A heart-warming drama about people facing the end of their lives
Perched on the banks of the holy river Ganges, the Hotel Salvation has a unique selling point: it’s where Hindu believers come to spend their final days. Not exactly ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’ then, yet somehow this Indian arthouse drama finds a universal emotional resonance in its particular theological context. Here’s a story where faith and family become intertwined, as a slightly frayed 77-year-old suddenly senses his time is up and prevails on his hard-working son to drive him to Varanasi so he can peacefully pass on. It might sound somewhat mournful, yet writer-director Shubhashish Bhutiani’s first feature, developed from an award-winning short through a scheme run by the Venice Biennale, uses gentle humour and the quirky habits of the elderly to soften the tone as the father’s hopes don’t exactly pan out as planned. Lalit Behl is equal parts lovable and exasperating as the old boy, but as the story proceeds, Adil Hussain’s work-hassled son takes centre stage – getting to know his dad as a person rather than a burden makes him rethink his own priorities regarding work and family. A leisurely, wise and ultimately affecting meditation on the benefits of letting go.
Cast and crew