BFI

Adil Hussain and Lalit Behl come together for ‘Hotel Salvation’ (Hindi title: ‘Mukti Bhawan’). The film, which is directed by Shubhashish Bhutiani, has remained a popular festival watch in recent months.

‘Hotel Salvation’ tells the story of Rajiv (Hussain) and Daya (Behl)’s father-son relationship, putting spotlight on the latter’s wish to spend his last days in a place called ‘Mukti Bhawan’, a hotel dedicated to those who are making their journey towards the end of their lives. Rajiv is reluctant to go with his father due to his responsibilities at work but he goes ahead. After a couple of weeks, he’s then faced with the dilemma of leaving his father at the hotel by himself and returning to work or spending his remaining time with him.

It has to be said that Bhutiani manages to create a very well-etched and well thought-out world before the family embark on this journey and through the journey itself. The attention to detail and the looming feeling of the inevitable is portrayed in an alluring way, never making the audiences feel uncomfortable or uneasy. The generational gap in ideologies between father and son is particularly effective and can be described as the film’s unique selling point. As well as this, the silence that the film seems to incorporate is particularly poignant and thought-provoking for the audience.

Hussain, as expected, essays his role as Rajiv with a certain calmness, even though his character is torn between his work and his father. His frustrations are easy to understand and it’s also gratifying somewhat to see him in this role, which effectively represents many real situations that people could be facing. He is so natural in his role and Behl’s performance manages to add a very raw realness to the son’s thoughts. The two together as father and son are easily the highlight, with Daya’s friendship with fellow ‘Mukti Bhawan’ guest Vimla (played by Behl’s real wife Navnindra) also being a pleasure to watch. Geetanjali Kulkarani, who plays Rajiv’s wife, and Palomi Ghosh, who plays their daughter also provide great relief, humour and a a sense of familiarity to the plot.

The film’s slow pace does sometimes take away from the overall plot as the audience’s attention isn’t at its peak all through. However, towards the end of the film, it’s evident that the film does achieve its own place in the audience’s hearts. Its very real, natural and subtle portrayal of relationships, frustrations and, ultimately, life and death, is something that the audiences will remember when they’ve seen the film.

BizAsiaLive.com rating: 4/5