Movie review: Masaan is so real that it hurts.

A desolate Deepak is sitting with his friends. His friends are trying to console him. Deepak remembers Dushyant Kumar’s lines, his last conversastion with Shalu, and then screams – ee saala dard khatam kaahe nahi hota hai be. His friend says – chup ho ja be Deepak. Chup ho jao be… nahi to hum maar denge tumko, he stammers. And they all hold him close really hard. Deepak is crying hysterically. Another friend offers – abe tum humra bike lo be. Tum le ke jao… From Deepak’s silence, to his friends’ awkward cajoling, to the outburst, and to the friends again. His friends are in tears. But they are not crying. And they are crying – What. A. Scene. After a long time, I shed a tear drop during a movie scene. Not because the movie was gutwrenching. This particular scene was. It was so real that it hurt.

Masaan is so real that it hurts.

Deepak (Vicky Kaushal), a civil engineering final year student from a polytechnic college, finds his love in Shalu (Shweta Tripathy), a shayari lover, one who talks of Badr, Fazli and Ghalib. Shalu gifts him the lines from Dushyant Kumar – tu kisi rail si guzarti hai… Deepak gifts her an audio recording of their conversations along with a set of his favorite songs… gazab ka hai din dekho zara. Shalu is upper caste, whose entire family goes on annual pilgrimages like Badrinath, Kedarnath, and enjoys the food better if it is run by another Gupta ji – apne caste wale hain na, isliye. Deepak is a dom, who’s spent his entire life dealing with the dead bodies, crushing their skulls and wiping off the stench of their burning flesh from his face. Their love takes flight under the fear of the caste divide of a small town (Kashi), and finds closure on a boat ride at Allahabad.

Devi Pathak (Richa Chaddha) falls in love with Piyush at the coaching center where she teaches at. They decide to check into a hotel, only to be raided and harassed by cops shortly afterwards. Piyush commits suicide, and Devi and her father (Sanjay Mishra) finds themselves dealing with a ransom demand from the cop. Vidyadhar Pathak learns to deal with the financial and, more importantly, social setback of it, and Devi finds closure for something that her heart does not blame her for, through a railway job in the interim and a final ritual at the ghats of Allahabad.

The generational conflicts are everywhere, and so is the conflict between progressive and regressive thoughts. Vidyadhar finds her reconciliation with Devi after an initial outburst of anger. Devi closes the loop with Piyush’s parents, and then sends off Piyush in a touching moment, just as Deepak offers her “paani”. Devi wants to flee to Allahabad. Deepak wants to leave his masaan-ghat life behind. Most moments in Masaan exist without judgements. Exist like reality. Like the facebook friend request and the messages sent to Shalu before she accepts the friendship request. Or that balloon that floats through the air like a proclamation of love. Like Devi’s scroll through Piyush’s facebook photographs. Or the friends quipping – “Guptaji hain!” and reminding later on “wo upper caste hai. Jyada senti mat ho jaaana”. Like that carefully and painfully planned music player for Shalu. Like that guy in Devi’s office – seedhe pooch rahe hain. Degi kya? Or Deepak’s – wo last year strike ho gaya tha na, nahi to ab tak humara final ho chukka hota aur placement bhi. Like Sadhya ji’s – har college group mein ek intellectual gyaani type hota hai. Or Pathak ji’s “humko lag raha hai ki is mahine ho jayega”. Or Deepak’s father, in a moment of drunkenness, saying – “sab tu hi to hau”, and in that moment, summarizing the dreams and aspirations of many underprivileged who have pinned their hopes on their children’s education.

Interestingly, as the movie progresses, the concept of time is made irrelevant. When it ends, you have no idea how much time has gone by, but you can feel the amount of life that has gone by. That’s how time feels, right?

Perfect – Acting, Script, Dialogues, Cinematography,Editing and length!

Not too perfect – Ending – a little too good. I was glad that the movie was not a depressing end, but a positive fall forward. But a little too tied.

Gripe – the brother. It seemed to me that Neeraj Ghaywan (director) and Varun Grover (script) had some ideas about Deepak’s brother Sikander, but those ideas didn’t survive the editing table. Unfortunately, a conflict is shown for about a minute, and is not resolved any further. The only minute in the movie that didn’t seem to belong, as an after-thought.

Absolutely gorgeous – the soundtrack. There are three songs in the movie. Look at their placement and how much they achieve in the movie.

 

Overall – Go watch it. Please go and watch it. Did I say please only once? Please please go and watch it. Please.

 

And as a parting off thought – here are a few links –

“”Main jise odhtaa bichaata hun,

Vo ghazal aapko sunaata hun.

Ek jungal hai teri aankhon me,

Main jahaan raah bhool jaata hoon.

Tu kisi rail si guzarti hai,

Main kisi pul sa thartharaata hun.

Ek baazu ukhad gaya jub se,

aur zyaada wajan uthaata hun.”

– Dushyant Kumar

The full version w/ annotations is here

 

“Ho chuki hai peer parbat si pighalni chahiye, is himalay se koi ganga nikalni chahiye”

The lines though I remember of him often – kaun kehta hai ki asmaan mein suraakh nahi ho sakta, ek pathar to tabiyat se uchaalo yaaro.

And a whole lot of other Dushyant Kumar poems

 

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Jolly LLB – What The Brilliance Shuklaji

jollyThere is a sequence in the movie where Guruji (Sanjay Mishra), a hawaldar, is auctioning the post of SHO Sadar Bazaar to several police inspectors. His condition, in addition to the bid, the person needs to have a clean image. And the inspector who wins has only got an eve-teasing case from Delhi University pending against him. Suitably lauded, he wins the post for 65Lakhs only. Aap sabhi bade afsaron ko hawaldar ka namaskaar”, that’s how he begins the auction.

The simplicity of the proceedings is the heart of Jolly LLB. Jolly LLB is a rather simple movie with a simple idea and a simple script. And simply put, it’s a simple and enjoyable movie.

The movie has its fair share of flaws. Amrita Rao would stand out as the primary. She is not needed. Due to her, there are three songs in the movie and they waste time. And they slow down the movie intolerably. The first half of the movie hence, is slow. You get thepoint of the struggling lawyer, the success of a PIL, a case too strong to hit the headlines, a judiciary so weak that the criminals walk scot free, and a very successful lawyer who’s methods are questionable but his success is not. The part that takes about an hour, could have been done in about 20-25 minutes. Especially because the movie does not mope about anything. It does not over-dramatize anything.

Second half of the movie is much better paced. And with a lot of oddities being there, Subhash Kapoor leaves it to one of the most talented character actors of the industry to seal the case. Saurabh Shukla as the Judge Tripathi. An absolutely brilliant performance that outshines the other two excellent performances from Arshad Warshi (Jolly/ Jagdish Tyagi) and Boman Irani (Rajpal). Towards the end, as he takes subtle control of his courtroom and his bellowing “baith jaiye tejpal sahab. Ye mera courtroom hai” contrast to the burping and conniving judge when he’s introduced, are a joy to behold. It was also softly pleasant to see Ramesh Deo on screen, the man I most remember as Anand and Babu Moshai’s friend.

The other two flaws – Arshad Warsi is good, but is good doing what he has done too many times. His acting/style is not very different from his last few roles. I wonder when he will do another Sehar kind of role. More understated and intense than his lathering blabbering self. The second – here you have a young lawyer who is struggling and unmarried and is dating a school teacher. And Arshad Warsi does not look young. Not in one frame of the movie.

But he compensates for it. Still. It’s a nice movie. Not awesome. But nice.

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