(Neeraj Ghaywan, India/France, 2015, 109mins) With its premiere at the prestigious Cannes film festival, Masaan (an Anurag Kashyap production), has become one of the most celebrated independent Indian films in recent memory. Set along the picturesque Ganges river in Benaras, Neeraj Ghaywan’s film weaves together two separate stories joined by a common concern, the effect of narrow-minded tradition on the budding desires of youth.
Two students who meet in a motel room for a romantic encounter become the victims of police corruption, while two others attempt to navigate their courtship through caste discrimination. Both relationships cause a ripple effect that leads to repression, rebellion and repentance, but Ghaywan never loses sight of the hope and resistance for a brighter future in his delicate and powerful masterwork.
Imbued with pathos and poetry, this immensely moving cinematic tapestry received a standing ovation at Cannes, won the prestigious FIPRESCI prize, and was honored with the Promising Future Award. The film’s release in India garnered rave reviews and is poised to make stars of its talented young cast.