Panorama | Contemporary World Cinema
Crossing the comic spirit of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel with the soulful father-son dynamic of Nebraska, Shubhashish Bhutiani’s debut feature Hotel Salvation (Mukti Bhawan) observes, with remarkable warmth and lucidity, the generational tensions in a close-knit Indian family forced to confront the realities of mortality.
Faced with a recurring dream, 77-year-old Daya (Lalit Behl) becomes convinced that he is about to die and decides to travel to Varanasi, a famous pilgrimage location on the banks of the Ganges. His middle-aged son Rajiv (Adil Hussain), a career-obsessed accountant, is forced to accompany him. So the two arrive at "Hotel Salvation," where Daya is essentially given a maximum of 15 days to die (before he has to give up the hotel room). Brimming with vivid ethnographic detail and cultural specificity, the film observes their stay with both wry humour and genuine empathy, introducing a colourful cast of rotating personalities along the way. At once absurd and absurdly touching, Bhutiani’s film sharply balances the opposing worldviews of father and son to deliver a conclusion that mixes melancholy and skepticism with genuine hope.
"An Indian comedy full of emotional depth and understated paradox…"—Deborah Young, Hollywood Reporter
Unesco Award, Venice 16