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The Hindi film that charmed the pants off Cannes 2015

May 22, 2015 17:52 IST
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Masaan recently screened at the ongoing French film festival and was given a rare five-minute standing ovation.

While we fussed about the hair and makeup of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Sonam Kapoor and Katrina Kaif at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival, Neeraj Ghaywan's directorial debut Masaan quietly made its way to the screening in the Un Certain Regard section of the 68th Cannes International Film Festival.

The rest, as they say in the internet age, is a topic worth trending.

While the film was met with an overwhelming response from the French audience, word has finally reached Indian shores that the film is indeed something to talk about.

Here then, is everything you might want to know about the film:

The Story

Image: A scene from Masaan

Masaan (Fly Away Solo) is set in Varanasi.

Masaan, which means crematorium in Hindi, follows the story of its four protagonists -- a young orphan (Nikhil Sahni), a low-caste teenage boy (Vicky Kaushal), who falls in love with an upper-caste girl (Shweta Tripathi) and Devi (Richa Chadha) who finds herself caught in a sex scandal after an afternoon rendezvous with her lover.

Sanjay Mishra plays Chadha's father.

The characters

Image: (Clockwise from left): Vikramaditya Motwane, Richa Chadha, Neeraj Ghaywan and Vicky Kaushal click a selfie with film critic Anupama Chopra in Cannes. Photograph: Anupama Chopra/Twitter

Richa Chadha and Sanjay Mishra are the only two known faces in the film.

Chadha has been widely praised for her fine performances in Anurag Kashyap's Gangs of Wasseypur 1 and 2, and  Dibakar Banerjee's Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye!, the film she made her acting debut with.

Sanjay Mishra recently won a lot of acclaim and awards for his brilliant performance in Rajat Kapoor's acclaimed directorial Aankhon Dekhi. His performance in the Yash Raj Films' Dum Lagake Haisha as the abusive patriarch was hugely successful too.

Debutant Vicky Kaushal, who is action director Sham Kaushal's son, holds an engineering degree in telecommunications and assisted Anurag Kashyap on GoW

He also starred in a short film titled Geek Out that was produced by Guneet Monga (who heads Anurag Kashyap Films Production Limited).

Incidentally, Anurag happens to be one of the co-producers of Masaan.

Shweta Tripathi, another debutante in Masaan, has a strong theatre background and will be making her official debut with Haramkhor opposite Nawazuddin Siddiqui.

The director

Image: Neeraj Ghaywan. Photograph: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

Neeraj Ghaywan, who cites Anurag Kashyap as his mentor, was an assistant director on the Gangs of Wasseypur movies.

After the overwhelming response to Masaan at the Cannes screening, Ghaywan tweeted, 'Broke down at the unstoppable applause. Thanks everyone! Missed you so much @anuragkashyap72, editor @nitin_baid, DP @avinasharun20! #Masaan.'

The producers

Image: Co-producers Melita Toscan du Plantier (far left), Vikramaditya Motwane (in white jacket) and Guneet Monga (extreme right) with the cast. Photograph: Tristan Fewings/Getty Images

The film is an Indo-French effort and is produced by Manish Mundra, Macassar Productions, Phantom Films, Sikhya Entertainment, Arte France Cinema and Pathé productions.

Incidentally, the only other Indian film at Cannes this year, Gurvinder Singh's Chauthi Koot (also competing in the Un Certain Regard section) is also an Indo-French production.

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