Ketchup Cut: Masaan mirrors society's prejudice and need for closure

Smrithi Mohan
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For today's Ketchup Cut check out how Neeraj Ghaywan's debut film Masaan became a cult favourite among the movie-lovers.

There is always a list of must-watch that every cinephile has to offer. And one movie that always makes the cut is Masaan. It doesn't matter if you're a movie fanatic or just a regular movie lover, this movie talks about two of the most intriguing emotions of human nature that we experience at some point in our lives. While discussing scenes that we love in Ketchup Cut, it's impossible for us to ignore this beautiful movie.

About the movie:

Directed by – Neeraj Ghaywan

Written by – Varun Grover

Cast – Richa Chadda, Vicky Kaushal, Shweta Tripathi, Sanjay Mishra

Where to watchDisney+ Hotstar/ Netflix

In Varanasi, Devi struggles to shake off the social stigma of pre-marital sexual relations. Meanwhile, lovers Deepak and Shalu attempt to transcend the restrictions of their casteist society.

Ketchup Cut:

One may have never physically visited the ghats of Ganga, you might not have witnessed the beauty of the morning sunrise and its calmness or watched death hover over as gatekeepers of heaven carry the souls from the burning pyres. But when you talk about the Ganga ghats, the only visuals that run across our mind is that from the movie Masaan. A story about love, loss, and everything in between, one that talks about the birth and death of a beautiful love story all at the same time. And its beauty is in the simplicity with which it's conveyed. You cannot just start watching the movie and not find yourself sob as you finish the movie.

Can you point out one scene that highlights why you like the movie? Maybe not! But you cannot skip out on mentioning moments and scenes where the story became real. While on one hand, we have a woman dealing with society's prejudice, on the other we understand how important it is to find closure in any relationship. Devi's story represents the ugly side of society where a woman is judged for choosing to have pre-marital sex with the person she loves. She is constantly pushed down and frowned upon for it like she committed a crime. With the police officer threatening the father to defame her if he refused to pay the bribe, we get to witness the anger and frustration of an Indian father trying to save his honour and that of his daughter. It's this period that brings out various emotions and unsaid issues between the daughter and father from the past that were shoved under the carpet. It's impossible for anyone to watch Sanjay Mishra onscreen and not cry. He steals the show in the scene where Devi talks about her plans to move away from the city because of how backward it is.

The credits go to the writers as much as it goes to the amazing cast of the film. Varun Grover was able to carve out two beautiful emotions in the background of simplicity and realism. It's not easy for us humans to get past an event that we considered to be crucial in our lives. We form attachments, relations and find ourselves believing it to be the purpose of our living. And when things crumble and we don't get our so-called 'happy ending' we feel like the world around us is breaking apart. Grief is one of the most powerful emotions that we're often not allowed to feel free. And the writers just show that in the simplest way possible. Deepak holding on to the ring and Devi holding on to the unwrapped present as a constant reminder of their loss only for them to throw it away to get over the trauma is exactly what many of us need to do to get over something and move forward. The two finally coming together and meeting at the ghats is the movie's cathartic movement that we desperately needed at the end.

About the movie:

Talking about his inspiration for Masaan, Director Neeraj said, "for this film, I would say that Dardenne brothers ( Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne) from Belgium helped me deeply in constructing the story. As the brother duo also talks about the working-class and modern crisis in their projects. The (other) inspiration is the ghats. The stories are very real so reality inspired us." (Experts from:

Fun Facts:

Sanjay Mishra used to stay in a small house by the river Ganga during the course of the film's shooting and also arrived at the location on a boat every day.

Before the final cast was confirmed, Manjoy Bajpayee and Rajkumar Rao were approached for the film.

The movie is dedicated to Sanjay Mishra's father.

The ghats showed in the film are not actual burial ghats. It was set up for the film.

Awards and Recognitions:

  • Cannes Film Festival: FIPRESCI Prize (Un Certain Regard) and Prix de l'Avenir (Un Certain Regard)
  • Producers Guild Film Awards: Most Promising Debut Director and Most Promising Newcomer - Male
  • 61st Filmfare Awards: Best Debut Director
  • Zee Cine Awards: Best Debutant Male, Best Debutant Director, Best Actor in Supporting Role, Best Actress in Supporting Role, Best Editing
  • 63rd National Film Awards: Best Debut Film of a Director
  • Stardust Awards: Editor's Choice Performer of the Year (Female), Best Screenplay, Best Lyricist

What is your favourite thing about Masaan? Let us know in the comments below.

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