Jump to navigation Jump to search

Masaan poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed byNeeraj Ghaywan
Written byVarun Grover
Produced byDrishyam Films
Phantom Films
Macassar Productions
Sikhya Entertainment
Kanchan Chandnani
StarringRicha Chadda
Vicky Kaushal
Shweta Tripathi
Sanjay Mishra
CinematographyAvinash Arun
Edited byNitin Baid
Music byIndian Ocean
Distributed byPathé (France)
Release date
  • 19 May 2015 (2015-05-19) (Cannes)
  • 24 June 2015 (2015-06-24) (France)
  • 24 July 2015 (2015-07-24) (India)
Running time
109 minutes

Masaan (transl. 'Crematorium'; also known as Fly Away Solo in English) is a 2015 Indian Hindi-language drama film directed by Neeraj Ghaywan.[1] The directorial debut film is an Indo-French co-production produced by Drishyam Films, Macassar Productions, Phantom Films, Sikhya Entertainment, Arte France Cinema and Pathé Productions.[2] It was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival winning two awards.[3][4][5] Ghaywan previously assisted Anurag Kashyap on Gangs Of Wasseypur.[6][7] The film was screened at the inaugural New York Dalit Film and Cultural Festival in 2019 along with Pariyerum Perumal (2018), Kaala (2018) and Fandry (2013).[8]


Set in present-day Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India, the plot of Masaan follows two seemingly separate stories that converge eventually.[9]

The first of these tells the story of a trainer at a coaching computer center Devi Pathak (Richa Chadda). The film opens with her and her student, Piyush Aggarwal, checking into a hotel room. They are interrupted during sex when policemen burst in, having been tipped off by hotel staff who suspected Devi and Piyush were indulging in "indecent behavior". Inspector Mishra (Bhagwan Tiwari) records the barely clad Devi on his mobile phone while Piyush locks himself in the bathroom and commits suicide by slitting his wrists. Devi and her father Vidyadhar (Sanjay Mishra) are subjected to blackmail by Inspector Mishra, who demands a hefty bribe of 300,000 (equivalent to 380,000 or US$5,100 in 2020) to hush up the matter. In desperate need of money, Vidyadhar begins to indulge in a betting game, where people bet on small boys to dive and collect the maximum number of coins from the Ganges riverbed within a specified time. He lets people bet on Jhonta (Nikhil Sahni), an orphan who works for him after Jhonta volunteers himself for the game. Meanwhile, Devi has to switch jobs due to the stigma associated with her having pre-marital sex. She eventually gets a government job in the railways in Varanasi, but news regarding her pre-marital sexual indulgence reaches there as well.

The second narrative concerns Deepak Kumar (Vicky Kaushal), a Varanasi boy from the Dom community whose family works in cremation ghats by burning funeral pyres. Deepak wants to transcend the restrictions of a casteist society. He studies civil engineering at a polytechnic college where he meets and falls in love with Shaalu Gupta (Shweta Tripathi), a high caste Hindu girl. They start meeting each other and during a trip to Allahabad on the banks of the Ganges, they share an intimate moment. Back in Varanasi, Deepak tells her about his caste and the work he does burning corpses. Shaalu remains firm and tells him that she will be with him even if her parents refuse. She asks him to focus on his placements and get a job, while she reaffirms her commitment to him.

However, unfortunately, during a pilgrimage trip with her family, Shaalu dies in a ghastly bus accident. Her body with those of other victims ends up at the same cremation ground where Deepak's family works. Deepak is shattered on seeing her dead body and loses all purpose in life. He retains her ring as a souvenir. Deepak is eventually able to overcome his grief and discards Shaalu's ring in the Ganges. He gains a placement as a civil engineer in Allahabad. Later that same ring is picked up by Jhonta who loses consciousness underwater while collecting coins. He regains consciousness in the hospital and gives the ring to a remorseful Vidyadhar, who decides to stop playing with Jhonta's life. He sells the ring and is finally able to pay off Inspector Mishra.

Marred by the parochial mindset of people regarding her situation, Devi leaves Varanasi and joins a course in Allahabad University. She pays a visit to Piyush's family only to be slapped by his father. She comes to the banks of the Ganges to immerse the gift Piyush had given her on that fateful day in the hotel. Deepak, who is by the bank, notices her crying and offers her water to drink. A boatman beckons, offering both of them a ride towards Sangam. They both board the boat and strike up a conversation.



