India | 2016 | 102 min | Hindi | Actor attending
A tragicomedy full of emotional depth and understated paradox, Mukti Bhawan relates the tale of 77-year- old Daya who wakes from a strange nightmare convinced that his time is up and that he must go to Varanasi to die and attain salvation. His dutiful son Rajiv is left with no choice but to make the journey with him, leaving behind his wife and daughter. The duo thus check into Mukti Bhawan—a hotel devoted to people waiting to end their days—and Rajiv finds himself having to live with and care for his father for the first time in his life. Soon Daya finds a sense of community in the hotel—and a companion in the form of 75- year-old Vimla. As the days pass, Rajiv is faced with the dilemma of whether to remain with his father or fulfill his duties back home.
Born in Kolkata in 1991, Shubhashish Bhutiani was raised in a small Himalayan town and attended Woodstock School, Mussoorie. He later specialised in direction at the School of Visual Arts, New York, where he made his short thesis film Kush (2013). In January 2017, Forbes India recognised Shubhashish in its 30 Under 30 list. “Two years after Kush,” he says, “I wanted to backpack, so I travelled from Kerala to Varanasi. I had heard of some guesthouses in Varanasi where people check in to die. I met the people living there. I spent time listening to their stories. It’s in one of these guesthouses that I heard a story about a man who brought his father to spend the last few days of his life.”