Neeraj Ghaywan says he decided to set his debut film “Masaan” in Varanasi because like the movie, the holy city is also an amalgamation of the circle of life and death.
“Masaan”, which hit theatres yesterday, has been getting rave reviews from the critics as well as the audience.
“The film is shot at the choice of our place Varanasi because this city is the amalgamation of life as well as death together… Most of the people from across the world have a wish to end their life and die here in order to achieve salvation- ‘moksha’,” Ghaywan said.
The film, shot on the banks of river Ganga, shows the city’s magnificent ghats and also captures the burning ghats especially Harishchandra ghat, where funeral pyres are burned round the clock.
“Through our film we have tried to show, what could be the definition of that person living on the cremation grounds, whose life is spent burning pyres,” said Ghaywan.
The movie tells the story of Deepak (Vicky Kaushal), a low-caste man, whose family cremates dead bodies by the ghats. He falls in love with Shaalu (Shweta Tripathi), a girl from an upper caste family. It also has two other characters fighting the odds in the city.
The director said though “Masaan” is just a film’s story, in reality there are people, who face such severe situations after losing their loved ones.
“Masaan”, which premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, won two awards– FIPRESCI, International Jury of Film Critics prize and Promising Future prize in the Un Certain Regard section.
“While we were making this film we didn’t have any expectations about winning awards, though the script of the film assured us that it is going to be liked by the audience,” Ghaywan said.
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The film also stars Sanjay Mishra and Richa Chadha, who along with the other cast and crew members besides filmmaker Anurag Kashyap, were present at the screening of the film here as part of the sixth edition of Jagran Film Festival yesterday.
Richa said she decided to do the film as her role was promising and gave a simple and plain message in a straight way.
“For women in our country when it comes to sexuality, they hesitate to speak, especially the middle class. In this film we tried to show the stark reality of the middle class families in our country,” the actress said.