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Mystic Masseur
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The Mystic Masseur

3.0 1
Director: Ismail Merchant,

Cast: Ismail Merchant, Om Puri, James Fox, Aasif Mandvi

 
Ismail Merchant, best known as the producing half of the successful Merchant-Ivory team, once again steps behind the camera as director for this story of life among Indian expatriates in the 1950s. Ganesh (Aasif Mandvi) is a young man who was born to a community of Indian exiles living in Trinidad. Always bright, Ganesh hopes to hake a career for himself as a writer,

Overview

Ismail Merchant, best known as the producing half of the successful Merchant-Ivory team, once again steps behind the camera as director for this story of life among Indian expatriates in the 1950s. Ganesh (Aasif Mandvi) is a young man who was born to a community of Indian exiles living in Trinidad. Always bright, Ganesh hopes to hake a career for himself as a writer, but he lacks the money to pursue writing full-time, and his ideas about education clash with those of his employers after he gets a job as a teacher, leaving him with few prospects. Returning to Trinidad after the death of his father, Ganesh is pressured into marrying a local woman named Leela (Ayesha Dharker), whose father, Ramlogan (Om Puri), is a successful merchant. Ganesh and Leela move to a modest home in the hills, where he begins work on a book, but Leela chafes at the Spartan lifestyle dictated by Ganesh's finances, and for a time leaves their home to stay with her parents. In time, Ganesh completes his first book -- a book for lay people on the Hindu faith -- but sales are sluggish until Ganesh and Leela come up with a plan to boost interest in Ganesh's work. Ganesh is promoted as a "Mystic Masseur" with special powers to heal the infirm; Ganesh's routine quickly makes his work very popular with spiritual seekers, and his book becomes a top-seller. However, Ganesh becomes disillusioned with his newfound fame and power, especially after he attempts to take advantage of his celebrity by entering the political arena. The Mystic Masseur was based on a novel by V.S. Naipaul, who won an Nobel prize in the year of this film's release.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Josh Ralske
The Mystic Masseur, based on the novel by Nobel Prize winner V.S. Naipaul, is a mildly amusing way to pass a couple of hours, but it isn't incisive enough to make a lasting impression. Ismail Merchant is the producing half of the Merchant-Ivory team, and he doesn't have the kind of command of tone and story that James Ivory demonstrates in films like Howard's End and Remains of the Day. That's not always a bad thing, because this lack of a consistent mood allows the story to follow its path from broad family comedy to satire to drama. But it doesn't have the polish of most Merchant-Ivory productions, and it has a meandering quality that makes it seem to go on too long. The humor ranges from cute, (Leela's [Ayesha Dharker] overuse of punctuation, to silly (Auntie's [Zohra Segal] hiccupping) to overblown (the behavior of the native Trinidadians at the dinner party), but with a few fleeting exceptions, it never engages the viewer strongly enough. This is no fault of the generally stellar cast. Aasif Mandvi is a deft comedian and sympathetic lead. Ayesha Dharker, who was so astounding in Santosh Sivan's The Terrorist, is given a much slighter role here, but brings surprising depth to it. The brilliant Om Puri is also on hand, and, as the vain, materialistic Ramlogan, provides the film with some of its comedic highlights. Cinematographer Ernie Vincze does a good job of capturing the beauty of the island locations. It's pretty and sporadically fun, but an inconsequential movie. Its lapses into silliness and sloppy pacing keep it from achieving the thematic depth the filmmakers seem to be striving for.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/25/2003
UPC:
0043396001923
Original Release:
2001
Rating:
PG
Source:
Sony Pictures
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]
Time:
1:58:00

Special Features

Closed Caption; Widescreen presentation; Audio: English 5.1 (Dolby Digital), English 2-Channel (Dolby Surround); Bonus trailers; Digitally mastered audio; Interactive menus; Scene selections

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Scene Index

Side #1 --
1. Everything Begins Here [5:52]
2. Teaching Is Art [4:09]
3. I Have Nobody Left [7:04]
4. Who You Be? [5:26]
5. Just to Contemplate [6:14]
6. A Modern Man [4:48]
7. Masseur [5:06]
8. No Talent [6:26]
9. Missing the Wife [4:47]
10. First Book [7:44]
11. Printed Matter [4:45]
12. Best Seller [6:45]
13. A Cure for All [5:16]
14. Mystical Nonsense [5:52]
15. Potential Candidate [4:46]
16. Hindu Association [5:46]
17. A Born Leader [8:26]
18. She Is Your Rock [10:04]
19. All the History [5:17]
20. Closing Credits [3:15]

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The Mystic Masseur 3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A very comical and satirical introduction of the culture of Trinbagonian, especially the indian culture. The dialect language used was appropriate in most of the scenes, and i was able to identify the fake Trini accent.