It is in Banaras where Sanskrit Pandit(Sanjay Mishra) and his student-daughter, Devi(Richa) lead an innocuous existence. Richa’s curiosity to know more about the bees and the birds has her checking into a seedy lodge for a rendezvous with college friend Piyush Agarwal (Saurabh Chaudhary). However, their sexapade ends abruptly because a badass cop (Bhagwan Tiwari) raids the place and blackmails them.
Fear of notoriety forces Piyush to seek an easy way out. However, Devi and her father are hapless victims. The parallel track shows Deepak (Vicky Kaushal), a youngster from the untouchable Dom caste. Though he’s a super-bright student, he can’t help feeling marginalised because like his father and elder brother, he too is forced to work on the Ghats of the Ganges,burning funeral pyres. Deepak’s world lights up when he falls for Shaalu (Shweta Tripathi). This couple steal passionate kisses below the Peepal tree and though they fear that the caste-system could divide them; they nurse starry-eyed dreams.
Masaan, an Indo-French collaboration that won accolades at Cannes earlier on in May, has adept story-telling by Neeraj Ghaywan, a Anurag Kashyap alumni. The film unspools in an unhurried manner, occasionally tugging hard at your heartstrings. The urgency with which youngsters from India’s heartland feel the need to discover Facebook, forbidden fruit and freedom has been captured well.
The performances of the entire cast including that of the child actor Nikhil Sahni are praiseworthy. Masaan has pure desi magic woven in.
Masaan, a desolate place, follows two heart-breaking tales; that of Devi whose life is condemned after she is caught in the act. And that of a lower-caste boy Deepak, who falls in love with an upper-caste girl. Will Devi and Deepak respectively find the rainbow at the end of the tunnel?
The Times of India