ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Slick Illusions

Despite lustrous technique and cinematography, the recent Hindi film Masaan is burdened with specious premises of caste, gender and geography.

The Hindi film Masaan, the directorial debut of Neeraj Ghaywan, has been widely praised as one of the finest films of the year. Reviews point out how it brings caste into mainstream cinema, while depicting the small town of Varanasi in a new and fresh way. Overall, critics agree, Masaan has narrated a poignant story. However, the film is burdened with multiple unanswered questions that belie its specious premises of caste, gender and geography.

Masaan portrays the unrequited love between young people who are trapped within the unbearable smallness of Varanasi. The cops catch Devi (played by Richa Chadda) with her boyfriend in a by-the-hour hotel room. The boyfriend slits his wrist in the bathroom and the cops extort money from Devi to fend off the charge of abetment of suicide.

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