Masaan is definitely one of the best directorial debuts I have ever seen. Ghaywan, a Kashyap alumnus, has a strong hold on the craft of film-making and does a fantastic job tying three separate stories into one fulfilling journey. Ghaywan has been ably supported by Varun Grover who has written soulful lyrics which will enamour the audience and excellent dialogue which capture the flavour of Benarasi soil. No, Masaan is not the best film ever, but it is the kind of cinema Bollywood should support and produce.
The cinematographer must also be congratulated for staying clear of stereotypical stock shots of Benaras’s ghats and temples but rather being able to aptly capture a starkness and sense of loneliness in commotion. Crisply edited, the film does not fall into the debutant’s trap of unnecessary shots “just because they looked good”.
The romance in Masaan is old school and small town, something urban cosmopolitan audiences might not connect with. They will voyeuristically giggle at the lack of confidence and sexual trepidation but Masaan does a fantastic job in recreating soft, tender romance – where kisses are stolen suddenly, far away from home, so that no one is watching. Ghaywan might just be the new mush machine.
And finally, why should you watch Masaan? For Vicky Kaushal. In a film starring veterans like Sanjay Mishra and Richa Chadda (both of whom deliver average performances), Kaushal shines for his earnest portrayal of happiness, heartbreak and fortitude. In the film’s most painfully shocking scene, Kaushal takes it notches higher with his ability to convey essays with silence. And with another film on the way (Zubaan), this guy might be someone to look out for. And we are really bored of seeing the talented Richa Chadda play the same hardened-North Indian badass chick in every film.
Watch Masaan for Vicky Kaushal and a heartbreaking story that will re-affirm your faith in life.