It is hard to believe that Masaan is Neerja Ghyawat’s debut film as a director. Same can be said of Vicky Kaushal who plays Deepak, a boy belonging to the lower caste Dom community who make their living burning funeral pyres. We see him in love with an upper caste girl and not willing to let societal diktats change anything for her. Then, we have Richa Chaddha, a small town girl who goes into a hotel room with her boyfriend for sex but is interrupted and filmed by a police inspector who begins blackmailing her father. But she refuses to have any shame associated with the simple act of getting intimate with someone you love.
Masaan puts together the tragic lives of a new generation living in a 5000-year-old city where caste, class and age-old biased norms still call the shots. However, we see none of the characters succumbing to the societal forces. Even supporting characters refuse to let their circumstances describe them. The music by the Indian Ocean suits the movie to its core. And the city of Banaras also acts as another catalyst altogether.
Richa Chaddha might remind you of Mahi Gill in Dev D when she refuses to be shamed for pre-marital sex. Vicky Kaushal is brilliant in a role most actors would hesitate to debut with. His varying emotions find a path through his expressions and we get a film extremely relatable and palpable.