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MUKTI BHAWAN (Hotel Salvation) - Could have been a classic, but surely deserves to be seen for its subject, performances and Varanasi in particular. (Review by Bobby Sing)
09 Apr, 2017 | Movie Reviews / 2017 Releases

 

Aptly titled MUKTI BHAWAN, this is a rare, exceptional film for three specific reasons.

One - as it is based upon a theme which has been deliberately avoided, ignored and left out of our Hindi cinema since we stepped into the new millennium……. talking about the ultimate reality of life i.e. DEATH.
Two - as it makes you aware of the unique existence of a special guest house/lodge (Mukti Bhawan) in Varanasi (Banaras/Kashi), where old people check in to die, since as per Indian tradition, a death in the sacred city is a certain blessed path towards the ultimate salvation of a soul i.e. Moksh or Nirvana.
And
Three - as its one of those rarest of rare films which have almost everything simply perfect in technical as well as creative terms, but still fall short of being rated as a classic, missing a strong spiritual as well as emotional connect with the audience unfortunately.
Based upon the layered relationships of a 77 years old (ready and willing to die) father with his middle aged son, daughter-in-law, grand-daughter and another old lady met during his stay in Mukti Bhawan, the film is certainly worth-watching for its eye-opener subject, effective performances, apt background score and the camera capturing the sacred city and its banks in all beautiful frames.       
Leading from the front, Adil Hussain delivers a highly polished act as a middle aged man caught in the struggle between his professional duties and the more important family priorities. Lalit Behl (of TITLI fame) is equally good as the ready to die old man and so is Geetanjali Kulkarni (as Adil’s wife), Palomi Ghosh (their daughter) and Navnindra Behl (as the lady waiting for her death in the lodge since years).
Despite being based upon an unusual and (may-be for some) a bizarre kind of subject revolving around DEATH, director Shubhashish Bhutiani presents it as a light-hearted emotional movie progressing at a fine pace which doesn’t turn into any highly melodramatic drama ever (not even in the end) featuring many enjoyable moments too like the scenes between the old man and his grand-daughter. Therefore, one doesn’t feel depressed watching people dying and remembering GOD in their final years or weeks for almost two hours, which actually is nothing short of an achievement made by a director coming up with his debut feature film at a young age of just 25+.
However in spite of the above mentioned merits, MUKTI BHAWAN isn’t any classic film for me (at least) as it was not able to take me into any meditative state thinking about DEATH as I personally felt (going into silence for a while) watching the extremely impactful climax of ANKHON DEKHI (2014) or SHIP OF THESEUS (2013) in the recent years. Besides the real life visuals of Manikarnika Ghat of Varanasi were also more powerful and moving in the most recent MASAAN released in 2015.
At times I found a few visuals deliberately added to win over the festival audience (especially out of India) watching the film as titled HOTEL SALVATION and a few like straight taken from a documentary film on river Ganges or the city of Varanasi. Moreover made with a mixed vision (avoiding disturbing the viewers with the thought of their own death), the film neither turns out to be a thoroughly enjoyable satire nor a thought provoking serious cinema standing somewhere in between the two missing the desired or expected result.
Putting it differently, I really wished to loudly praise the film as it was made on a subject close to my heart talking about the END, but I couldn’t. 
I truly wished to take a character back home to live with in the coming days, but I couldn’t. 
I seriously wished to memorize some dialogues to share with my close friends, but I couldn’t. 
And I sincerely wished to give a standing ovation in the end to all the people living in the Mukti Bhawan waiting for their MOKSH, but I couldn’t.
Having said that, it’s quite possible that the film might turn out be a lot more valuable for you due to its meaningful off-beat theme and the above mentioned appreciable merits. So do give it a deserving chance supporting the courageous effort as at least here we have got a film, which actually talks about the right things giving us a timely message.
To end the honest write-up with two personal requests, watch MUKTI BHAWAN as a must and if possible take two decisions in your life taking the right inspiration.
ONE – You might have many regular heated exchanges with your aging parents due to your clashing ideologies and contrasting way of living as there in almost every household. But don’t ever leave them alone in the end sending them to any MUKTI BHAWAN as there is no better Mukti Bhawan for any dying person other than his own home, surrounded by his own loving family members and the adorable kids.
TWO – As also mentioned in my review of MASAAN, for once do try to visit Manikarnika Ghat in Varanasi at the earliest and spend a few hours sitting alone among the burning bodies which might bring a positive change in ourselves, we are desperately in need of.
Rating : 3.5 / 5 (with a special appreciation for the young director for choosing such a difficult yet enlightening subject for his debut film.)

 


Tags : Mukti Bhawan Review by Bobby Sing, Hotel Salvation by Bobby Sing, Varanasi and Manikarnika Ghat, Kashi in films, Banaras in Hindi films. Hindi Films on the subject of Death, New Hindi Movies Reviews, New Hindi Movies Released, New Bollywood Reviews, Bobby Talks Cinema Review, Reviews By Bobby Sing, New Hindi Films Reviews at bobbytalkscinema.com
09 Apr 2017 / Comment ( 2 )
Sudhanshu

Lovely!!
It's like the trailer of review.
If you add few snippets, it may make it more interesting.

Cheers!!

Bobby Sing

The detailed review is now posted Sudhanshu.
Hope you will like it too.
Cheers!

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