The year in review

Best of Bollywood 2015 countdown: ‘Masaan’

Neeraj Ghaywan’s sensitive debut is about the ebb and flow of desires and ambitions in Varanasi.

Neeraj Ghaywan’s sensitive Varanasi-set debut is next on our countdown of the best Hindi films made in 2015.


Neeraj Ghaywan’s first feature, written by lyricist and stand-up comic Varun Grover, is set in the ancient city of life and death. Chance, the Ganga river, and railway tracks all plays their part in the stories of Deepak (Vicky Kaushal), from the Dalit Dom caste that has raked coals over corpses at the ghats for millennia, and Devi (Richa Chadha), a computer institute employee whose first brush with love and sex goes horribly wrong. Deepak falls and rises in love, but Devi’s journey takes longer. Harassed and shamed by a venal blackmailing police officer who claims that he possesses a sex tape of her tryst with her lover, Devi folds into herself. It takes a convivial colleague, Sadhya (Pankaj Tripathi), to break the ice and make her re-assess her relationship with her father (Sanjay Mishra). Sadhya’s tribute to the pleasures of kheer is one of Masaan’s most brilliant moments.


Tripathi, one of Hindi cinema’s most gifted and dependable actors, is perfectly cast as Sadhya. Ghaywan had met Tripathi on the sets of Anurag Kashyap’s Gangs of Wasseypur, on which Ghaywan was an assistant director. The sequence was more comic in tone, but was trimmed for the final cut, the filmmaker said. “Sadhya is a happy loner,” Ghaywan said. “Completely unaware of how lonely his life is and yet, relishing the goodness of life, he is the catalyst who brings change in Devi’s life. Varun wrote Sadhya based on a character from Vinod Kumar Shukla’s novel Deewar Mein Ek Khirkee Rahti Thi.” The movie is packed with several references to Hindi literature, and the eagle-eyed viewer might spot Sadhya reading Shukla’s book in the movie.

The conversation between Devi and Sadhya is quiet and ordinary, yet profound, like so many of the exchanges between various characters. “Sadhya is the one who purges Devi’s turmoil that is inside of her, making her reassess her equation with her own father,” Ghaywan said. “Throughout the film I wanted the dialogue to be spoken in a conversational manner, the way it was written. I didn’t want the philosophy or the character’s motive to be spelt out and attract attention, but just happen organically.”

There was more to Sadhya’s character than was included in Masaan’s final version. “A scene that is there in the deleted scenes on the DVD shows him talking to Devi on a scooter,” Ghaywan said. “He reveals his urge to someday just get on a train and get off an a random station where he can get a whiff of good tea. He can’t do this now as he is tied to his father and his job. Devi motivates him to do it. One day Sadhya calls Devi while she is in Allahabad at a lecture. He tells her that he has taken that train and it motivates Devi to do something that she has been wanting to do – go and meet Piyush’s parents.” Piyush is Devi’s unfortunate lover, with whom she gets caught in a tawdry hotel room by a police unit. “All this was removed in the film because of time,” Ghaywan said. “Also, in the edit, I wanted Devi’s trigger to finally meet Piyush’s parents to be more internal rather than external. She has a sense of dignity that is dear to her. While writing, we knew it is not going to be an easy character to fathom. We didn’t want a perfect arc for her (like it is for Deepak) or a defined set of character traits. In grief, your inner soul is in contradiction with what the mind wants. Devi had to be uneven, unfathomable and instinctive.”

For previous entries in our countdown to the best Hindi films of the year, see here, here and here.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

The ordeal of choosing the right data pack for your connectivity needs

"Your data has been activated." <10 seconds later> "You have crossed your data limit."

The internet is an amazing space where you can watch a donkey playing football while simultaneously looking up whether the mole on your elbow is a symptom of a terminal diseases. It’s as busy as it’s big with at least 2.96 billion pages in the indexed web and over 40,000 Google search queries processed every second. If you have access to this vast expanse of information through your mobile, then you’re probably on something known as a data plan.

However, data plans or data packs are a lot like prescription pills. You need to go through a barrage of perplexing words to understand what they really do. Not to mention the call from the telecom company rattling on at 400 words per minute about a life-changing data pack which is as undecipherable as reading a doctor’s handwriting on the prescription. On top of it all, most data packs expect you to solve complex algorithms on permutations to figure out which one is the right one.


Even the most sophisticated and evolved beings of the digital era would agree that choosing a data pack is a lot like getting stuck on a seesaw, struggling to find the right balance between getting the most out of your data and not paying for more than you need. Running out of data is frustrating, but losing the data that you paid for but couldn’t use during a busy month is outright infuriating. Shouldn’t your unused data be rolled over to the next month?

You peruse the advice available online on how to go about choosing the right data pack, most of which talks about understanding your own data usage. Armed with wisdom, you escape to your mind palace, Sherlock style, and review your access to Wifi zones, the size of the websites you regularly visit, the number of emails you send and receive, even the number of cat videos you watch. You somehow manage to figure out your daily usage which you multiply by 30 and there it is. All you need to do now is find the appropriate data pack.

Promptly ignoring the above calculations, you fall for unlimited data plans with an “all you can eat” buffet style data offering. You immediately text a code to the telecom company to activate this portal to unlimited video calls, selfies, instastories, snapchats – sky is the limit. You tell all your friends and colleagues about the genius new plan you have and how you’ve been watching funny sloth videos on YouTube all day, well, because you CAN!


Alas, after a day of reign, you realise that your phone has run out of data. Anyone who has suffered the terms and conditions of unlimited data packs knows the importance of reading the fine print before committing yourself to one. Some plans place limits on video quality to 480p on mobile phones, some limit the speed after reaching a mark mentioned in the fine print. Is it too much to ask for a plan that lets us binge on our favourite shows on Amazon Prime, unconditionally?

You find yourself stuck in an endless loop of estimating your data usage, figuring out how you crossed your data limit and arguing with customer care about your sky-high phone bill. Exasperated, you somehow muster up the strength to do it all over again and decide to browse for more data packs. Regrettably, the website wont load on your mobile because of expired data.


Getting the right data plan shouldn’t be this complicated a decision. Instead of getting confused by the numerous offers, focus on your usage and guide yourself out of the maze by having a clear idea of what you want. And if all you want is to enjoy unlimited calls with friends and uninterrupted Snapchat, then you know exactly what to look for in a plan.


The Airtel Postpaid at Rs. 499 comes closest to a plan that is up front with its offerings, making it easy to choose exactly what you need. One of the best-selling Airtel Postpaid plans, the Rs. 499 pack offers 40 GB 3G/4G data that you can carry forward to the next bill cycle if unused. The pack also offers a one year subscription to Amazon Prime on the Airtel TV app.

So, next time, don’t let your frustration get the better of you. Click here to find a plan that’s right for you.


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Airtel and not by the Scroll editorial team.