Masaan---that was an unusual name for a movie set in Varanasi , the holiest of cities in hinduism....for Masaan means funeral ground , and boy !! that was unusual for a holy city that one associates with temples and Gods . Or maybe that was the director's way of shaking me out of my upper caste world and reminding me of the existence of the lower castes even in the holiest of holies , for Varanasi is also the place where people want to be cremated after death....and that task is done by people of the dom caste who earn their livelihood by that profession . And out of the two parallel story tracks that run through the movie , one is the love story of a boy of the dom caste ( played by Vicky Kaushal ) with a girl belonging to an upper caste ( played by Shweta Tripathi ) . The other track is that of a daughter ( played by Richa Chaddha ) of a sanskrit scholar who wants to explore sex after watching a porn film and goes to a seedy hotel with her boyfriend , only to be caught in the clutches of a police officer carrying out a raid on the hotel and who blackmails her and her father ( father is played by Sanjay Mishra ) to get money in exchange for not letting out her deep dark secret---that of having sex before marriage.... Yes , this is Benaras (other name of Varanasi ) on the backs of the Ganges river....and it is situated in one of the most traditional parts of India , where a woman who has sex before marriage is branded a slut.... And the theme of the movie---is that even in the most backward parts of India , there are people trying to lead lives of freedom....free from caste barriers and free from taboos of virginity and sex... It shows the prejudices they face in breaking the barriers , and their struggle to lead their lives in their fashion inspite of the backwardness of the surroundings and the taboos enforced by the people around them.... So do the new age people trying to lead an advanced life in a backward region succeed in their quest of achieving freedom with dignity ?? And do the two parallel story lines intersect anywhere ?? Watch the movie for the answers.... The track of the inter caste love affair raises your hopes of rebellion against the caste system....only to squash them disappointingly in a most unexpectedly tragic manner....but this gives the director the chance to show some stupendous acting of grief and loss by Vicky Kaushal in the background of some breathtaking photography of a train crossing a bridge in the night . The difference in the upbringing of the upper caste girl from the lower caste boy is beautifully brought out , with the girl dishing out some fine poetry by high class poets while the boy admitting that he never even has heard of the poets or poetry....and his his heartfelt honesty in admitting so making the girl fall in love.... The director excels in showing moments of tenderness and love---of the lovers shyly taking their first kiss , and of vowing to run away to escape from the prejudices of the caste system....but my main grudge against the director is that he failed to carry this track to the much awaited fight against the parents who will naturally oppose the affair.... On the other hand , the director is much better in showing the attempt of Richa Chaddha to escape the prejudices of small town people against physical intimacy before marriage and takes that track to a more satisfactory conclusion . Sanjay Mishra as her father is absolutely redoubtable . Above all , the director ( Neeraj Ghaywan) has solidly shown as never before the life in small town north India as personified by the city of Benaras .The ethos of the city , the sights and sounds and smells and the life and atmosphere of the city has been shown truly well . To me , that is the greatest triumph of the film . The message of the film---that we must move on even after life shaking events and achieve our goals , even though small minded people around us may try to make it sound to us that the life shaking events are the end of everything.....that life has to go on and nothing must stop us.... And the director has really succeeded in showcasing that message....reason enough to see the film.... Verdict---Good . Three and a half stars . However , the film will be liked mostly by art movie lovers . Not so much by commercial movie aficionados .