Masaan: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Soundtrack album by
Released7 July 2015 (2015-July-07)[11]
GenreFeature film soundtrack
LabelZee Music Company
External audio
audio icon Audio Jukebox on YouTube

The music for Masaan's songs was composed by Indian Ocean and the lyrics were written by Grover. The album received positive reviews from critics.[12]

The film contains various examples of Urdu & Hindi poetry at different junctures including works by Akbar Allahabadi, Basheer Badr, Brij Narayan Chakbast, Mirza Ghalib, Uday Prakash and Dushyant Kumar.[13] Explaining this as a conscious tribute, the film's lyricsist Varun Grover explained that he wanted to show Shaalu (played by Shweta Tripathi) as a person whose hobby is to read Hindi poetry and shaayari, as this is a common hobby of millennial and generation x youngsters in Northern India, especially when in love, but this aspect is rarely shown in Hindi films.[14][15][16]

The song ("Tu Kisi Rail Si") is based on the work of the poet Dushyant Kumar.[17]

Masaan (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)[18]
1."Tu Kisi Rail Si"Varun Grover (Adapted from a poem by Dushyant Kumar)Swanand Kirkire03:50
2."Mann Kasturi"Sanjeev Sharma, Varun GroverAmit Kilam07:13
3."Bhor"Sanjeev SharmaAmit Kilam, Rahul Ram and Himanshu Joshi07:00


Critical response[edit]

Masaan received overwhelming critical acclaim from the mainstream media. Calling it "a very engaging debut" by Neeraj Ghaywan, Allan Hunter in Screen Daily wrote, "Vicky Kaushal brings a gauche charm to Deepak and Richa Chadda invests the long suffering Devi with a weary, unwavering determination to move forward. Cinematographer Avinash Arun Dhaware captures some fantastic images of Banares that convey the bustling spirit of the city from the brightly lit street markets to the flurry of sparks that dot the night sky from the funeral pyres."[19] Deborah Young writing in The Hollywood Reporter described the film as "a classically poignant drama of star-crossed love" and "part of the new generation of indie films whose clear intent is to set ablaze a hidebound society’s constrictions on personal liberty."[20] Jay Weissberg in his review for the Variety magazine, however, found it "a heartfelt yet overambitious tale of class and gender inequality" with the director failing to find "ways to overcome script and editing weaknesses, resulting in a disappointing drama."[9]

Senior journalist Shekhar Gupta wrote in his National Interest column that Masaan left a deep impression on him, "get[ting] the pulse of small-town India as no other I have seen."[21] The director has woven Ganga intimately into Varun Grover's tight screenplay, Gayatri Gauri wrote in First Post adding "Several crucial moments swirl around the Ganga, beautifully shot without succumbing to visual exotica, and after you leave the cinema, they linger in your memory, like the flames dying slowly in the cremation grounds where so much of Masaan unfurls."[22]

Shubra Gupta wrote in The Indian Express, "Masaan is imbued with a sense of place and time, poetry and lyricism, and it captures the essence of Banaras, constant-yet-changeable, with felicity and feel. It also announces the arrival of new talents in its writer and director: Grover’s story is eminently worth telling, and Ghaywan tells it beautifully."[23] "Ghaywan, in his very first film, creates a deeply affecting world that devastates and uplifts at the same time, and that becomes a part of your world long after the film is over," wrote Nikhil Taneja reviewing the film for The Huffington Post.[24]


The film released for streaming on Hotstar was found to be heavily censored which caused a controversy against the streaming platform and the producers of the film.[25][26]


Award Ceremony / Film Festival Date Category / Section Recipient(s) Ref.
Cannes Film Festival 13 – 24 May 2015 FIPRESCI Prize (Un Certain Regard) Neeraj Ghaywan [27][28]
Prix de l'Avenir (Un Certain Regard)
Producers Guild Film Awards 1 January 2016 Most Promising Debut Director Neeraj Ghaywan [29]
22nd Screen Awards 8 January 2016 Most Promising Newcomer - Male Vicky Kaushal [30]
61st Filmfare Awards 15 January 2016 Best Debut Director Neeraj Ghaywan [31]
Zee Cine Awards 20 February 2016 Best Debutant Male Vicky Kaushal [32]
Best Debutant Director Neeraj Ghaywan
Best Actor in Supporting Role Sanjay Mishra
Best Actress in Supporting Role Shweta Tripathi
Best Editing Nitin Baid
63rd National Film Awards 3 May 2016 Best Debut Film of a Director Neeraj Ghaywan [33]
Stardust Awards 19 December 2016 Editor's Choice Performer of the Year (Female) Richa Chadda [34]
Best Screenplay Varun Grover
Best Lyricist


