The Mystic Masseur (2001)

TOMATOMETER

AUDIENCE SCORE

Critic Consensus: Though pretty to look at, The Mystic Masseur is too slow-paced and lacks narrative tension.

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Movie Info

Ismail Merchant, best known as the producing half of the successful Merchant-Ivory team, once again steps behind the camera as director for this story of life among Indian expatriates in the 1950s. Ganesh (Aasif Mandvi) is a young man who was born to a community of Indian exiles living in Trinidad. Always bright, Ganesh hopes to make a career for himself as a writer, but he lacks the money to pursue writing full-time, and his ideas about education clash with those of his employers after he gets a job as a teacher, leaving him with few prospects. Returning to Trinidad after the death of his father, Ganesh is pressured into marrying a local woman named Leela (Ayesha Dharker), whose father, Ramlogan (Om Puri), is a successful merchant. Ganesh and Leela move to a modest home in the hills, where he begins work on a book, but Leela chafes at the Spartan lifestyle dictated by Ganesh's finances, and for a time leaves their home to stay with her parents. In time, Ganesh completes his first book -- a book for lay people on the Hindu faith -- but sales are sluggish until Ganesh and Leela come up with a plan to boost interest in Ganesh's work. Ganesh is promoted as a "Mystic Masseur" with special powers to heal the infirm; Ganesh's routine quickly makes his work very popular with spiritual seekers, and his book becomes a top-seller. However, Ganesh becomes disillusioned with his newfound fame and power, especially after he attempts to take advantage of his celebrity by entering the political arena. The Mystic Masseur was based on a novel by V.S. Naipaul, who won an Nobel prize in the year of this film's release.
Rating:
PG (for mild language)
Genre:
Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
 wide
On DVD:
Box Office:
$291,000.00
Runtime:
Studio:

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Cast

James Fox
as Mr. Stewart
Jimi Mistry
as Partap
Om Puri
as Ramlogan
Aasif Mandvi
as Ganesh
Sakina Jaffrey
as Suruj Mooma
Zohra Segal
as Auntie
Rez Kempton
as Basdeo
Grace Maharaj
as Mrs. Cooper
Danesh Khan
as Young Partap
Albert Laveau
as Headmaster
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Critic Reviews for The Mystic Masseur

All Critics (64) | Top Critics (25)

A real clunker. A well-made, thoughtful, well-acted clunker, but a clunker nonetheless.

November 4, 2002
Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Top Critic

A warm-hearted gem of a film.

Full Review… | July 20, 2002
Chicago Tribune
Top Critic

Though Ganesh is successful in a midlevel sort of way, there's nothing so striking or fascinating or metaphorically significant about his career as to rate two hours of our attention.

Full Review… | June 1, 2002
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

In the end ... the filmmakers are interested less in Naipaul's provocative world-view and more in his people, all of whom are wonderfully played, particularly by the lovely Dharker and James Fox.

Full Review… | June 1, 2002
L.A. Weekly
Top Critic

A worthwhile way to spend two hours.

Full Review… | May 31, 2002
Toronto Star
Top Critic

A puzzling experience.

May 31, 2002
Seattle Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for The Mystic Masseur

Very beautiful film, the Trinidad location is a huge plus, nicely filmed, but curiously uninvolving. It has all the right stuff for a great film but somehow does not achieve greatness.

James Higgins
James Higgins

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