“Dream is the eye of your inner consciousness”, says the owner of Hotel Salvation.
In the opening scene, we see an old man chasing a small boy through an empty village whose Mother is calling him home. This is the dream of 77-year old Dayanand (Lalit Behl) who comes to term that his time has come- death. He demands to go and die in the holy city of Benaras to attain salvation, his son Rajiv (Adil Hussain) is left with no choice but to accompany him on the last journey. They stay in “Hotel Salvation” which a temporary place given on rent for the people coming to attain salvation.
Director Shubhashish Bhutiani delivers a brilliant tale of life and death, a celebration of human life as well as old age. Benaras is a religious epicenter of Hindu religion where people shave their head, adults get rid of their sins and hope to die and cremated there. “Does Ganga need Benaras or Benaras needs Ganga? (As Ganga flows for a long distance, also through Kanpur) Its matter of faith”, says a character. The character Benaras plays an important role creating the essential “faith” factor and needs to reason for preaching philosophy. But weren’t preached anything but taken through a slice of life journey of 1 hour 35 minutes.
The film makes you think about life, your inevitable death and your family at a certain point. The film flows through emotional and humorous segments. “How many days it will take?” says Rajiv’s wife (Geetanjali Kulkarni) which applying moisturizer- director’s portrayal of banality of middle-class family. When you feel like the film is slipping and getting monotonous, the next scene pulls you deep inside. The Screenplay is intriguing and close to routine since nothing is oversimplified or glamourized. The Director’s approach to keep it simple is effective as he adds skepticism and black humor to the depressing story. One of the many scenes I liked is the Skype scene, kept as real as the slow broadband kills the seriousness with the touch of clarity and sound problem (if you have experienced). With such creative direction and execution, the director totally celebrates cinema.
The BGM by Tajdar Junaid is unconventionally melodious while the Cinematography by David Huwiler-Michael McSweeney is stunning and captivating. The tussling scenes between Adil Hussain and Lalit Behl are beautifully written, acted and executed. Both are excellent in their performances. The characters bloom as real people and not just like cinematic caricatures, but the story somehow works only in parts.
In one particular scene, when Dayanand does check-in his room, the owner picks up a dead cockroach chanting “Mukti, Mukti” (its free, its free). The last scene of the film (a long one shot) embraces death and the journey of life. It was a heart-warming and heart-wrenching experience, where I was celebrating life through cinema.
Release: 7 April, 2017
Director: Shubhashish Bhutiani
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