The Mystic Masseur


Time Out says

Set midway through the 20th century within Trinidad's significant Indian population this is the first film adapted from the work of Nobel-winning author VS Naipaul. Following the death of his father, idealistic teacher Ganesh (Mandvi) strives to become a writer - but instead gains a reputation as a spiritual healer, and finds his fame propelled into national politics. Director Merchant is content to tackle pet issues: social airs, local eccentrics and a fetishised kind of nostalgia. The story begins via the memory of an Anglo-Indian Oxford student, 'cured' in childhood by Ganesh. The film's comic talent spans Mandvi and Sanjeev Bhaskar, speaking in unsteady patois as a boorish neighbour, both of whom share a background in stand-up, and veterans like Zohra Segal and Om Puri, who delivers indignant melodrama as Ganesh's unscrupulous father-in-law. But fitful gags and some clever incidental detail (a steel drums version of Carmina Burana on the radio; a gaudily ostentatious government dinner) can't compensate for the plot's lumpen pace.

By: AHa


Release details

118 mins

Cast and crew

Ismail Merchant
Caryl Phillips
Om Puri
James Fox
Aasif Mandvi
Sanjeev Bhaskar
Ayesha Dharkar
Jimi Mistry
Zohra Segal
Sakina Jaffrey
Albert Laveau
Grace Maharaj
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