Mukti Bhawan depicts beautiful conflict between life and death: Watch trailer

The only Indian film to premiere at the Venice Film Festival this year, Mukti Bhawan is a charming, fascinating tale about the wait for death.

Shriram Iyengar

Even as big-budget feature films are the rage in India, a little-known film is travelling to Venice with pride. Shubhashish Bhutiani's Mukti Bhawan (Hotel Salvation) is the only Indian feature film to premiere at the prestigious Venice Film Festival this year. A film about the famed salvation hotel in Varanasi, it has a talented cast of actors including Adil Hussain, Lalit Behl, Geetanjali Kulkarni, and Palomi Ghosh.

The trailer of the film offers an insight into a fascinating story. A 77-year-old man, Daya, wakes up from a strange nightmare and decides to head to Varanasi immediately in the hope of dying there, because those who die in the ancient temple town on the banks of the Ganga are believed to attain instant salvation.

His dutiful son, Rajiv, is left with no choice but to drop everything and make the journey with his stubborn father, leaving behind his wife and daughter. The trailer is shot with simple beauty, which enhances the complexity of the story. 

Mukti Bhawan is Shubhashish Bhutiani's first feature film. The director had previously helmed the short film, Kush, which was shortlisted for the Oscars in 2014.

In a statement about the film, the director said, "Mukti Bhawan isn’t a story of death, but of life and relationships that make us who we are, in a city that sometimes sees death as part of its fabric and sometimes as a celebration." 

The story is reportedly based on the real Hotel Mukti Bhawan present in Varanasi. With a cast of talented actors and a fascinating storyline, this little film looks set to make some waves.