Lauded abroad, will Masaan prove a point in India?

After the stupendous success of magnum opus Baahubali: The Beginning and Indo-Pakistan drama Bajrangi Bhaijaan, the Indian box office is awaiting the release of small gem Masaan, which has already spread its sparkle globally. With its thought—provoking content, the film will fetch critical acclaim and positive word of mouth publicity, say trade gurus.

The debut directorial of Neeraj Ghaywan, who assisted Anurag Kashyap for Gangs Of Wasseypur, Masaan, even before its run in India, drew plaudits abroad —especially with its twin win at the Cannes International Film Festival earlier this year — and thus, rightfully came into focus as a film of substance.

Masaan has won many awards, and in India too, it is being eagerly awaited. I’m sure with word of mouth publicity, it will do extremely well. It will not be able to follow the success rate of Baahubali and Bajrangi Bhaijaan and will surely be overshadowed marginally, but the film will still make its presence felt,” trade expert Rajesh Thadani told a media person.

Both Baahubali: The Beginning and Bajrangi Bhaijaan went past the Rs.100 crore in their opening weekend itself, and have turned out to be big box office grossers this year. But, the spotlight from Masaan cannot be taken away for a fact that it won the Promising Future Prize and the International Federation of Film Critics (Fipresci) Award at the Cannes film gala.

With a cast as talented as the seasoned Sanjay Mishra and Richa Chadda, as well as fresh faces such as Vicky Kaushal and Shweta Tripathi, Ghaywan has panned his cameras on facets of Varanasi, a cultural cauldron, where the lives of the characters—a low-caste boy falling hopelessly in love, a daughter ridden with guilt of a sexual encounter ending in a tragedy, a hapless father with fading morality, and a spirited child yearning for a family—intersect.

A premiere of the Cannes-cut version of Masaan at a fest here saw a full house, but it is unlikely to fetch ‘good business’ when it releases in around 300 screens in India on Friday, said Delhi-based film distributor Joginder Mahajan.

“Bajrangi Bhaijaan is still roaring at cinemas. Being a low budget film, Masaan will not be able to follow that success rate, also, it has not created much buzz amongst masses. It will have a limited response. The film will only release in multiplexes, not single screens as theatre chain owners don’t wish to take risk. So, Bajrangi Bhaijaan fever might blow off Masaan,” Mahajan said.  Nevertheless, the film’s team is hopeful of the best response and have urged people to watch the film as the footfalls for a film like Masaan—which is different in storytelling and treatment, will ‘prove a point’.

Internationally, the film has already released in France and Switzerland, and it will continue to leave its mark as it will release in UAE on Thursday, a day ahead of its India release. Following that it will hit theatres in places like Baltics, Belgium, Greece, Italy, Malaysia, Portugal, Singapore, South Africa, Spain, Taiwan, Turkey in upcoming weeks and months. 
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