  1. ^ "'Masaan' - Movie Review" ( Mid-Day. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  2. ^ "Neeraj Ghaywan's debut film Masaan chosen for Cannes gala". India Today. 16 April 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  3. ^ "2015 Official Selection". Cannes. Archived from the original on 18 April 2015. Retrieved 16 April 2015.
  4. ^ "Screenings Guide". Festival de Cannes. 6 May 2015. Retrieved 8 May 2015.
  5. ^ "'Masaan' - Movie Review" ( Retrieved 24 July 2015.
  6. ^ "Vicky Kaushal cast opposite Richa Chadda in Anurag Kashyap's next production". Bollywood Hungama. 29 November 2014. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  7. ^ "'Masaan', 'Chauthi Koot' make it to Cannes Film Festival". The Indian Express. 17 April 2015. Retrieved 17 April 2015.
  8. ^ "'Pariyerum Perumal', 'Masaan' and 'Kaala' to be screened at New York's first Dalit Film Festival". 14 February 2019. Retrieved 27 May 2019.
  9. ^ a b Jay Weissberg (23 May 2015). "Cannes Film Review: Masaan". Variety. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  10. ^ "Masaan: A world where love rules, not money". Retrieved 18 February 2018.
  11. ^ "Masaan (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". iTunes.
  12. ^ "Masaan - Music Review (Bollywood Soundtrack)". Music Aloud. 8 July 2015. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  13. ^ Lakhani, Somya (11 September 2016). "Secret Love: How Hindi poetry has become 'cool'". The Indian Express. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  14. ^ "Hindi Kavita - Kuch ban jaate hain - Uday Prakash: Varun Grover in Hindi Studio with Manish Gupta". Hindi Kavita. 25 October 2015.
  15. ^ Pal, Sanchari. "Meet the NRI Who Returned To India To Make Millions Fall in Love with Hindi Poetry". The Better India. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  16. ^ Grover, Varun. "How the magic of Dushyant Kumar's poetry inspired this Bollywood lyricist". The Indian Express. Retrieved 17 April 2019.
  17. ^ "Sing along: Varun Grover decodes the lyrics to Masaan". FirstPost. 25 July 2015. Retrieved 25 July 2015.
  18. ^ "Masaan tracklist". Hungama. 8 July 2015. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  19. ^ Allan Hunter (20 May 2015). "'Masaan': Review". Screen Daily. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  20. ^ Deborah Young (24 May 2015). "Masaan': Cannes Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  21. ^ Shekhar Gupta (24 July 2015). "Masaan: Rise of the new middle India". Daily O. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  22. ^ Gayatri Gauri (23 July 2015). "Masaan review: Poignant, tender and beautiful, this Cannes winner is a portrait of small-town India". First Post. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  23. ^ Shubra Gupta (19 July 2015). "Masaan review: There is a tussle between what has always been, and what can be". First Post. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  24. ^ Nikhil Taneja (25 July 2015). "Masaan Review: A Fine Film Packed With Fantastic Performances". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 27 July 2015.
  25. ^ Dua, Mansi (7 April 2016). "Do Not Watch Masaan on Hotstar, Warns Anurag Kashyap". TheQuint. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  26. ^ "War of words within Team 'Masaan' - Times of India". The Times of India. Retrieved 22 July 2020.
  27. ^ Rebecca Ford and Rhonda Richards (23 May 2015). "Cannes: 'Son of Saul,' 'Masaan' Take Fipresci Prizes". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 23 May 2015.CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  28. ^ Rebeccas Ford (23 May 2015). "Cannes: 'Rams' Wins Un Certain Regard Prize". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  29. ^ "Winners of 11th Renault Sony Guild Awards". Bollywood Hungama. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  30. ^ "Screen Awards 2016: Complete List of Winners". NDTV. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  31. ^ "Full list of winners of the 61st Britannia Filmfare Awards". Filmfare. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  32. ^ "Zee Cine Awards 2016 Complete Winners List: Who won what?". Daily News and Analysis. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  33. ^ "63rd National Film Awards: Complete list of winners". The Economic Times. 28 March 2016. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  34. ^ "Stardust Awards 2016: Complete List of Winners". NDTV. Retrieved 23 July 2018.

External links[edit]