally nuanced, rich in social diversity, and oozing of humour that a passing reference to the city through the cinematic oeuvre so far has not done justice to its magnificence at all so far. But MASAAN is going to change the way this holy city and its culture is perceived and imbibed by the citizens of the world and one needs to thank director Neeraj Ghaywan for bringing out the rich tapestry in such finesse that it made heads turn wherever it was shown internationally- be it at the Cannes film festival or even all over the countryside as a part of pre-release shows. Varanasi is the melting pot of overambitious class based aspirations and crass gender inequalities and Neeraj Ghaywan, who assisted Anurag Kashyap in GANGS OF WASSEYPUR, through MASAAN has attempted to weave a neat tapestry of people struggling in their own ways to overcome the established cannons of societal norms and find a place in the sun on their own terms.

MASAAN MOVIE  WALLPAPERS
MASAAN MOVIE WALLPAPERS

There could be apprehensions in some quarters that MASAAN is not releasing at an apt time as it could get squeezed between a BAHUBALI and BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN, rather there are distinct possibilities that contrary would happen. The film going audience has turned a new leaf this year with a vengeance and is lapping up content rich films that are presented to it with a local flavor bereft of the usual razzmatazz of a Bollywood flick that tries to gloss over the content by meandering into the established paradigms of masala films. MASAAN has made waves all over the world as it has peeled away the veneer of our society layer by layer and unmasked the ground realities and posed questions about the ways it is functioning – a hideous society that tries to gloss its underbelly by resorting to a state of flux.

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MASAAN is another gem to the cinema that is situating the content in small cities where the real India lives and the shining stars for this film could be Richa Chadha and Sanjay Mishra. Richa Chadha’s character is an angst portrayal of a girl of new generation belonging to Varanasi and other such cities in the country who wish to unshackle the stranglehold of the society that does not allow them to grow, – manifest from the dialogue that Richa Chadha mutters in one of the scenes- small town, small minds.

The producer team of Vikramaditya Motwane, Vikas Behl and Anurag Kashyap seems to have got their combination really right after the stupendous success of QUEEN in situating the content in the real India and carving a new vertical and providing a new vista for the fans to get soaked in the stories of real India which otherwise mainstream cinema has forgotten to factor in. MASAAN is their swan song and it is going to unleash a new wave of glasnost in the way cinema is being dabbled in the Bollywood.

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It would not be out of place here to also dwell upon the title of the film- MASAAN, it is rather a dressed down version of the cremation ground, or shamshaan ghat as they say in Varanasi- and MASAAN is the place where the inevitability and futility of the machinations that a human being endures through his process from birth to death comes out in full force and is therefore a timely recheck on the way we as a society are progressing.

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