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Masaan‘ is one of the most underrated Indian films that did us proud at the revered Cannes Film Festival 2015. The word ‘Masaan’ in Hindi literally means a crematorium. The title perfectly fits as the obsession of death is common throughout the film. But instead of being morbid, here it’s meditative. It is as much about death as it is about hope. Issues like the position of women, caste politics, and outdated social norms are touched upon during the course of the film and yet it is engaging. Enough about the film, here are some lesser-known facts about ‘Masaan’.

The film was supposed to be named ‘Taap’

The film went through a series of titles before the makers decided to call it ‘Masaan’. They started with ‘Taap’, then ‘Raand, Saand, Seedhi, Sanyaasi’ , then ‘Duhera’ , then ‘Ud jaayega’ (even ‘Hans Akela’ from which they derived its official english title ‘Fly Away Solo’ ) and finally ‘Masaan’. The idea of the title came from Swanand Kirkire mentioning the song ‘Khele Masaane Mein Holi Digambar’ by Chhannulal Mishra ji.

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Masaan won two top awards at Cannes

Masaan’ was premiered in the 2015 Cannes Film Festival and won two top awards — The International Jury of Film Critics prize and Promising Future prize. The movie received a five-minute standing ovation by the hard to please Cannes audience.

Vicky Kaushal improvised the most important scene

According to the script, Vicky’s character Deepak had a monologue that was supposed to end by the line ‘saala yeh dukh kahe khatam nahi hota’. Vicky insisted to drink alcohol to perform the scene and went so deep that he improvised the entire scene. In the script, the character wasn’t supposed to seek closure until the end but Vicky cried while performing which created such a great impact that the makers decided to edit the script.

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‘Kuch ban jate hai’

The movie shows a great deal of poetry through the character of Shalu. The writer Varun Grover wanted to take up poetry as a hobby for Shalu’s character. The makers initially wanted to transform the poem ‘Kuch ban jate hai’ by Udayprakash as a song but due to the some musical challenges the idea was dropped. Instead, Dushyant Kumar’s ‘Tu Kisi Rail Si Guzarti Hai’ was adapted into a song by the 90’s band Indian Ocean.

‘Masaan’ is an underrated cinematic masterpiece with an extra-ordinary script, heart-touching music and the pleasing ghats of Banaras. Do watch the movie if you haven’t, you wouldn’t want to miss this one.

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I love to read about unsettling and dark things/concepts/rituals that people usually like to ignore and I’m extremely fond of literature and movies.
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